That’s A Wrap: OG Anunoby

  • 03/28/2016 10:25 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2015-2016 Indiana Hoosiers. First up: OG Anunoby.

Anunoby (34 games): 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 62.5% eFG, 47.6% FT, 44.8 3PFG% in 13.7 minutes per game.

It didn’t take long for OG Anunoby to make his impact felt in a Big Ten game.

After Indiana lost James Blackmon Jr. to a knee injury on the Monday before the conference opener at Rutgers, Anunoby was thrust into a more prominent role in the rotation and began to deliver.

In IU’s first three league games, Anunoby scored a total of 30 points, which was more than he scored in all 12 non-conference games he appeared in.

An under the radar find by the Indiana coaching staff, the 6-foot-8 Anunoby helped change the trajectory of the season because of his ability to defend. Once he started to earn minutes, he frequently guarded the opposition’s best scorer, regardless of position.

In a home win over Wisconsin early in the Big Ten season, Anunoby spent time on the league’s preseason player of the year, Nigel Hayes. And in early February, it was his defense on Michigan’s Zak Irvin that was a catalyst in IU’s 28-0 run that led to a rout of the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

Following those performances, it was no surprise that Anunoby got the call to spend time on Kentucky’s Jamal Murray in the NCAA tournament second round. It was a team effort for the Hoosiers to limit Murray to just 1-of-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line, but Anunoby blocked two of those attempts at critical points in the game.

His overall play in the Kentucky game earned him recognition from those who cover the NBA draft closely, but at this stage in his development, Anunoby is still very much a work in progress. That was evident in the North Carolina game, when Anunoby scored just two points and committed four fouls in 17 minutes.

From a numbers perspective, there’s plenty for Anunoby to build on as he has a full offseason to prepare for what should be a more prominent role on the roster. He was an excellent 3-point shooter as a freshman as he connected on 44.8 percent of his 29 shots from distance. It’ll be interesting to see if Anunoby can contain that level of efficiency as a higher usage player down the road. He also finished close to 61 percent of his 2s in his first season and had the team’s highest block (5.6) and steal (3.4) percentages.

Improving his free throw shooting should be a main point of emphasis in the offseason as he connected on just 47.6 percent of his attempts from the line as a freshman. Anunoby’s turnover percentage (19.7) was also too high, but that was a roster wide problem for this Hoosier team.

For a player who arrived in Bloomington with a 247Sports Composite ranking of No. 280 nationally, Anunoby exceeded expectations in his first season and is arguably the most intriguing player on the roster to watch moving forward.

Bottom Line: How important was Anunoby defensively for Indiana? The Hoosiers would not have won the Big Ten outright by two games without his presence. His length and ability to get in the passing lanes was a game changer and it’s no coincidence that as his role grew, Indiana’s defensive efficiency improved steadily. He may never be the featured offensive player in Bloomington, but he can certainly take on a bigger role as a sophomore. As unselfish as he is, Anunoby should become more assertive in looking to generate offense as he continues to mature. As that happens, it’ll be important for him to improve his free throw shooting. It’s easy to see why the NBA will be intrigued by Anunoby when that time comes, but his best days in an Indiana uniform are still to come.

Quotable: “OG is a guy that it’s not about positions and it’s very little about positions with any of our guys, because if they want to play in the future, it’s very little about positions in the NBA. It’s very much about being multi-dimensional, versatile, skilled, being able to shoot, being able to defend different people. And OG is fitting that bill. But what happened for him in December is he really learned how to sustain intensity. His work ethic has been strong since the week he arrived at Indiana. And it just continued to get stronger.” – Tom Crean on Anunoby

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  • BL

    Yeah, cake and eat it too 🙂

  • BL

    Very possible.

  • TomJameson

    This is all assuming TW and TB both stay, no early outs to the NBA because they want a real shot at the title.
    Current roster that I think will play significant minutes:
    JBJ, OG, RJ, TW, JN, JW, CH, TB
    Recruits coming in that will also play (at least), fairly significant minutes. — CJ, DD

    Others who will play some, no idea how much.
    HN, GG, DG
    I think there will be a solid rotation of 8 or 9 players, and different lineups (large or small) depending on matchups. The biggest point is that, if CTC can get all these players to settle for their roles and not be self-centered about minutes, this will be one of the best and deepest talented teams that we’ve had for a very long time.

  • TomJameson

    I think we’ll see Newkirk as our starting point, and I also believe that we will all be surprised at how good he really is. Remember, he’s been practicing with Yogi and the team for a year.

  • TomJameson

    I’ve read several people who think that OG should start, and there are good arguments to that thinking. First of all, it really depends on so many things that we just don’t know, who returns, who develops/improves the most, how practices go, things we just don’t know.

    One thing I DO know, is that being the 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd guy off the bench is not going to be a significant drop in minutes from the starting five. If you look at all the talent we have now and assume improvement in all of them, then add in the incoming freshmen, IU has almost 2 starting teams. Practices will be pretty intense I’m thinking.

    Point is, if OG is the 6th man …. no problem, he will still shine like he did this year.

  • Ole Man

    After the first 3 minutes of the UNC game, OG would have been off the bench and guarding Paige. Might have changed the entire outcome.

  • BL

    Possible. They did put OG on Paige; do you recall when? Pretty sure it was after Paige had already knocked down four threes.

    Even better, RJ on Paige; OG on Johnson; CH and JM healthy.

  • Chappy Dan

    OG and TB need to develop a rapport that consists of TB getting in OG’s face, and OG calmly responds with suave plays.

  • cbags05

    I can cross that off the list. Had some last night.

  • IUMIKE1

    All you did was say what a lot of others have thought, but wouldn’t post fearing a backlash of comments telling them how wrong they are and how they must not even watch the games, etc etc. IMHO you are correct about Troy. I will be VERY surprised if he returns, regardless of what kind of feedback he gets. I just think he is ready to move on, and whether or not he will admit it to hardly anyone or not, he feels like his game will translate to the game at the next level better than it did at this level.

  • IUMIKE1

    Another difference between the two, and one that gets overlooked in my opinion, is that OG probably looked to make the pass into the post as much as anybody, especially more than TW, and we all should know how well we played when the offense went through the post.

  • IUMIKE1

    And we all seen what probably was the biggest trigger to when and why we turned the corner to becoming a much better team, it was playing defense and who was a significant, and maybe biggest reason for that ? OG I’m with you on this one.

  • BL

    Yes, absolutely.

  • BL

    I’m guessing Troy knows his decision is a difficult one or he would have already announced he’s going like Jackson at ND. He probably knows his draft prospects are not the best or at least very unpredictable. He also knows if TB returns, this could be a very special team next year. He may want to be a part of that knowing the NBA gamble will be there next year as well.

    I think we all have this mental picture of what Troy could be. He’s not there yet but I’ll never count a kid out. Hell, if he returned and did make a big jump, it would be special. However, for me anyway, if he returns, I don’t want to see the team negatively impacted by placing too much emphasis on TW’s individual development. He’s had his chance. I want to see TB, OG and JM get their shot to develop (not to mention RJ, JBJ and the incoming freshman) which only truly happens with increased touches, and emphasis on the offensive end. If Coach can effectively blend the skill-sets of a really talented primary rotation (JN/RJ/JBJ/TW/OG/CH/JM/TB/DD) into a selfless team, barring injury, this could turn into a legitimate run towards banner #6.

  • Xavier Harkness

    He is gone after next year.