The Inside the Hall Mailbag: May 5

  • 05/05/2015 11:38 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, 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.

Anthony Baird on Facebook writes: Will (Thomas) Bryant really be that big of an improvement? Crean has proven he can’t get it done with bigs. I mean look what he did to Cody Zeller. I’m looking more forward to the return of Devin Davis!

Yes, Thomas Bryant will be a major improvement and a major factor from the minute he steps onto Branch McCracken Court. He’s a high energy guy who is coachable and makes hustle plays. He chose Indiana for a variety of reasons, one of which I’ll get into now as I tackle your second comment regarding Zeller. That reason is player development.

If “not getting it done with bigs” is putting a guy into the lottery for two straight years, I’m not sure what else you’d like to see. Zeller came to Indiana ranked just outside of the top 10 nationally in his recruiting class and went No. 4 overall in the NBA draft and was an All-American. When he left campus, he was a much better player than he was when he arrived. Those are all facts. You can certainly argue that IU should have advanced further than the Sweet 16 back in 2013, but that is a separate discussion. In terms of making guys better that put in the effort and helping them reach their potential, it’s hard to dispute what Crean has been able to accomplish. – Alex Bozich

mcoghlan on the premium forum writes: Assuming there are no more departures or additions in the Big Ten, where do you think IU will end up in the Big Ten standings?

Right now, I’d put IU third behind Maryland and Michigan State. I think the Terrapins are the favorite on paper based on the strength of their returning pieces (Melo Trimble, Jake Layman) and two interior additions (Diamond Stone, Robert Carter). The Dez Wells loss obviously hurts, but Mark Turgeon has some other young players in Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens who should also be better as sophomores.

I’d give the edge to Michigan State over IU right now because the Spartans have the less challenging Big Ten schedule. Michigan State only plays IU and Maryland one time each and both games are in East Lansing. The Spartans also return Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, LouRawls Nairn, Matt Costello, Gavin Schilling and add West Virginia transfer Eron Harris and a pair of McDonald’s All-American big men in Caleb Swanigan and Deyonta Davis. That’s a very solid roster with depth. Michigan and Purdue should also both field strong groups and if the Boilermakers can add a point guard, they can easily challenge for a top three finish again. I do like Michigan’s team on paper, but I’m more in wait-and-see mode there as Derrick Walton and Caris LeVert are working to get back to 100 percent from injuries. Wisconsin also can’t be counted out as Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes are back, but the Badgers will be young and are going to have a ton of production to replace. – Alex Bozich

@PatrickJMaley on Twitter writes: Any word on or thoughts about who will fill the open assistant coaching spot and when? Strength trainer, too?

There’s nothing new to report on either front. Director of basketball operations Rod Judson was on the road recruiting for the two April evaluation periods in place of the departed Steve McClain. Beyond that, there hasn’t been any indication nor an announcement on who will fill those openings. – Alex Bozich

Tom Jameson on Facebook writes: Alex, what kind of rotation do you see for this season? As detailed as you care to get (I see Yogi, JBJ, Troy, Bryant as certain starters), but also how do you see this very deep team competing for minutes?

I’m not quite ready to project a starting lineup, given that it’s early May and there’s plenty to play out between now and the start of practice, but I would expect Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft, Collin Hartman, Troy Williams, Emmitt Holt, Bryant and Hanner Mosquera-Perea to all be in the rotation. That’s nine guys right there.

Beyond that, there’s still uncertainty surrounding Davis and his situation, but if he’s healthy, I think he’ll have a role. That leaves Juwan Morgan, O.G. Anunoby and Tim Priller as the other three guys competing for minutes. While there’s certainly a chance that Morgan or Anunoby could carve out a role, there’s talent and experience in front of both guys and it’s not often that you see a team go more than nine or 10 deep with any regularity. – Alex Bozich

dmacer1227 on the premium forum writes: With the addition of Harrison Niego, how does that impact Ryan Burton and Nate Ritchie?

I haven’t heard anything that indicates that the addition of Niego will have an affect the status of Burton or Ritchie. – Alex Bozich

@IngramGreg on Twitter writes: What’s the experience INSIDE THE HALL going to be like next year given they’ll be midway through the renovations?

