The Inside the Hall Mailbag: April 2

  • 04/02/2013 9:00 am in

IUMinnITH0012The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@bball_for_life3 writes: Was this season over-hyped, or even a failure?

Failure? No chance. Winning a Big Ten championship outright is extremely difficult to do, as evidenced by the fact that it hadn’t been done in Bloomington in 20 years. Expectations were certainly high for this team and for the most part, they were met. The exception, of course, was the NCAA Tournament, where the Hoosiers reached the Sweet 16, but couldn’t get past Syracuse.

As I wrote in five takeaways following the loss to the Orange, Indiana didn’t meet its goal of winning a national championship. But should that alone define the season? I would argue no. The reality of the tournament is this: If you’re not playing your best at the right time, you’re going home. Only one team wins it all and everyone else goes home with at least some level of disappointment.

Every year there are early upsets and once a team reaches the second weekend, the opponents become even more difficult. Unfortunately for Indiana, Syracuse was a difficult matchup because of the zone and its length and athleticism. Indiana didn’t play well and it got beat. Disappointing? Yes. A failure? No. — Alex Bozich

@prnumber04 writes: What role is Remy [Abell] going to play next year?

That’s a good question. Abell’s 2012-2013 campaign was up and down. He started off very well, disappeared for a while and then seemed to regain some confidence offensively down the stretch. If Indiana loses four starters like many expect that it will, there’s an opportunity for Abell to increase his minutes in a reserve role. He’ll still be one of the better on-ball defenders on the roster, but with Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey returning and Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams arriving, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Abell in the starting lineup. Still, as a battle-tested veteran who has played major minutes in key Big Ten and NCAA Tournament games, he’ll have a role on next season’s team. — Alex Bozich

@PaulAynilian writes: Are you concerned with lack of size next year if Zeller goes? True bigs would be Fischer, Perea, Jurkin + Jeff Howard…

There would obviously be a lack of experience at the five spot if Cody Zeller departs, but I think Luke Fischer is being underestimated by many. He beat out some good players in Wisconsin for Mr. Basketball and is coming off two undefeated, state championship seasons. He’s not Zeller, but he’s a well-rounded player who will be capable of coming in and playing right away. And with Noah Vonleh, one of the best prep rebounders in the country, Indiana should be very strong at the four position.

The key is getting more out of Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who still has a long way to go to become a regular contributor. By the end of the season, he was able to give IU a couple of minutes here and there, but if he can have a big offseason where significant strides are made, frontcourt depth is much less of a concern. — Alex Bozich

@RickFrazier writes: Who is your “surprise” player for next year’s IU team?

I’ll go with Stanford Robinson. Vonleh and Williams are getting a lot of the attention in this class, and for good reason, but I think Robinson really helped himself by playing his senior season at Findlay Prep against a national schedule of elite talent. And there are still games to be played as Findlay will look to finish off an undefeated season later this week in the NHSI, which will be televised on ESPNU. That’s not to say he wasn’t getting that level of competition at Paul VI Catholic, but he just spent an entire season going up against other top 100 players in practice like Nigel Williams-Goss and Allerik Freeman and I think he’ll be better for it.

Robinson is a very solid player right now, with an ability to defend and score off the dribble and all the way out to the 3-point line. It’s not always the case that recruits arrive on campus with a mindset to play hard on both ends, but that seems to be the case with Robinson. He may not put up gaudy numbers right away, but I feel he’ll be a solid contributor who plays a key role next season. — Alex Bozich

@B__Richardson writes: Who is most likely to step into the 3-pt shooting vancancies left by Watford and Hulls for #IUBB next year?

I’m not sure anyone will be able to step-in and shoot it at the clip we saw from Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls. Watford finished at 48.4 percent on threes and Hulls, despite a late slide, finished at 44.4 percent. Both players were elite shooters. Next year’s team is going to be different in that it won’t have three or four guys on the floor at once who can stretch the defense like this one did. But it could also be more dangerous in terms of being able to drive the ball from the wing positions with Robinson and Williams.

