Around the Hall: Bryant’s return, life without Ferrell, more

  • 05/13/2016 3:09 pm in

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

· Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com writes about the future of Indiana basketball and the importance of Thomas Bryant returning for his sophomore season:

Yet, despite all that, Bryant’s return was the biggest deal of IU’s offseason. In one fell swoop, a stretchy, slightly undersized frontcourt became one of the nation’s best, and a promising roster became one capable of recovering from the loss of Ferrell (and likely Williams).

It’s hard not to trace the origin of Bryant’s decision, and thus IU’s entire 2016-17 outlook, back to that moment when North Carolina’s offensive explosion, and the finality of the loss, was too much for Bryant to shoulder alone.

· Rick Bozich of WDRB.com has the latest on Troy Williams from the NBA draft combine in Chicago:

Williams repeated the “50-50” line even after I suggested the odds were closer to 100 percent that he will not be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft next month.

“It’s not going to kill my pride or anything like that if I have to go to the D-League,” Williams said. “That will make me work even harder.”

If you interpret those two sentences as Williams actually leaning at least 50.1 percent toward leaving IU, then you’re standing with me because I’m convinced Williams wants to begin his against-the-odds push to the NBA sooner, not later.

· One of the biggest offseason question marks in the Big Ten: What will Indiana look like following the departure of Yogi Ferrell? Scott Phillips of NBCSports.com tries to tackle the question:

The last four seasons, senior point guard Yogi Ferrell was a key part of what Indiana did on offense. He was the engine that made them go. Now that he’s gone the Hoosiers will be a unique team, as Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson are the beat guys guaranteed back. If Troy Williams returns from the NBA Draft and James Blackmon Jr. (who’s also going through the Draft process) is healthy, Indiana will again find themselves in Big Ten contention.

· Indiana could have two of college basketball’s breakout stars next season, according to Rob Dauster of NBCSports.com:

Bryant is the obvious pick here. He’s a star freshman and potential lottery pick that played well down the stretch and is returning to school. Anunoby, however, is the guy that could end up being the best all-around player on the Hoosiers next season. He averaged just 5.8 points this past season, but there are reasons for that: he got limited minutes before James Blackmon’s injury and his role is similar to that of Troy Williams. He is a versatile, athletic forward that can guard multiple positions and isn’t as much of a liability offensively as he’s been made out to be. If he can build of the strong finish he had to the 2015-16 season, Anunoby could follow a similar career-arc to that of Victor Oladipo: Unheralded recruit-turned-first round pick.

· The D-League Digest reports on the journey of former IU guard Verdell Jones, who played last season for the Santa Cruz Warriors:

As they squared off with Penn State, Jones was riding a hot streak that was punctuated with a 15-point win over #5 Michigan State just a few weeks prior.

The clock rolled on and Indiana had control of the game, when Jones entered the game as a substitute. Six minutes into his time on the court, his career would substantially change.

With the Hoosiers on offense, Jones jump stopped like he had done so many times in his career to that point, but this time his right knee gave out from under him and he collapsed to the ground.

His worst fears were realized the following day when doctors determined that he had torn his ACL and would be forced to take a year off from basketball. If the four years at Indiana hadn’t tested him, the surgery and rehab from the injury certainly did.

“There were moments when I thought about walking away from basketball. I tore my ACL during a game that I had been working towards my entire career, so it was definitely one of the hardest experiences of my life. It just felt unfair and it was really discouraging and made me think about if I wanted to do it anymore.”

· The one player who isn’t at the draft combine who deserved to be there? Yogi Ferrell, according to Andy Katz:

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  • Fivelefts

    He drove me crazy many times during his 4 years at IU, but by his senior year, I was quite pleased with Verdell. I really felt bad for him, when is injury occurred. All I could think about, was how he had been there, and suffered the losses. Through it all he did improve and he helped to pass on the attitude of hard work and perseverance to Oladipo and Sheehey and so forth. I’m glad that his game is getting to an NBA level. Good Luck Verdell!