I see what you did there, Greg. Nice play on words. As for the experience at games next season, I would direct you to the video below from last month where Fred Glass talks about the renovations project. This is really the latest information we’ve been given on the project and Glass discusses some of the challenges that may be present next season. Hope this helps. – Alex Bozich

GregorySpera on the premium forum writes: After all the highs and lows of the past few years, in your mind, how important is next season when it comes to determining whether or not Tom Crean is really the man to return Indiana Basketball to “elite” status, long term?

It’s incredibly important. All of the pieces appear to be there to have a team that should challenge for a Big Ten crown and a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament. Assuming those things materialize, there will be plenty of focus on how this team performs in the tournament.

Glass, who is ultimately the one responsible for the direction of all of IU’s athletic programs, was pretty clear in his postseason comments that he wants to see more next season while remaining a strong advocate for the job Crean has done to this point. – Alex Bozich

twoturntables on the premium forum writes: Now that the rosters are mostly finalized and the schedule is out for 2015-2016, which of the top teams (IU, UM, MSU, Maryland, PU) go the best draw? Who got the worst?

The best draw has to be Michigan State. The Spartans have single plays with Indiana (home), Maryland (home), Michigan (away) and Purdue (away). Assuming those are the top five teams in the leagues (I wouldn’t could out Wisconsin just yet), getting a single play with each of the other four contenders is a nice gift from those making the schedules.

The worst draw would probably be Maryland. The Terps get IU and Michigan State just once, but both of those contests are on the road. They also get to play the following teams twice: Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. I’m expecting Northwestern to be improved and while Ohio State will be young, the Buckeyes have a great recruiting class coming in and are tough to beat in Columbus. If Maryland wins the Big Ten next season, it will certainly be a deserving champion. – Alex Bozich

kmark22 on the premium forum writes: Alex it has been discussed in the forum recently, primarily by me, that IU needs to refocus and get stronger with in state recruiting and not just at the elite level. With one in state recruit in the past two classes do you think this is an issue or are they days of locking up the state’s best talent over?

IU certainly tried to make recruiting in the state a focus in 2014, but things obviously didn’t work out with Trey Lyles, Trevon Bluiett or JaQuan Lyle. I don’t think it was from a lack of focus in the state, I just think some of those situations didn’t work out. The Lyles situation obviously hurt, but I’m not sure what else could have been done there.

Looking at 2015, IU got a very good big man in Thomas Bryant who I would argue is probably a better fit for the program than Caleb Swanigan, who went to Michigan State. The only other sure-fire Big Ten recruit in 2015 was Jalen Coleman, who IU tried with for several years before he ultimately chose Illinois.

It’s obviously impossible to forecast the future, but IU seems to be making the state a focus in 2017 and in 2016, the Hoosiers seem to be firmly in the mix with Joey Brunk out of Southport and also recruited Kyle Guy diligently before he committed to Virginia. The talent hasn’t been as deep the past couple of years in the state, but 2017 appears loaded and should help us answer your question better. – Alex Bozich

“WILL” take charge on the premium forum writes: What are your thoughts about the chances that Thon Maker comes to IU?

I don’t believe the chances are good, particularly if the mid-season enrollment is going to happen. That’s a situation that would seem to better suit a program like Arizona State that needs to acquire talent more than a program like IU, who will be trying to mold together a team that should compete for a Big Ten championship.

Bringing in a player who appears to be a one-and-done in the middle of the season could be more disruptive than helpful despite the talent. Obviously Maker could end up being a positive for the program that ultimately lands him, but there are simply too many negatives of a mid-season enrollment to take the chance in my opinion if that’s what ends up happening with Maker. There are still those – I know Evan Daniels of Scout.com is among them – who still question whether Maker will ever play college basketball as there has been plenty of discussion that he could explore his professional options overseas or maybe just stay in Canada for his senior season and try to enter the NBA draft without going to college at all. – Alex Bozich

brosallman on the premium forum writes: Alex, what are the chances that Devin Davis plays meaningful minutes next year?

IU is planning for Davis to play next year, but there are medical hurdles that still need to be cleared. I think the program has taken the correct approach with Davis in bringing him along slowly and letting the injury heal properly.

Assuming he’s cleared to play next season, I think he’s going to have a role and play meaningful minutes. Ferrell mentioned his rebounding ability in his comments yesterday, so it seems evident that his teammates are also excited about the possibility of Davis rejoining the rotation.

