Notebook: Troy Williams gets double-double in debut

IUUSIITH0008Throughout many of the Hoosiers’ 23 practices this preseason, freshman forward Troy Williams played with one hand.

It was only until this past Monday that Williams started to even practice with his right hand after he injured it the week of Hoosier Hysteria. During practices, he’d play with only his left hand.

But as the week went on, Williams proved himself worthy of being a starter in Indiana’s exhibition Saturday night against Southern Indiana. In the Hoosiers’ 83-68 victory, Williams recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and adding 10 rebounds in his first college game of his career.

“Before I came here, I had a left hand but it wasn’t as strong as my right hand. People see it as a setback, but really I see it as a help to me,” Williams said after the Hoosiers’ win. “Having both hands equal at the same ability really has helped a lot so now I can finish both sides of the rim with either hand.”

But scoring and grabbing rebounds wasn’t the only thing Williams did Saturday night. Wearing padding on his right hand, the 6-foot-7 freshman also blocked three shots, dribbled between his legs and even attempted a few one-handed dunks.

All in all, it was a good first night for Williams, who only three and a half weeks ago wanted to participate in Hoosier Hysteria so badly he was willing to do it with only one hand but instead settled with judging the dunk contest.

“When you’ve gotta guy like that, I mean, you’ve got to let him run. You’ve got to let him play and what you want to do is you want to coach him along the way,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “He wants to be coached, and that’s a big deal.

“He’s got such a firecracker in his body. He’s on the explosion all the time.”

Hoosiers adjust to first game with new NCAA rules

Crean called it the story of the game.

In their first test against the NCAA’s new rules on hand-checking that has caused Crean to change the way he coached his defense, Indiana committed only 12 personal fouls. By contrast, the Screaming Eagles were called for 23.

“We’ve spent a ton of time playing defense without our hands,” Crean said. “I think that showed up tonight. I think that really showed up.”

In preseason practice, Crean said he had referees enforcing the new rules about 75 to 80 percent of the time. He had even heard of a “secret scrimmage” in which both teams were into the bonus only three minutes into a half.

So, Crean focused his team on defensive movement and communication in place of hand-checks. The result in Game 1? 16 forced turnovers and 10 steals.

“It’s really been about, with this team, just understanding how connected you have to be team defense-wise, what your footwork’s got to be like,” Crean said.

“Now, could we have been more aggressive? I don’t think, for as long of a team as we have, they have any idea how long they are, and I think that’s going to come with experience, come with time.”

Other notes:

· Sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell, who said he’s improved his 3-point shot over the offseason, made six 3-pointers for a total of 20 points Saturday evening.

· Freshman forward Noah Vonleh was one point shy of a double-double, scoring 9 points and adding 12 rebounds. He also scored on a 3-point jumper, but was 0-for-5 from the free throw line.

· In fact, shooting was a major issue for the Hoosiers, in general. Indiana finished 28-of-67 from the field and only 18-of-31 from the free throw line.

· A couple of injury updates: Freshman forward Devin Davis did not play, with Crean citing that they wanted to give his body some rest after what was a “really tough week” for him. That said, Crean said he doesn’t think Davis will be out for long.

· Freshman guard Stanford Robinson participated in warmups, though he has not yet been cleared to play. Crean hopes he will get clearance next week.

· 2014 forward Max Hoetzel, 2015 guard Aaron Jordan and 2016 guard Eron Gordon were all in attendance for Saturday night’s game. 2014 guard James Blackmon Jr., who was on campus yesterday for an unofficial visit, did not attend the game.

  • IUMIKE1

    A double double right out of the gate. He needed more attempts than he should have but something tells me that he is only going to get better in that respect. Have said all along that I thought he would turn out to be, maybe not the most talented, but the biggest surprise compared to how the so called experts thought it would be. By the time he leaves IU I would be awfully surprised if he isn’t another shining example of Crean’s ability to help a player take his game to another level.

  • ???? ???????

    This will be an interesting team. All the experts counted Indiana out because we lost 4 starters but it sure seems like the ones we have starting are very capable in their own right. Williams to play with the same spark as Oladipo. Vonleh so far looks like a more fearless Cody Zeller and Sheehey has about the same game as Watford. If Stanford Robinson can shoot anything like Hulls, it will be another fine year for Indiana especially when you factor in a more improved shooting game of Ferrell. Who knows Evan Gordon or Jeremy Hollowell could be the 6th man this year.

    As for the recruiting goes… I see it as a good sign that Max Hoetzel stayed to watch the game. I also see it as a bad sign that James Blackmon Jr. didn’t stay to watch the game.

  • ScoopGeoff

    “All the experts counted Indiana out…”

    I’m a little confused. We are a preseason top 25 team… That’s decent respect for a team that lost 4 starters and 1,000 scorers, and added 7 new faces. What are you expecting them to do this year – win another B1G title? Make the Final Four? Unless those are your expectations, then in think you agree with “all the experts.”

