The Inside the Hall Mailbag: January 17

  • 01/17/2014 10:09 am in

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

Allen Bowman on Facebook writes: It seems Will Sheehey has settled into a nice role over the past few games. Can you give your thoughts on how he’s adjusting since the start of the season and is he in the mix for the 1000 point club at all?

Sheehey definitely appears to have settled and seems more comfortable on the floor over the past few games, I’d agree. With him, his role has changed so much over the past season but at the same time, he is really embracing the leadership role on the court. His shooting percentages are way down this season — he knows that — but there is nobody on this team wanting to get the most out of his teammates more than Sheehey. And he’s made that adjustment extremely well.

As far as the 1,000-point chase goes, Sheehey is at 951 right now. So keep an eye on that over the next few games. — Jordan Littman

Joepop on the premium forum writes: I asked at the beginning of the year if Crean would be on the hotseat if IU didnt make the tourney, you answered that you didn’t think so. How important were these last two wins to solidify his coaching future at IU?

I don’t think they had much importance in solidifying his coaching future at Indiana. His future was solid before both games and it remains solid. The fact that there’s speculation about Crean’s future after Indiana won the Big Ten title outright last season for the first time in 20 years last season just seems extreme. I realize there’s still disappointment over the Syracuse loss in the NCAA tournament, but as I wrote recently, perspective has been lost by those who are even discussing this. Crean is recruiting at a high level, he’s getting kids who fit the program well and he’s winning games. And while this fact has become lost on some critics, we saw on Tuesday night that he’s a pretty good tactician as well. — Alex Bozich

Maedhros on the premium forum writes: Turnovers have been cut substantially in half the past few games, nearly to half of what they once were. Crean hinted at some new consequences for turnovers during practice. What’s your take on the reason for the decrease, and is this something that can continue over the rest of the season?

Especially over the past two games, it seems like Indiana is starting to solve its turnover issue. As for the reason that is happening, I think players are making smarter passes and Crean isn’t allowing for those “home run plays.” That’s partly why Troy Williams hasn’t seen much action recently. As far as whether it can be sustainable, I think Crean and his coaching staff know what the underlying issues were and they will be continued to be addressed as the season goes on. So, short answer: Yes, it definitely can be sustainable. — Jordan Littman

@AssemblyCall on Twitter writes: When teams inevitably sag off of Stan to keep him out of lane, does he have any type of midrange game to make them pay?

That’s a great question and it’s one that may need to be answered soon by Robinson as defenses are going to begin making adjustments as they watch him on film. Right now, 24.7 percent of Robinson’s shots are 2-point jumpers and he’s shooting 38.9 percent on those attempts. That’s not a terrible percentage, but it’s not good, either.

The most impressive thing about Robinson from watching him is that he knows what he’s good at and he sticks to it for the most part. He’s taking 67.1 percent of his shot attempts at the rim and he’s hitting on 57.1 percent of those shots. Getting to the rim and finishing is clearly the strong suit of Robinson’s offensive game at this point, but he’s going to have games where getting to the rim won’t be as easy and he’s going to have to knock down a couple of midrange shots to keep the defense honest. Whether he can do that consistently remains to be seen. — Alex Bozich

Geoff_85 on the premium forum writes: What does Indiana have to do over the next 5 or 6 games to get itself back in the NCAA tournament discussion? The upcoming slate is as follows: NW, @ MSU, Illinois, @ Nebraska, Michigan. What is a reasonable expectation out of those 5 games?

There’s no way around it: Tuesday’s win against Wisconsin was huge for the Hoosiers’ NCAA tournament chances. They have a signature win and are now 2-2 in Big Ten play. And with some winnable games in their next five, they simply have to capitalize. In fact, winning more than half those games should be a reasonable goal for this team.