Given the roster IU has assembled next year, the best role for Davis would likely be as an energy guy off the bench who can rebound and play alongside a guy like Bryant for stretches. To answer the question, the chances appear to be good, but we’ll have a better idea later in the summer as he continues to progress in his rehab from a very serious injury. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • IU track Alumni

    Good research!

  • IUMIKE1

    Did you or anyone else click on the link at the top left of page the other day to see the short clip of him (OG) doing a between the legs 360 dunk ? Was pretty impressive IMO.

  • marcusgresham

    Also, there’s a lot smaller sample size. He’s only had a handful of big guys to work with and I’d argue (with others, not you,) that the ones who’ve appeared to have any ability have gotten where they wanted to be; the others never really had a chance because they didn’t have enough to begin with to improve to a level of even mediocrity (Muniru and Jobe for example. Jurkin may have been able to become something but he couldn’t stay healthy. Michel never got a chance thanks to the NCAAstapo.) The one who might have been able to show development was April, and it appears it was his lack effort to take the recommendations given to him that led to his lack of improvement.

  • At the Quarries

    I watched the clip. This kid might be the second coming of Victor Oladipo! He looks so hungry he’d eat the basketball if it were edible. Ha.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I didn’t say that Cody should have been shooting 3s or that the 2012 team needed him to shoot 3s. My post was in response to a post about Cody’s 3-point contest victory (and the implication that he is a good 3-point shooter)…I was just pointing out that there is no evidence of him actually being a good outside shooter.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know what you are saying and agree with it……but I know from personal experience that once in a while there are individuals that just will not take up the hard work ethic mantra regardless of how many approaches you take with them. But then again I wasn’t being paid 3 million dollars a year to figure that kind of thing out either, and had I been I probably would have kept digging until I did find the right button to push. lol

  • At the Quarries

    Inspired by some of the discussions on Vonleh, I went back and read some of the NBA opinions and scouting reports. I found it interesting that before coming to IU Vonleh was touted by many as more of a wing player. Crean took a wing player and helped him develop a game in the post. He deserves some credit for that. Yes? No?

  • IUMIKE1

    Very well put and something that a lot of fans lose sight of. I would trade Crean NEVER putting another player into the NBA, even one that became a superstar, for another banner or two. Excellent point.

  • IUMIKE1

    e.g. Izzo and MSt.

  • IUMIKE1

    All are good points, and as far as the fair shake thing goes, I’m in total agreement on that. It’s coach ’em up or coach is out if next season is another underachieving one. He appears to have all the pieces, depth and experience needed to do what is fair to ask of from him to keep his job.

  • Ryan

    Only because it involved shooting half court shots

  • IUMIKE1

    NCAAstapo, LOL, I like that one !

  • Hawk4

    The lineup used next year will be very dependent on who is playing the post, and subsequently, the 4. Bryant and HMP are both true posts; and while Holt could be a 4 in some systems, I don’t see CTC using more than 1 of these guys at a time other than for situational defensive match-ups.

    I’d expect Yogi, JBJ, Troy, Rob and Collin to see the bulk of the crucial minutes. Nick will probly be 6th man in the backcourt, but with only 1 big on the floor, I’d expect Nick to see 10/15 minutes a game.

    Pre-conference games will give OG and Juwan a chance to prove themselves… both wildcards at this point. I don’t like going more than 8 deep come conference season… 9 on occasion.

  • Hurryin’ Hoosiers

    First comment, been meaning to create an account for awhile instead of just lurking, finally did it today. I see a lot of pro-Crean and anti-Crean, so I wanted to throw in my two cents. As a person, I’m a big fan of Crean. I think for the most part he’s a genuinely good person who wants people to succeed and wants to do things the right way. Certainly a refreshing change from the dark years. However, I do question his coaching abilities. The lack of an effective offense has been intensely frustrating, and while you can blame some of it on the players, I believe this year will decide if Crean can actually coach, or listen to his staff, or if he’s just a nice guy who hasn’t been able to take some great talent – 2012 – to the next level. I don’t hate him, and I don’t blindly agree with everything he does. I very much hope for success next year, and to bring banner #6 home to BTown, and I imagine the anti-Crean contingent would be happier to see another banner than to be proven right that Crean can’t coach. Let’s go Hoosiers.

  • PBzeer

    While consistency would be an improvement, I see no foundation on which to base expectation of it. Defense, at it’s core is fundamentals + effort. As we’ve seen before, we’ve been short on fundamentals, and there seems to be nothing in the way of a motivator coming from the coaching staff.

