The Inside the Hall Mailbag: October 1

  • 10/01/2013 12:32 pm in

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The 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.

Aaron Miller writes: Hey guys, love the site and appreciate all your hard work. I wanted to get your take on the attitude of this year’s team compared to last year’s. I absolutely loved Hulls, Watford, Zeller and Oladipo leading last year’s team and they will all be revered as all-time great Hoosiers, but did you ever get the feeling that they were almost too nice? All four were very stoic during games, and it occurred to me that the more aggressive and outspoken attitudes of this year’s leaders, Sheehey and Yogi, could bring a beneficial edge to the entire unit. Thoughts?

Thanks for the question. I don’t agree that the four players you mentioned were stoic, but maybe some perceived it that way because of on court personalities. All four were intense competitors who really helped transform the program’s culture back into one of winning. Their body language might have been different from a guy like Will Sheehey, but it’s not fair to say that Cody Zeller was stoic just because he was quiet at times on the court. That’s just his personality. I just don’t buy the narrative that any of the four guys you mentioned could be considered “too nice.”

As far as the edge of Sheehey and Ferrell being beneficial to a younger team, I think their experience in winning the Big Ten and away from Assembly Hall will certainly help to guide one of the youngest rosters in the conference. Sheehey especially will have a unique perspective to share because he joined the program at a low time and was there during the rise as well. — Alex Bozich

mcred24 writes: if CTC is not successful recruiting any of the remaining targets, could this be a one player class, or could/would other targets emerge this late in the game?

If Indiana only lands Robert Johnson in the fall, which is something I don’t see happening, other players will be available in the spring due to coaching changes that Indiana would surely be interested in recruiting. But to answer your question directly, I don’t view a one man class as much of a realistic possibility. — Alex Bozich

bkmaynard writes: Is Blackmon still an option and if not will they take one more guard in this class or just stay pat?

James Blackmon Jr. took an official visit to Michigan this past weekend and has an official visit scheduled to Kentucky for the weekend of Oct. 18. He has stated that he plans to take an official visit to Indiana as well. Indiana has never stopped recruiting him since his decision to reopen the process. I’m not sure how Blackmon Jr. views the Robert Johnson commitment, but Indiana still needs more backcourt players, so the fit is there. There’s no doubt Indiana would like to add Blackmon Jr. back to the 2014 class and whether that happens could depend heavily on the recruitment of Devin Booker, another two-guard that both Michigan and Kentucky are targeting. — Alex Bozich

retrojay23 writes: I may have missed this in the past, but how long is IU’s contract – with Adidas? In some instances, I would say Nike (schools) beats out Adidas (schools) for player’s just because of the association with AAU teams, etc. Do I think it’s right? No, but Nike has always had the better gear, etc. This question may not be entertained, but personally, I do know this can sway player’s away from schools, depending on Brand Affiliation. Keep up the good work.

Indiana signed an eight-year extension with adidas in April of 2008, which means the deal runs through the 2015-2016 year. I can’t speak to the theory of recruits picking a school because of shoe affiliations at other programs, but Indiana’s roster has players that have come from both Nike and adidas programs. Stanford Robinson (Team Takeover) and Troy Williams (Boo Williams) both come from prominent Nike programs and Robert Johnson, who just committed last month, also played with Boo Williams. — Alex Bozich

Geoff_85 writes: What does Indiana need to be a top 4 seed or better in the NCAA tournament this year? What will they need to retain the Big Ten title? Man, it still feels good to say that.

Tough to put a hard number on what could be a cutoff for a four seed before the season even begins, but I would think a 11-2 non-conference showing with a 12-6 mark in the conference could be a good starting point for getting on the four line.

As for winning the Big Ten, Indiana is still the champion, but Michigan State is a clear cut favorite to win it this season. And the competition right behind the Spartans is brutal as both Ohio State and Michigan are being picked by some as preseason top ten teams. The key to winning any league is protecting home court, winning the road games you should and then stealing a game or two. Last year, Indiana was able to overcome a couple of home stumbles in conference by winning games at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. Bottom line: The team that wins the Big Ten is going to win tough road games, so that’s what Indiana or any other team will need to do to win the league. — Alex Bozich

Brklynhoosier writes: A question for the crystal ball (come on Alex — you were one of the few who pegged the RoJo commitment — time to spread your wings): which player will be the biggest surprise on this year’s team?

