The Inside the Hall Mailbag: August 3

  • 08/03/2016 2:01 pm 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.

CampHoosier in the premium forum writes: What kind of defenders are the incoming Freshmen and McSwain? Obviously we can only go on tape from high school and AAU but are there any takeaways you have for the guys?

The two players I expect to standout defensively in terms of the incoming players, just based on what I’ve seen and from conversations with their coaches, are Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis. Obviously, Davis still has to make his way to campus, but that’s expected to happen before classes begin on August 22.

With Davis, he’s not an elite athlete or overly explosive, but he understands positioning pretty well and blocked a ton of shots at the high school and AAU level. His high school coach, Danny Fisher, told me he’s the best big man to ever come out of Colorado and reiterated multiple times the importance of De’Ron’s defense as a reason Overland won back-to-back state championships.

In terms of Green, I haven’t seen him a ton in person, but his coach John Buck says his defense was his best asset during his senior season. And if Green wants to carve out a rotation role as a freshman, he’s going to have to bring it on that end as he competes with Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Curtis Jones for playing time. – Alex Bozich

GloryDazeIU in the premium forum writes: Do you see the Big Ten moving to 20 conference games like the ACC? If so, how do you think that affects IU’s non-conference schedule going forward?

Anything is possible, but I have no insight as to whether it’s something that is currently on the table or even being discussed at this point. Would I like to see it? Absolutely. The unbalanced schedule right now in the Big Ten is a bit of a joke. Trying to come up with an 18-game schedule with 14 teams is always going to lead to certain teams benefiting from an easier road. It’s obviously not realistic to have a full round-robin schedule with this many teams, but eight single plays is too many.

If it happens, I wouldn’t expect it to eliminate any of the “guarantee” or “buy” games that have become a staple of scheduling in college basketball. Athletic departments have home dates to fill and they will be filled. Losing two non-conference games would probably lessen the chances of Indiana (and other programs) playing in some of the non-conference marquee events that happen at neutral sites in the future. – Alex Bozich

twoturntables in the premium forum writes: How are are we looking after the July eval period? Has our position changed with any of the in-state recruits (Wilkes, Scruggs, Williams) and what new names have emerged that are high on IU?

IU is in a good position with several class of 2017 recruits, as we’ve outlined on our latest 2017 recruiting board. It’s still early for recruiting, but lists are beginning to get paired down and visits are also being scheduled.

In terms of position with the three names you mentioned, I’m not sure there have been any major developments to report. Wilkes has official visits coming up to UNC and UCLA and is expected to visit Indiana as well at some point. Scruggs recently took an unofficial visit to Bloomington and an official visit to Xavier is next. The Musketeers are considered the favorite by many to land Scruggs, but his Indiana visit also reportedly went very well. Ideally, Indiana would like to try to get him back on campus once again before any final decisions are made. With Williams, his latest visit was an unofficial trip to Louisville.

As far as other guys Indiana seems to be in good position with? I’d keep a close eye on these names: Tremont Waters, Jordan Tucker, Jermaine Samuels and Justin Smith. – Alex Bozich

MGDC in the premium forum writes: Since TC has been a head coach, both IU and before IU, how many of his assistants have moved on to be head coaches?

Here are the notable ones that I’m aware of: Darrin Horn, Bennie Seltzer, Tod Kowalczyk, Brian Wardle, Steve McClain and Buzz Williams. I wouldn’t really consider Williams a part of Crean’s coaching tree as he was an assistant for just one season under Crean at Marquette. Kyle Green also worked under Crean at Marquette and went on to become a head coach at Division II Lewis University and Division III Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Jon Harris, the coach at SIU Edwardsville, played for Crean at Marquette. – Alex Bozich

sknits nad in the premium forum writes: What are some changes/improvements you see that could help Hoosier Hysteria for both fans and recruits?

Overall, I think Hoosier Hysteria is a well-run, laid back event that fans and recruits enjoy every year. My only critique, and it’s a small one, is that the event sometimes tends to drag on a little longer than needed. Indiana always has a strong contingent of recruits in attendance and this year’s event should have a little extra buzz given all of the renovations to Assembly Hall. – Alex Bozich

cobussd in the premium forum writes: Since the number of scholarships available seems to be a big discussion point here and on the main site, to your knowledge have we lost a sought after recruit during Tom Crean’s coaching time because we haven’t had a scholarship available?

My stance on this, and it’s one that a lot of Indiana fans don’t and may never agree with is that the scholarship situation always works itself out. And until it doesn’t, it will remain my stance.

For some reason, there is a narrative advanced by some that this is an Indiana or a Tom Crean problem. It is not. The transfers and attrition are happening all over college basketball. Michigan had four guys transfer this offseason and there was no public outcry. But if it happened in Bloomington, you can be sure that the message boards would have been flooded with messages.

Now that this mini-rant is over: No, I am not aware of any recruit not coming to Indiana because there was no scholarship available. – Alex Bozich

@TroutyB on Twitter writes: If Tim Priller can grab a few rebounds and space the floor, could he crack the rotation? Maybe 5-10 minutes?

Highly doubtful. Tim Priller hasn’t shown us anything through his first two seasons that suggests he’ll be a part of the rotation. This season, Indiana’s frontcourt is going to be arguably more talented with Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby, Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, Collin Hartman and Freddie McSwain.

I don’t see Priller beating out any of those guys for minutes. And even if he did improve tremendously in the offseason, that still might not be enough to crack the rotation. – Alex Bozich

@BierUndTuba on Twitter writes: How have the workouts been this summer? Who’s dominating drills/workouts? Who’s been a surprise? Who has work to do?

