2014-2015 Player Profile: Max Hoetzel

  • 10/07/2014 8:52 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Max Hoetzel. 

The story behind Max Hoetzel’s recruitment to Indiana is somewhat ironic. After all, the 6-foot-8 forward likely would not be donning the cream and crimson this season had it not been for current UNLV freshman Goodluck Okonoboh.

The summer before his senior year of high school, Hoetzel chose to transfer from his hometown Calabasas (Calif.) High to Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) Academy in order to gain more exposure for his recruitment. At the time, Indiana was recruiting Okonoboh as part of its 2014 class.

And when Indiana coach Tom Crean and then-assistant Kenny Johnson arrived on campus to watch Okonoboh, WMA coach Chris Sparks convinced them to watch his newest player — one he knew they certainly would be interested in due to the Hoosiers’ lack of 3-point shooters.

“He’s a lot like a Chandler Parsons type,” Sparks said at the time. “I’d compare him to Kyle Korver too, but that’d be selling him short on his athletic ability.”

Indiana, of course, had that same vision. After watching him that day, the Hoosiers stayed in touch and brought him to Bloomington for an official visit the weekend of Oct. 25. He committed just two days later.

Though many Hoosiers fans had yet to see Hoetzel in action, many were not sure how he would fit into the system or what he brings to the table.

Over the next several months, that assessment started to form. He won the 3-point shooting contest at the Derby Festival Basketball Classic and finished his season at WMA on a high note, with Sparks saying that “he made significant strides, was a huge contributor for us and really led to our success in the league.”

But Sparks admitted he knew what Hoetzel’s biggest challenge will be during his freshman season: improving his strength and his stamina. During the Hoosiers’ preseason trip to Montreal, Hoetzel was sidelined for “jogging” during a game. Even then, though, Hoetzel showed flashes of what he brings to the table, averaging 5.6 points and three rebounds in 13 minutes per game and nearly half of his field goal attempts coming from behind the 3-point arc.

In July, Crean said he hoped for Hoetzel to be a potential option to make shots as a trailer on the fast break.

“We need him to be a shot maker,” Crean said. “We need him, big key now is getting him to be able to get the ball out of bounds and run the break and trail. We never got the trail position worked out last year.”

But Crean also noted that Hoetzel does not have the strength base other freshmen are coming in with. And that is something Hoetzel will continue to work on throughout his freshman year.

“Strength is a big thing for him right now,” Crean said. “He’s not coming in with the base that some of the others are, the physicality that he needs to have. His confidence will grow from his strength. His confidence will grow from simple basketball as he continues to do that.”

Bottom line: Hoetzel’s fitness will be a key factor in whether he will see significant court time during his freshman season, but the 6-foot-8 forward’s shooting ability is what attracted the Hoosiers in the first place. Crean has a clear, defined goal for Hoetzel this season, and if he could become that trailer Crean hopes for, Hoetzel could see the court more and more as a freshman, especially as his strength base builds.

Quotable: “It was when I was walking out on that floor at Assembly Hall. I had never seen brighter lights on a gym. It was crazy for a college arena. And the fact that the place was packed for an exhibition game was ridiculous. It was crazy. And just how people care so much about the basketball program, it’s really something else. It was something I couldn’t really describe. To be a part of that would just be amazing.” — Hoetzel on when he realized he wanted to commit to Indiana

Previous: James Blackmon Jr.

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  • inLinE6

    I’ve seen the kid in action at Ottawa. Great attitude. Nice touch and release. He has the potential to be CWat 2.0.

  • downtownhoosier10

    If we can get this kid to stick around 4 years and not transfer he could be a serious weapon in years 3 and 4. He will be a role player for sure over the next 2 years. In years 3 and 4 after two full years of our strength program he will be ready to take on a 25 min a night role in the B10. Keep up the hard work young sir and you will be very fun to watch.

  • IUDan

    I agree Max has alot of potential and I’m excited we have him . . . I think he’s another that grew fairly quickly which I think contributed to his lack of strength and stamina – something I’m sure will be corrected in the program.

    I think he will contribute this season for us, though I have tempered my expectations a little based on strength. That said, he played at a high level prep school, which makes me think his transition to college won’t be as big as some of the others. My guess is he will make some early contributions at the wing, and eventually broaden his game to include time at the 4.

    He has potential as a great 4 year player. I’m glad we have him!