  • Fifer39

    Good to hear Yogi getting some love from NBA folk. Really think he’s going to surprise some folk by the progress of his professional career over the next 2 or 3 years.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    VJ3 drove me crazy too. Although mostly because of the makeup of the team during his early years, I can remember him dribbling at the top of the arc…and dribbling…and dribbling until there was about 6 seconds left on the shot clock then trying to force a play. Or when he’d repeatedly nail very long mid-range jumpers instead of taking half a step back for the three. On a positive note, he had one of the most memorable assists ever and I’m happy he has stuck with it all these years.

  • SCHoosier

    After watching some of the Combine scrimmages, I’m not sure Yogi missed much. He’ll be able to shine in individual workouts with teams. If they want to see him in game action..they’ve got his entire senior season on tape against some damn good competition. Go yogi!

  • Koko

    Anybody who watched the combine on espn notice everytime Katz interviewed a player and asked what his decision would be they all said it was 50-50 at this point?
    Including TW.

  • cbags05

    So they give them the option to go get advice so that they make an informed decision. Troy does so wothout an agent. He is getting the impression that he will be a D-leaguer….and still leaning towards the draft. Mmmmmk. I would think he is at least slightly intrigued about coming back.

  • I really do not think he’ll be back.. He is already making up reasons why the D-League isn’t so bad, i.e., his pride won’t be hurt and ‘it’ll give him reasons to work even harder’.. So yes, it may be intriguing to us, .. in thinking about it for him… But he sounds a lot like he is tired of college, probably not interested in seeing the inside of a class room for a while.. and tired of all the hard work and not getting any remuneration other than fan approval or disapproval.. of which he has had his share the past year or two…
    Thing is, we all gush over his athleticism, when at the combine his numbers, athletically are not that impressive. Of the candidates that were listed by the ITH staff his standing vertical, running vertical and speed down court were like 8th out of the ten listed of players about his size and likely wing candidates in the draft. He did not really ‘wow’ them like we all thought he would. In fact he was well below average. Not good, if he’s looking to raise his draft stock.

  • ForeverIU

    Ken, I know you’re speaking for yourself when you use the “we”. Well, at least I know I never described Troy’s talent as “athleticism”. I’m not saying you’re saying it, but I think most people who touted his “athleticism” meant that as a way to explain the strength of his game while at the same time implying that he was not a very “smart” player. The usual stereotype of the “athletic” player with not so high of an “IQ”. Well I’m glad that the Combine results will have these people revisit their assessment of Troy and realize that he in fact is a highly intelligent player who used his fantastic court awareness to make the amazing plays that he did. So hopefully now those of us who didn’t realize how much intelligence goes into rebounding and other such aspects of the game, now do.

  • Actually yes, I thought he would test out better than he did.. But I didn’t think he would be the absolute ‘best’ at hops or quickness at the combine either. I also was of the thought that there are a ‘ton’ of very athletic guys that can do the stuff that Troy showed flashes of.. and that as far as I know, do not carry the ‘bad handles’ reputation.. It just seemed there were a lot of guys on here that thought that Troy would be ‘snapped up’ on the strength of his athleticism alone.. and.. I was not one of those. I really figured he would not be a hot commodity and therefore he needed to return to school and try to further develop his game.. I don’t think that is likely at all, to happen though. Based upon what we’re reading now, relative to his conversation on his future.. he’s very likely gone regardless of where he ends up.. D-League, Overseas or whatever..

  • TB will be on a mission next season. Reading Brennan’s piece on ESPN really solidified for me how much the UNC game affected TB, and how serious he is about getting to the next step. I really see TB coming back not to improve his NBA stock, but to accomplish something meaningful at IU. I’m predicting he’ll be next year’s on- and off-court leader.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I agree with you that kid reminds me of Dekembe Muntumbo or a Kevin Willis big scary guys that always seem nice but super intense. If he turns out like that I’m good with that!

    The guy is a leader CZ wasn’t that kind of leader but TB truly is. CZ was better in other ways but man ol man we will have an awesome team next year. I hope TW comes back. He probably won’t but one can hope! Top 5 if TW comes back!

  • oldiugymnast

    I live near Santa Cruz and go to many of the games. He plays well on both ends and looks great. Much bigger and stronger. Plus, everytime he sees my son in his IU sweatshirt he points at him and pounds his chest – even comes over to us after games and says “how you doing little Hoosier.” He seems like a good young man.