I’ll go with Stanford Robinson. I think he’s coming in at a position of need and he’s not really being talked about too much, either, so you could classify him as a surprise. Stan has a chance to become a fan favorite because he’s really a likable kid with a great personality and he can contribute in a variety of areas. Defensively, he has the tools to contribute right away and he’s Indiana’s biggest guard on the roster at 6-foot-4. His perimeter shot is still developing, but he’s effective at getting into gaps off the dribble and in transition. He’s talked about less than Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and probably Luke Fischer as well, but I’d look for Robinson to get his share of backcourt minutes as a freshman. — Alex Bozich

mcoghlan writes: What do you think the best and worst case scenario is for the team this year?

Best case scenario would be Sheehey and Ferrell making a smooth transition to larger offensive roles and guiding a young but talented roster to continuous improvement on its way to a run in March. In any scenario, the Indiana team you see at the beginning of the season is going to be different than the one you see in March, but the biggest area to watch is defense. Indiana’s offense will surely fall back from an efficiency standpoint because of the roster departures, but the Hoosiers cannot afford to let the defense take a significant tumble.

Worst case would be not being able to overcome all of the youth on the roster and a failure to establish a reliable enough post presence to be able to overcome the loss of Cody Zeller. Whether you noticed or not, Zeller’s efficiency was a major reason Indiana won big over the last two seasons and he’s no longer around. As mentioned above, Indiana cannot afford to fall below the defensive standards of the 2011-2012 season (64th nationally) because the offense, as good as it may end up by season’s end, is surely to take a few steps back because of Zeller leaving and losing elite 3-point shooters. — Alex Bozich

Dis.cbet writes: Your guess at starting 5?

As of right now, I’ll go Yogi Ferrell, Evan Gordon, Will Sheehey, Noah Vonleh and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. That’s purely a guess at this point and unlike last season, I think you’ll see plenty of fluctuation in this year’s lineups. — Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • PDXHoosier

    yeah I don’t doubt his potential. He has the tools. He was always a step behind last year, but did improve over the season. hopefully he can make a leap this year, or at least be serviceable by senior year. I’m just tempering my expectations until we see something.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’d agree with you if Hanner actually had some level of seniority. I’m not sure the extremely limited minutes of game experience (and also a fairly limited amount of basketball experience) that Hanner has gives him that advantage in Crean’s eyes. I think the better and more ready player will get the nod at the start of the year, even if that player happens to be a freshman.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Well, Fischer has been injured twice and as a result, he has missed quite a bit of practice time. There was a leg issue in the summer and he now has a shoulder injury. Missed time for a freshman can be quite costly so if he starts off a bit slow we don’t need immediately think he was overhyped or that something is seriously wrong.

  • Andrew

    We’ll agree to disagree. His ability to pick up the opposing team’s point guard full court changed the dynamic of last year’s team. That freed up VO to do other things. And unlike you, I think it is enough to “just stay in front of them or make them take slightly wider angles.” That sounds pretty good to me, especially when we’re talking about a 5’11 freshman. You also have to remember last year’s team, even for being much improved defensively, didn’t have lock-down, great individual defenders, so our options are limited.

    I’m not saying he’s the second-best defender in the world; I’m comparing him to the players we had last year. Who was better? It wasn’t Will, who reaches in and is constantly being beaten off the dribble. Remy prob should have been but just didn’t play enough, especially down the stretch. Wat? Zeller? Who’s your guy?

  • Andrew

    Remy, but he just didn’t get many minutes.

  • SCHoosier

    Much like Hanner..Peter did not come in with all the “basketball instincts and skills” given where he was raised and how he developed. Unfortunately…injuries have prevented us (and may continue to prevent us) from seeing if Jurkin can develop into a contributor. I hope he can and will. It’s not a plus that he followed Tijan and Bawa..who gave everyone pause about future 7 foot imports. Would like nothing more than to see Jurkin dispel all those concerns by becoming a solid backup for the Hoosiers.

  • Kenneth234

    There is a big difference between staying in front of someone and actually applying pressure. Pressure is what makes the opponents rush, and make mistakes. Yogi, last year, did not do that at all. As far as last year went, I would place almost everyone who played significant time ahead of Yogi on the defensive end. Zeller certainly was the 2nd best defender, followed by CWAT. I would even say that based on the effort that Hulls played with chasing players off of shots and through various screens made him a more important defender than Yogi last season. Sure, he could get beaten off the dribble, but he did get take a ways, deflections and caused players to miss shots. That is by far more important than applying token pressure in the back court, and moving his feet on the perimeter. Yogi, despite that still never got the match ups with the better dribble drive guards that the Hoosiers played last year because you cannot just let those players initiate their teams offense; that is not good enough, and that is why he never got big assignments and forced others to defend off of their position.