  • CreamandCrimson

    His coach compares him to Chandler Parsons or a more athletic Kyle Korver…even if he only develops to 75% of those guys, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

    I think it’s impossible to project how he’ll be used in the long-term (as we know, somewhat heavy roster turnover is probable…perhaps inevitable). So, how will he be used this year? I don’t know how many minutes he’ll get and I don’t think that has or should be determined at this point. I do think he’ll get situational minutes as a shooter (if we need shooting in the game, who are you putting at the 4 next to Yogi, Blackmon and Zeisloft/Johnson…Davis, Holt, Williams or Hoetzel? Based on what we currently know, Max Hoetzel plays in that scenario).

    Last year, I think Hoetzel plays quite a bit for us. He could have helped answer the call for that roster’s desperate need for shooting. That doesn’t appear to be as urgent of a need for this year’s squad (thank goodness). So, he’ll earn playing time based on rebounding, slashing to the basket and his defense on other wing players. How those things develop will determine how much time he plays and where he plays. I don’t think any of us knows where he’ll fit this season but I’m confident he’ll be a very good member of this program and I’m glad to have him as a Hoosier.

  • HoosierBuddy

    Sup guys. Been following the site for a while. Figured i’d make my disqus account to join in conversations.

    One of the things I think Max will bring to this incoming season, is that swagger.
    For instance before the 3 point contest at the Derby Classic. He said he was going to win it, then went out there and did it. He will bring that same kind of swagger to games when he is put in, although I think he will see a limited role mainly as situational and trailing the break. I know he will make the most of those minutes, bringing a similar attitude Sheehey played with. Having someone with that attitude spreads to the whole team. thats my 2 cents on Max. GO HOOSIERS

  • CreamandCrimson

    Welcome…glad to have a new “voice” on board. Confidence does seem to be contagious in basketball and I loved hearing that story from the Derby Classic when it occurred. I think we can all agree that we hope Hoetzel won’t be near as hesitant to pull the trigger on an open 3 as some of the guys who had apparent confidence issues last season.

  • Welcome to the community.

  • Alford Bailey

    I’m hoping Stauskas 2.0

  • HoosierBuddy

    Agreed it seemed like only 3 people had confidence in their ability. Yogi, Will and Stan. I say Stan cause he knew what his strong point was and stuck with it. I don’t know how many times last year I was like he can’t make that drive and be shocked. I left Noah out because it seemed more often then not when he got the ball he didn’t quite know if he was going to shoot or drive. I honestly think he needed one more year but alas he’s gone.

  • Gregory Spera

    Nothing like scoring to alleviate any “confidence issues.”

  • Alford Bailey

    Well since you brought it up I was thinking the the same with Max. I’ve been big on him from the start but it seems right now he may be the odd man out for playing time. That seems to tranlate to a transfer in the program right now with the way recruiting is with the oversigns. I’m not sure we see guys ride the bench for 2 years and then blossom into a good B1G player too much anymore. Kids wanna play now.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Good to have you on the board! Although you’ll find a broad range of topics and opinions expressed here, it’s fair to say that the common link between all of us posters is a fervent desire to see our Hoosiers play the best games they can play.

  • HoosierGrampy

    He has also spoken freely about his desire and motivation to address aspects of his game which need to be improved, i.e., his strength & endurance. Time will tell…

  • TomJameson

    Welcome to the forum HoosierBuddy, always happy for one more perspective and input.

  • Zach

    Look forward to seeing what Max can bring to the team this year and hopefully years to come. Although I haven’t seen him play yet, I really hope he has some patience and sticks it out with us even if there isn’t a lot of PT for him this year because I want to see him develop in the candy stripes and become a big contributor in the future

  • Outoftheloop

    Have a great year Max! We are pulling for you to excel!

  • Outoftheloop

    Max is not limited to your minimalist expectations. He wants to be a player! We shall see what actually happens!

  • Outoftheloop

    All of our recent transfers did get plenty of playing time, they just did not play that well: Hollowell, Etherington, Creek, (Abell who played well is the only one who left to get playing time who did),

  • mark

    Imagine that. Watford was ranked 40th best in his HS class. Hoetzel wasn’t even in the top 400, I think. That just shows Crean’s ability to identify hidden gems. Hopefully, at least …

  • HoosierGrampy

    CWat 2.0 would be OK; Stauskas 2.0 would be Nice; 1st videos I watched after hearing about him brought back memories of a “pretty good” baller from the ’89-92 teams by the name of Eric Anderson with improved range.

  • Dave Carnes

    is he really 6 8

  • inLinE6

    Troy was listed as 6’7, and Max seemed to be taller than Troy when they stand together. Last I heard was the kid was still growing. Some say, he’d eventually be 6’9

  • Dave Carnes

    Man I hope.