Jeremy Hollowell is clearly a guy who can shoot better from the perimeter and I think Yogi Ferrell will shoot better than he did as a freshman (30.3 percent). But in Hulls, Oladipo and Watford, IU had three players who shot 44 percent or higher from distance and made at least 30 threes. That’s unlikely to be replicated next season. — Alex Bozich

Mike Stepp writes: What are the chances that Oladipo will return?

Very slim. He appears to be a lock to be picked in the top ten and graduates in May. Given what he accomplished this past season in being named a first team Associated Press All-American, the Sporting News player of the year and the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year, he appears ready to make the leap. And given his rapid rate of improvement since last season, the team who drafts him is likely getting a player with even more room for growth going forward. — Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • Ole Man

    They were tied for second weren’t they? And just seeded fifth. Or did I miss something?

  • Ole Man

    Thank you for beating that horse. It cannot be repeated enough because it has been rarely heard.
    This team stopped doing what got them to the top; and tried to be something they weren’t.
    Also, the team went from an attitude of “we’re the hunters and haven’t accomplished anything yet” to “we’re the hunted so we have to do this and that and this and that.” And you could see that in their play.

    I’m disappointed. And it’s only my opinion; but you don’t hang banners after losing games. It sends the wrong message. When they did that, I knew we couldn’t make it all the way.

  • Ole Man

    Thank you for beating that horse. It cannot be repeated enough because it has been rarely heard.
    This team stopped doing what got them to the top; and tried to be something they weren’t.
    Also, the team went from an attitude of “we’re the hunters and haven’t accomplished anything yet” to “we’re the hunted so we have to do this and that and this and that.” And you could see that in their play.

    I’m disappointed. And it’s only my opinion; but you don’t hang banners after losing games. It sends the wrong message. When they did that, I knew we couldn’t make it all the way.

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree. We should have cut down the nets this year. Tired of hearing the “luck” argument. This team for most of the past two years made its own luck through will and hard work. Yes, Syc was a tough draw; but they were beatable. And it had nothing to do with luck.

  • Ole Man

    Here’s an “ouch” comment on that from another sports writer.

    Hey, don’t shoot me–I’m only the messenger in this case.

    “All of these reasons are why Zeller ought to go pro and get as far away from Crean and this staff. He’s not developing him. Imagine where this team would have been if he did? All of the losses this season were due to no adjustments being made. Indiana should still be undefeated today with that talent.”

    There was more, but his point was that Zeller basically, aside from growing and adding weight, changed his game little, or even regressed.

    I’m not siding with this guy, because we’ve seen how Vic developed.
    I’m just curious as to your take on this about Zeller.

  • Ole Man

    Our guards were not alley oop this year, for what ever reason. I also kept waiting for them.

  • Ole Man

    I humbly disagree. I do think this was a championship caliber team.

  • shknqk

    I think others nailed it… My statement was forward looking as a leader, not as a spark off the bench as in the past. Those are different roles.

  • CreanFaithful

    That quote said both “Zeller and Victor Oladipo” should get away from Crean for those reasons… which leads me to believe that blogger doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Victor is a prime example of a player that has made significant developments. CTC uses it in his pitches to recruits and they pick up on it. I’ve read several quotes from incoming players referencing Victor’s development in the IU system as part of their reason for choosing Bloomington.

    With Zeller, I’ll agree that we didn’t see much of the off season improvement that Crean told us he had made. His game certainly didn’t “regress.” His statistical improvement was marginal though, I grant you… Bottom line is that we don’t know if he improved in his face up game or mid range shooting, because Z simply didn’t use those tools in-game. So perhaps the issue is CTC not forcing Zeller to use his full arsenal instead allowing him to go to “old faithful.”

    Really hoping the Z comes back, but it doesn’t sound promising from what Alex has reported.

  • BlakeD1223

    I don’t like to be hard on Crean. He’s at the level that hes at for a reason. I will admit that he didn’t make too many adjustments when things got bad. Then again, I don’t know if we can see the adjustments being made. Maybe he was making adjustments but they weren’t working or the players just weren’t delivering. People want to talk about how much talent we have. Ok, that’s fine, we are talented. I think talent will only take you so far if you don’t have any big pg’s. The game has changed a lot. It’s more common to have a 6’6 pt guard, rather then a 6 foot pg. Maybe I’m just looking for excuses for our lose. I think the size increase next year will definitely help. We will have some returning improved players as well. I would like to see us use Zeller differently next year if he stays. I would love to see him develop a baby hook shot or use the jumper more. He’s our big man though, so I’m sure they will use him on the post.