    Just seems like an invented chip on your shoulder…

  • bfblog

    i’ll guarantee you one thing: Stan Robinson will not shoot anywhere near as well as Jordan Hulls. Stan looks like he’ll be a good player, but Hulls was borderline automatic at times last season.

  • TJ21

    This is going to be a really fun year. We will not play well every game, some will be really bad probably, but its going to be entertaining and a lot of fun to watch. Troy Williams is a stud, he has so much talent, glad to see him off to a great start. I can not wait to see where we are in a month vs some of the other top teams (UK/KU) that are very young. I say we are in the conversation, even though our guys are not all “top 20″. This is going to be fun.

  • SCHoosier

    If you were Blackmon..given all the circumstances..would you have wanted to walk into A-Hall last night? If the visit was just a courtesy call or if JB is still undecided..I think it was understandable why he chose not to 1)elevate Hoosier hopes or 2) suffer the wrath of some fans by attending that game. Just MO.

  • TJ21

    If I were Blackmon, I would have either not came or stayed, unless it was a big family event that I had to get back to. Do not make excuses for him please, he isn’t coming. We all need to move on. Wish him well at UK.

  • G-Rob

    I agree Stan wont be the automatic 3 like Jordy, but Stan will bring something Jordy never had in 4 years or ever will. Athletic ability, defense, rebounding and be over 6 foot tall. I hope Stan has or gets Jordy’s work ethic, leadership and hard nose style of play. I cant wait for Stan to get healthly and watch him grow as a Hoosier.

  • USMC_Hoosier

    Williams is going to give us a lot of Victor flashbacks.

  • Ole Man

    Cody could hit free throws.
    But I think you’re right. JH would make a great 6th man this year.

  • Ole Man

    Better UK than MI.

  • Old4art

    Think about what AE accomplished in only 6 minutes. Please coach give him a little more pt.

  • IUMIKE1

    Sorry, not ever going to wish any player well at that big blue cesspool down there in laxunteen kantuckree. Not saying I want a career ending injury but at the same time there won’t be any well wishing from this IU fan for anyone going there.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    That’s a really good point. I had not thought of that. I immediately wrote him off (still do), but probably should have thought that through. He is a great talent, but I am ready to move on from him. I really wish we would revoke the scholly offer.

  • Ole Man

    Love the enthusiasm, but IMHO we won’t be in the UK/KU conversation this year. Watching last night saw a lot of talent on the floor. Also saw a really raw, young-young bunch of players. I didn’t use the word “team”, because they have to grow into that.
    Think they will, but it’s gonna be a wild ride this season.

  • ???? ???????

    You are only going by USA Today Coaches Poll and acting like it’s the only poll out there. CBS’s poll didn’t have Indiana ranked nor did Dickie V’s.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    The NET result could be different if Stanford does not allow as many points/rebounds/assists through better defense. It isn’t always about the 3. (This coming from a shooter at heart)

  • Caleb Moore

    Why because he can dunk? Let’s not get crazy here after one scrimmage against USI. I think Troy is going to be a great player at IU over time, but he’s got to get that work ethic Vic had. He’s a much better player coming in than Vic was.

  • USMC_Hoosier

    Did I say Troy was Vic? No. Did I say Noah was Vic, he dunked? No. Your response is a little condescending. Did you watch the game? If you did, you should have seen how super athletic and aggressive Troy is. From what I saw, there will be several moments this year that will remind us of Vic. You take it how you want.

  • PDXHoosier

    He is definitely very talented. He looked like he was playing a little too fast, kind of like he was super anxious to get that big steal/dunk/putback every play. Kind of reminds me of how HMP (who looked much improved) played at the beginning of last year. The good news is that Troy isn’t going to miss 9 games, so he’ll have time to settle down and develop this year.

  • PDXHoosier

    I don’t disagree with you, but please don’t bring up Dukie V’s opinion

  • CreamandCrimson

    I held out on making any comments about the scrimmage until I actually saw it. I did last night so I’m adding my comments that very few will read and even fewer will care about!

    1. This team has the potential to be extremely good defensively once they figure out how to play defense together and as a unit. The length and quickness on the floor at every position will be a real hassle for the opposition.
    2. Troy Williams and Noah Vonleh both have obvious talent. When they put it all together (might not be this season but at some point, their work ethic will really start to pay off), things will really take off.
    3. Yogi Ferrell looks much, much more comfortable and assertive (and his shot is much improved).
    4. Jeremy Hollowell looks more decisive with the ball which should result in fewer turnovers and more converted drives.
    5. Hanner Perea now knows how to play basketball!
    6. Free throws (and shooting in general) will probably be a concern all season. I have a feeling we’ll be extremely inconsistent with our shooting which will probably make for some head scratching results.

    We can’t jump to any conclusions with one game to go off of but it was very nice to see IU back on the floor. There will be one constant with this team, they’ll be playing very hard, so win or lose, it’ll be fun to watch.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Uhh, no. We’ve been recognized as a top 25 in several pre-season polls. Go through the archives here and/or Hoosier Scoop and you’ll find write ups.

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