Remember, the Hoosiers play Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State a combined six times this season. Those are six very, very winnable games (IU has one of those out of the way and it was on the road). Indiana has already beaten Wisconsin. If the Hoosiers can win four out of their next five, which is certainly a possibility looking at the schedule, they’d be 6-3 in Big Ten play and 16-6 overall. At that point, an NCAA tournament berth could become more and more of a possibility heading into the final stretch. — Jordan Littman

Jon Robling on Facebook writes: Is Coach Crean against Juco players, since he’s never had one while at IU. It would seem that adding a frontcourt player for next year might be a route to go, especially from the Juco ranks. Any reason Coach Crean does not seem to look at Juco players?

Crean’s first recruiting class actually had two junior college players in Devan Dumes and Tijan Jobe and the 2010 class had Guy-Marc Michel, who ended up being ruled ineligible by the NCAA. He’s also recruited other junior college players like Stephen Hurt and Jameel McKay fairly heavily. So to answer your first question, no, he’s not against junior college players and he has recruited several.

As for the prospect of it happening in 2014, I don’t follow junior college recruiting closely at all and at this point, haven’t heard of any names that are possibilities for Indiana to recruit. At a major program like Indiana, I’d argue that it’s not always advisable to dip into the junior college ranks where you’re looking at a player that obviously had an issue getting to the Division I level initially, whether it be from grades or some other issue. If we’re talking about adding a big man this spring, the fifth year transfer or adding a player who opens things back up after a coaching change seem like the better ways to go. — Alex Bozich

FeatheryOne on the premium forum writes: It seems as though the chemistry is finally coming together for this young IU squad. Do you think that LF (Luke Fischer) leaving and Hollowell on the bench have a lot to do with this or is it just time playing its course?

In all honesty, I think it’s a combination of all three of those factors. With a team that had eight freshmen, initially, it naturally takes time for the right chemistry to form, and I think this team is forming more and more of an identity as the season goes on. And everyone can see it. As far as the Fischer and Hollowell situations are concerned — whether it be homesickness or perhaps a lack of focus — I think any time you can rid negativity around a program, it’s a positive. And over the past two games, you’re certainly seeing those benefits. — Jordan Littman

tj21 on the premium forum writes: Can you provide a season stat / development update for all 3 incoming freshmen?

James Blackmon Jr. hasn’t played since Dec. 28, but he’s averaging 35.6 points per game for Marion. The Giants (6-3) play tonight against Logansport.

Robert Johnson most recently had 21 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals as Richmond Benedictine Prep (15-3) beat No. 4 Virginia Episcopal, 67-65, on Jan. 13. We also talked to Johnson’s coach, who gave us a comprehensive update on his progress.

Last weekend, Max Hoetzel had 15 points and seven rebounds as Wilbraham and Monson Academy fell 64-52 to St. Joseph’s (N.J.) in an Under Armour event in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some footage of that game, captured from a web stream so it is a bit jumpy, is available below:

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  • millzy32

    I don’t think any realistic fans think that a National Championship every few years is probable or even possible but the fans do want the team to play to their potential. Two top five draft picks came from last year’s team. To see them get embarrassed in a sweet sixteen game was a big disappointment for almost all IU fans. I wasn’t expecting a title last year but at least a close hard fought game to end the season would have been nice.

  • BtownHoosier10

    Believe it or not I heard the same rumor, tweet from “chronichoosier”, which I don’t think it’s near credible enough to post on this site. And assuming we haven’t’ heard anything to this point I’m going to assume its just that, a false rumor that doesn’t need to be spread.

  • calbert40

    He didn’t suggest that we should settle or not have expectations of being an elite program. If I could change one thing he said, it would be that “the expectations of our coach to take us there are no different than [more] D1 programs [than ever before].”

    From the 70s through the 90s, there were about half as many “elite” programs as there are today. The NCAA tourney used to be similar to the Women’s tourney – about 6 teams with a shot to win it. Now, there are usually about 10-12 that would not surprise anyone each year if they won. Then add on the random schools that make Final Fours like Butler, VCU, George Mason, etc, and the point is that it is MUCH more difficult to get there than it used to be for no other reason than parity. Losing to Syracuse sucked last year, but it wasn’t like we lost to Kent State. Syracuse is an elite program now. They have the same expectations of a school like IU.