  • Ole Man

    See there are things you and I agree on — 🙂

    Anyhow; you’re exactly right. He called out Crean for not developing Oladipo, which is a joke.
    I think because of his offensive thinking, that Crean is a great developer of wings. He took Oladipo, recruited as a guard, and for all practical purposes has made him into a 2/3 combo (depending on where he lands in the draft).
    That is coaching and development!
    CTC may need to hire an asst. just for “big men”. Do we have one now?
    CTC has SO much to do! He has, in a way, become much more than just the average head coach; and that was necessary to bring this program back..
    Anyhow…sorry if in some way my attacks seemed personal. That’s actually not who I am (at least most of the time…grin).
    But happy to “debate” the merits of any basketball story. I’m a junkie!

  • Ole Man

    Sigh…is it only me, or did we just “hand” Syc a stud in Ron Patterson? Did we not go back after him because the class was full?

  • BlakeD1223

    I’m not sure what happen with him. I do have the sense that if Crean tried to recruit you and you don’t show interest then Crean is done with you. He wants the players that want to play at IU, not the wishy washy ones.

  • CreanFaithful

    That makes two of us Ole Man. I know better than to take these comments personally. Obviously not everyone does. But they will likely figure that out the more they visit ITH… Cheers!

  • Ole Man

    Politely disagree.
    I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say Noah Vonleh is a better player than Cody Zeller. Based upon what? Your disappoint/assessment of this past season?
    Developed talent.
    I hope Noah is all world; but let’s wait and see if HS talent pans out at the collegiate level.
    And no way, even if Cody stays, is next years team better than this one; at least not on paper when the season starts.

  • Ole Man

    You may have that wrong. It was grades that busted Patterson from being part of last years class (or that was the given reason). I think Crean passed on him once he was gone more than the other way around. Then when Crean showed no interest, he jumped at the Cuse offer.
    Anyhow, apparently, he has developed into exactly the player Crean thought he would be when he first recruited him….a stud.

  • BlakeD1223

    You could be right, I definitely don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about with him. ha ha. I do know that Crean does go after the kids that show interest in our program. If he doesn’t see that same excitement from the players then he’s done with them.

  • HoosierTrav

    I feel sorry for the kid. He wanted to be a Hoosier so bad! Then they use some BS excuse about how his grades weren’t good enough. The thing most dont realize, is that others have gotten in under similar to slightly worse scenarios. Some people will worship blindly regardless of what happens to KIDS! Not me. I understand the scholarship situation being as messy as it was bc we were in shambles and came back sooner than expected, but there is no excuse for it now. If this s**t continues, I wont support the team. I wont sacrifice morality for a damn game.

  • CreanFaithful

    While I’m certain that exceptions can be made, Ron made the decision easy for the program. We had a scholarship crunch… You also have to wonder what kind of academic success a kid will have if he can’t get a C average while taking only two classes over a summer. What will happen during the season, when he is taking 15 credit hours, practicing, traveling, etc? I really like Ron’s potential on the court and wish he was a Hoosier. I agree, that I don’t want to see any of these young men get thrown under the bus (bad pun?). But this particular situation doesn’t bother me all that much. Academics come first.

  • calbert40

    No, they finished tied for 4th at 12-6 with Wisconsin, but lost the tiebreaker with them, which was why they were seeded 5th. The point remains the same, though. There were a lot of really good teams in the B1G this year, and it probably would have surprised no one if any of those top 5 teams made the Final Four.

    What made the B1G so tough this year was a) high quality teams at the top, b) talented teams in the middle that were capable of beating anyone in the conference on their HOME floor, but not on the road, and c) teams at the bottom who were hungry to win, but didn’t have the requisite talent to beat the top teams in the league…with notable exceptions (PSU v UM).

  • Ole Man

    Yea; I felt the same way. Would have been a great add to the team.