  • FLgrownHoosier

    Thaat is my favorite Cody Zeller moment of his entire time at Bloomington. He just about knocked Leonard outta the game. I always go back and look at that game on Youtube just to see that hit.

  • nwin iu fan

    no way he comes to iu mich or kentckucky

  • calbert40

    It’s because a new freshman is like a pretty girl who just moved into your neighborhood. She gets all of the attention, and makes the other pretty girls a little less pretty for a short time. Of course, they didn’t get any uglier due to the new girl moving into the ‘hood…you just have something new to look at.

    I happen to think that Fischer will push HMP hard, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushed past him on the depth chart, but it won’t be because HMP is “not as pretty anymore.”

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree with you on the not believing for a second that JBJ wants to be at IU. IMHO he is still doing all the things he is when it comes to IU only to make it look like he is still interested in playing at IU. Then there is the added benefit, for him anyway, that if everything else goes south on him, for some unforeseen reason, he always has IU as a safety net and can say that he wanted to go there all along and was just making sure that was what he wanted to do. If for some unexpected reason he ends up at IU, and again I just don’t see that happening, I will probably be wondering the whole time if he is going to transfer to another school all of a sudden. The fact that neither he, nor his fellow decommit, have announced where they intend to play at is not some weird coincidence. They may not ultimately end up playing at the same place but IMHO it is definitely something that is playing into both of their choices.

  • IUMIKE1

    Refreshing to hear someone say the things that you did in your first paragraph. Disclaimer: To the other guys replying to you I’m not saying you don’t know bball or that you don’t or aren’t smart enough to look at those kind of things as well. I’m with you in that he played against competition that was at least a step above the overwhelming majority of what most high schoolers play against and that he showed well against that level of players. He also done this at a school that actually made him go to class and do the work that was all in something other than his native tongue.

    Most of us agree that Crean is a really good judge of talent before it is obvious to most others. With that in mind I don’t think Crean gives HMP the 5 to 7 minutes that he did last year unless he felt like something was there that, with the right amount of polishing, would end up shining brightly.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not saying it won’t happen but with as young as we will be overall I’d be surprised if Crean plays more zone defense than last year. The principles of playing a zone defense are harder to execute in a way that makes it efficient than a man to man is.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree that Fischer will push HMP hard in practice and that is a good thing. The injuries that Fischer has sustained since arriving on campus are probably a direct result of that.

  • Rie

    What are you talking about? This is what I wrote in regards to someone saying Will kicked a freshman out of practice:

    “What happened; he kicked someone out of practice? I feel like I would have heard about this.”

    That is a big difference in usage of same. All of this is irrelevant to Will playing the two, frequently, on this Hoosiers team.

  • Rie

    He did not play great D on those guys, for the record, but yes, he did guard them for a very limited amount of time. Gary Harris consistently put up big numbers against us, and I do not even want to being with Khaliff, who dominated everyone we threw at him but Victor. I understand it is near blasphemous to say any of this, but Will is better suited to play a different position in college, unless we play zone (which someone mentioned).

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    WILL IS NOT QUICK ENOUGH TO GUARD THE 2

  • sarge

    well if crean’s lineup is indicative he plays the 2 or 3 because he won’t and has never played pg, pf, or c… so i still have no idea what your point is

  • sarge

    because will got those minutes

  • Rie

    It’s simple. My point was that I do not believe Will starts at the two, I believe he starts (and finishes) at the three.

  • marcusgresham

    I’d prefer a live feed of all Calipari’s players taking the SAT—just to see who is actually taking it.

  • marcusgresham

    You may well see guys gamble more on the perimeter. If Vonleh, Fischer and Perea are on the block (and can stay out of foul trouble,) getting by your guy is no guarantee of your shot reaching the rim.

  • marcusgresham

    1-2-2 perhaps. A waterbug like Yogi at the top, Will and another guy around 6-4 to 6-7 (Hollowell, Williams, Robinson, etc,) on the wing, big guys down low. I don’t mind the sound of that.

  • Andrew

    Oh, OK. He didn’t pressure the ball? I certainly beg to differ. And big assignments??? He’s a 5’11 point guard!! He guards the other team’s lead guard. Not a lot of wiggle room there. His presence also meant that we no longer had to put Wat on a small guy (as CTC did in 11-12 b/c Hulls couldn’t guard point guards), and as a result Wat could guard someone closer to the basket and be in a better position for defensive boards.

  • Lil Hoosier

    Best comment of the month goes to WisconHoosier.

  • Noah Croak

    we need another point guard nothing special a four year solid player.