    We should still expect greatness from the program, but if we set a national championship as the ONLY measurement for success for CTC, we are setting him up to fail.

  • calbert40

    ‘Cause that’s what they said. Right.

    They asked you to define what it takes to be the best program in the nation. What’s your answer? How often does IU need to win the national title? Make a Final Four? Win the B1G? Once every ten years? Every 5 years?

    What would it take? Furthermore, if we aren’t cutting it right now, what would you do to correct all of this mediocrity? Whom would you hire? What would he do specifically that would turn us from what we are today to the best in the land?

  • kwang

    Milla, he said ” I refuse to settle for anything less for the best program in college basketball” , not – any thing less than the best program in college basketball. Subtle difference. I myself think IU is the best program in college basketball, but I’m prejudiced.

  • Snookafly

    I know Stan was supposed to be working on his jumper all last year. If you go back and read some of the comments from his Findlay coach it was definitely a point of emphasis in getting Stan ready for college. I’m sure he’s had a lot more to focus on since he’s come up to the next level, but hopefully he’ll find his stroke.

  • Snookafly

    I don’t remember seeing Cody Zeller ever being vocal in games or off the court. I’m sure he played with passion, but it rarely showed on his face. Blake Griffin is the exact same way in the NBA. It doesn’t inspire the fans, but I don’t think it’s a great gauge of what’s kind of heart a player has.

  • Snookafly

    I’m glad you pointed this out. Looking at Troy’s minutes he is definitely now a starter in name only, and Devin is hardly seeing the floor at all. Troy seems like a nice, humble kid, but one of those guys that has a hard time concentrating. These three all have amazing potential, but we’ll have to have some patience.

  • Snookafly

    Are you kidding me? You must be a Cubs fan.

  • Snookafly

    So the two options are “winning 50 in a row” or not caring if we don’t win one for 5-10 years? Wow. I’m glad YOU’RE not calling the shots.

  • Snookafly

    The NCAA seems to be moving in the opposite direction. More teams being added to the tourney makes the idea of lengthening it to a series playoff all the more unlikely.

  • Snookafly

    I think Final Fours are reasonable measuring sticks, but I hope we don’t give him 20 years worth of rope to get there.

  • Kyl470

    That’s the problem is that people just look at him and say he looks lazy. Another guy who looked lazy was Christian Watford, but since he could knock down open jumpers and was an ok rebounder and did take care of the ball no one complained about him. Hollowell has the potential to be almost an identical player to Watford and that’s what this team could use.

  • MillaRed

    Read between the lines man it’s sarcasm. Bring something productive to the table.

  • Ole Man

    Love your support of the Hoosiers.
    Chuckle at “Yogi as best PG in America”, however.

  • Snookafly

    Please elaborate on what you see as “productive.” You mean like a basketball team bowing out in the Sweet Sixteen for years on end? I’ll work on it for you, but be patient for the next couple decades.

  • MillaRed

    I like you Spera but must ask, have you talked to 10-15 other programs in this regard?

  • Snookafly

    Yogi was the only one who I saw a difference in his shot transition from high school to college. He seems to have gotten back in his second year for what it’s worth.

  • MillaRed

    I think I am suppose to be hurt by this. It’s a personal attack I think. I’m not sure. If it is, nice work. I guess. Go Hoosiers?

  • MillaRed

    I have been back and forth about that game and have come to the conclusion (in my mind)!that we ran into a buzz saw. Carter-Williams is the front runner for NBA ROY and we had no answer for him. I’m not putting it on CTC.

  • Snookafly

    Just some friendly ribbing.

  • Ole Man

    March Madness would become June Jollies with all the games you’d have to schedule.

  • Ole Man

    Respectfully disagree, Milla. I’ll give him five, but ten? No way.

  • MillaRed

    I will say it again Snook. Tom Crean will not be fired if he does not win a championship in the next 5 years. I will bet my house on this. That is my message. You have the right to disagree. And the world goes round and round.