  • At the Quarries

    I just can’t see CTC rewarding Hanner’s progress with more bench time. Also, if the answer to our size problems is to basically replace the bulk of Hanner’s minutes with Bryant’s, then we haven’t really done much. We exploit Bryant’s addition best by allowing Hanner to continue on his course. We have to play Hanner and Bryant together as a matter of habit not contingency.

  • MK

    Agreed. But that wasn’t the point that was being debated. The original question in the article was specifically about player development.

  • Drew

    Lack of an effective offense is not the problem. The defense, however, is another story. Welcome aboard.

  • IURob1997

    Noah wasn’t under utilized he just had a tough season with absolutely awful shooters around him so every defense just collapsed on him. Had he played with any other team in the Crean era with great shooting he would have looked completely different.

  • Ole Man

    I admit that I am, Pride. Why? Because I’m so tired of the constant parade of negativity from the fan boys.
    If you attempt to have an honest discussion about IU basketball anymore, it instantly dissolves into the merits of Crean, etc., blah, blah, blah….when, in actuality, that isn’t even the purpose of the original post.
    Simply tired of it.

  • Ole Man

    I think, although he isn’t clear, that the “effective offensive” is either satire (which is always so unclear on the internet) or a reference to the breakdowns against really good D squads.
    Either would work in this case.

  • CreanFaithful

    Yes. But it was not a traditional 3 point contest. There were shots taken from half court – which he hit, others didn’t.

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    If you can’t beat them, join them!

    But, what does one do when they become what they despise?

  • Realityvill-an

    lmao…never fails. u realize that ur talkin about one game…I’m talking season. keep the comments coming tho..ur def good for a laugh

  • Realityvill-an

    u are all the same people that think crean is a good coach…so your opinion means very little

  • Realityvill-an

    haha. hard to believe how people are still on the crean bandwagon…although it is starting to be less crowded. what will all you guys’ arguments be when crean gets fired?

  • Realityvill-an

    no I believe he was responding to the above comment..are you just skimming thru trying to find something to be upset about?

  • Realityvill-an

    I think most are saying that crean didn’t make him a no. 4 pick. oh and that’s an “opinion” not a “fact”

  • Realityvill-an

    credit given for recruiting not coaching. all those guys could of went somewhere else and been just fine. ol crean had nothing to do with it. and ya I don’t like crean which is a lot like many iu fans these days

  • Realityvill-an

    u gotta be a dbag to say that phrase..cmon u can do better than that. ur grandpa tell u to say that lil boy?

  • Realityvill-an

    oh we have a real bad a** on our hands. track all American lol…nobody cares dude. u can run fast..whooohooo

  • Realityvill-an

    says the guy with the blue hair

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    it sounds good in theory, and while he’s progressed i still don’t think he’s all that good, to be brutally honest. put it this way, the team arguably played its best when CH stepped in while HMP was injured, and EH easily outplayed him in several games. bottom line, CTC is going to give the most productive players the most minutes. IMHO, i think he’ll get more productivity out of CH and EH. and that’s certainly my preference. i got really tired of watching him go for the espn highlight block only to let the offense get the rebound basket. look at his stats last year and see how many times he got 0 or 1 rebound.

  • MK

    You can not think Crean is good coach and still disagree on certain things

  • MK

    But it really does go both ways. Both sides end up bringing up Crean.

    “If you attempt to have an honest discussion about IU basketball anymore,
    it instantly dissolves into the merits of Crean, etc., blah, blah, blah”

    You are completely disregarding the fact that the question in the mailbag that Alex was responding to directly involved Tom Crean!

  • MK

    I’m sure he didn’t work on his skills at all while he was at IU and only sat in the weight room……not

  • IU track Alumni

    Good one! You thought of that all by yourself? lol You really hurt my feelings. I’m going to hang myself now because you don’t care about my accomplishments… boowhoowhoo…

  • Hoosier gal in Iowa

    I’m 100% with you. I care about both the B1G and the NCAA tourney.

  • IU track Alumni

    I can see the Oleman’s point in the “hate” word and also can agree with him as i pointed already. However, he doesn’t realize or take into account that I actually retracted and correcting my comments in a later comment because I knew I was wrong and misunderstood. Thank you for recognizing the true intent and the kind words you offered.