  • Ole Man

    I will not settle for lower expectations than Kentucky.

  • ForeverIU

    LOL, and why not? Who needs an off-season?

  • Ole Man

    I get your sarcasm; and I rarely agree with you.

  • MillaRed

    Now we’re talkin. No hard feelings man.

  • Ole Man

    He’ll barely make the floor next year.

  • Ole Man

    People conveniently forget just how many of those turnovers occurred during the PG experiment.

  • MillaRed

    Ole Man, you old man you. I will bet you a bajillion dollars if CTC does not win a championship in 10 years , AND, yes it’s a big and, he does as well as he did the last few years. He will not be fired. I have like $80 in my checking. This will take some time. But I’m willing to take my chances.

  • MillaRed

    I’m just glad I got all you guys worked up. It’s what I do.

    Score for Milla!!!!!

    I need a hobby.

  • Snookafly

    What you said is entirely correct, and grounded in reality. I just think that when the most rabid parts of a fan base begin to settle for “filling seats” or anything less than excellence it sets a dangerous precedent. If we lower our standards as supporters of the program then it will begin to trickle other areas, and pretty soon we’ll be Purdue talking about the dominance we had in the ’30s.

  • sometimes I comment

    Well, I won’t be there in a Blue Hair seat (or any seat) tomorrow, but I will give Jeremy a standing ovation iin my living room f he is in the game.

  • Ole Man

    I think the pressure, not necessarily from fans such as you or me, would be so great, he’d jump to the pros.
    Just my two cents.

  • Alford Bailey

    pUKe would have fired CTC already

  • ForeverIU

    I am just enjoying the artistry in a team coming together and giving us games that are a pleasure to watch, even if some of them are losses. The future of Crean at IU discussions to me are mental masturbation and border on sickness. My ultimate yardstick for the success of IU basketball will not depend on a single-elimination tournament; I am sorry. Success is measured, among other things, in how well our program does in producing well-rounded young men, and how well they contribute to uplifting the sport of basketball and sportsmanship not just in this country but around the world. My banners are their success stories.

  • ForeverIU

    Thanks for this, lots of work putting the data together, and much more interesting and telling about the success of a program than championship numbers.


    Good comment, really good info, excellent points. IMHO one of the best comments that I’ve read on this particular subject.


    Totally agree. Crean will not be fired in the next 5 years for not winning a national championship. Is it possible for him to be fired over the next 5 years, yes, but not winning it all isn’t going to be one of the reasons that that will happen and the things that would cause that to come about I just don’t see there being any chance of happening.


    And I’m afraid that is if NV opts for the draft after this year. If NV stays I think he struggles to see ANY “meaningful” minutes next year.

  • Ole Man

    Too true. Thank God “there’s a river between us.”

  • Smilinjayd

    I gotta call “Bull” on this post. First with regards to parity 11 teams have won the last 18 NCAA hoops crown. Many multiple winners. Look at the names and it’s usually the same names competing for the crown in the Final 4. If the expectation or “measuring stick” is not winning an NCAA title, then you might as well be Northwestern or Purdue (Ha, had to get that shot in!). If CTC is the right choice for IU, then he needs to prove he can put it all together. I’m not so certain he has that ability. Time will tell, but essentially you are what your record says you are. So, these past 2 1/2 years make him good, but not in the top 5.

  • TomJameson

    You know I am really amazed at how many times this point is raised, in spite of that statistic.
    I think it shows that many people comment on emotion, and not necessarily out of knowledge. That’s not always a bad thing, but that’s also where a lot of the “nasty” negativity comes from as well.

  • kaponya44

    I hope Troy isn’t hanging his head and I do see him progressing in his decision making. If he does get down on himself I hope Crean goes to film of Vic from each respective season he was here then reminds Troy that patience pays off if he keeps at it..Stan is really starting to “get it “and I hope they are focusing him on free throws since he is so effective getting inside and getting fouled.