If you’d like some insight into how the summer workouts have been going, I’d suggest doing a couple things. First, our podcast earlier in the offseason has some terrific insight.

Second, Indiana does a good job of posting updates on social media platforms, including Snapchat, that provide a small glimpse inside the program.

Beyond that, there’s not a ton to report because the workouts are not open and the coaches have not spoken to the media since the offseason workouts began in early June. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • TomJameson

    Man, this team has so much talent and depth. I Pray that we all stay healthy, and that CTC can make everybody happy with their minutes. There are so many really good lineups “available” because of the talent. We should be able to match up to almost anybody.

    Can’t wait for the season to start. lol

  • John D Murphy

    As always, thanks Alex. You do terrific work.

  • BL4IU

    DD better be something if he’s going to supplant Joe Barry Carroll as the best Colorado big ever.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree, the beauty of last season was CTC had 10 players who, by the B1G season, could flat out play (albeit JBJ went down shortly thereafter).

    The only position that I slightly worry about is point guard. That being said, I expect for both JN and DG to be better than people realize and I expect RJ will be fine in the role.

  • Ms hoosier

    I think Hoosier Nation is really gonna enjoy watching the combination of JN and RoJo!!

  • TomJameson

    I think that IU fans everywhere are going to be surprised by Josh Newkirk. He is a true Point Guard! I think he will be able to play fast, take care of the ball, and will be a great distributer. He’ll score some, but from everything I’ve “heard”, he’ll have to improve his shot, but I bet he’s been working on that as well.

    Like Ms hoosier said, JN is going to make RJ AND the rest of the players even better.

  • SilentBob

    Even if it doesn’t come along too much, everyone else (excluding Freddie) on the team can shoot for a respectable to high level. I’m part of the crowd that thinks Pitt was a terrible fit for Josh, and his top level speed will be much more fruitful here.

  • Meadows007

    For those that don’t have Instagram, the Indiana MBB account has posted a “Warrior of the Week” for the last 8 weeks. I thought I’d share who received that distinction.
    Week 1: Thomas
    Week 2: Blackmon
    Week 3: Juwan
    Week 4: Hartman & Green
    Week 5: Newkirk
    Week 6: Juwan
    Week 7: Rojo & Cujo
    Week 8: Blackmon & Newkirk

  • ForeverIU

    This is the kind of stuff I don’t like. It is just an invitation to injury. Crean’s notion of “toughness” is taken to unnecessary physical extremes sometimes.

  • ForeverIU

    How is JN going to “surprise” us? What you described is the “minimum” expected of a PG.

  • TomJameson

    Exactly, plenty of perimeter threats, don’t necessarily need JN to shoot 45% from three, although that would be awesome!

    I heard the same things about the Pitt-fit. 🙂 I’ve also been hearing a consistent message about JN from CTC and the other players about how good Josh really is. Not necessarily his shooting, but how well he plays the point, how fast he is, and how good of a passer he is. I think this is one of those times CTC recognized a “gem”, in how well JN could play in the IU system. Hope it materializes.

  • Arch Puddington

    I will be as interested in his defense as his offense, if not more so. Obviously we’d like him to be All-Conference at both ends, but even if he doesn’t score much, he could be a huge asset if he can control the point of attack at both ends. Penetrate effectively and set up others on offense, and make the other guy’s life hard on defense, and IU is in business. Anything else would be gravy.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    couple thoughts…

    if CTC doesn’t land a stellar ’17 class, regardless of in-state vs out-of-state recruits, it’ll be a major fail. i think it could be a career defining class

    regarding the scholarship situation, i’m torn with regard to how i feel about TP. given the fact he’s still around for year 3 (as opposed to seeking ‘more playing time’ elsewhere) it’s obvious to me the kid works hard, keeps his nose clean, hits the books, is a stellar teammate. i suspect CTC is particularly fond of this kid. on the other hand, what if it were possible to use that scholly on a player who actually had an impact on this team’s success? who could actually see time on the floor? if you want to make an argument that he would be valuable as a practice player, i guess you could. but don’t you reserve that role for walk-ons? so we’re likely gonna have how many open slots? 3? with all the irons we have in the fire, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to have a fourth? like AB said, and i happen to agree, those things have a way of working themselves out

  • Meadows007

    I’m pretty sure it’s all in the weight room, who is getting after it the hardest every day. Nothing wrong with that as long as they have good form.

  • inLinE6

    Is McFly on campus yet? Haven’t seen his pictures.

  • TomJameson

    I agree Arch, that’s why I’m not too worried about his offensive point totals. He could probably never fill Yogi’s shoes in that regard. I just want him to be a good, solid, point guard that thrives in CTCs system. I’ve also heard that he’s good defensively. Hope my expectations aren’t too high! LOL

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    seems like i read somewhere that he wrapped up all the required classes, should be on campus soon if not already

  • Arch Puddington

    People have not taken kindly to this thought, but I will nonetheless say it again: Tim Priller was signed out of desperation following the departure of Vonleh and Fischer. HMP was about all we had left, and CTC went on a cross-country tour looking for anyone tall enough to play up front. But that was late in the game, and all he could come up with was Tim Priller, Jeremiah April, and Emmit Holt. Holt was a good player, but Priller and April were always long shots, if not all-out Hail Mary’s.

    As you say, Priller must be a good guy and a reliable worker. But he would never have been here in the first place if the roster hadn’t been so depleted. It is at least possible that his scholarship will yet cost us a player we’d like to have. (How do you like this thought: imagine this team with Luke Fischer instead of Tim Priller. Would you take a senior PF who averaged 12 pts, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks? I’m still mad he left). Granted, SOMEONE has to sit on the bench, because no team plays a 13 man rotation. So in that sense maybe it’s no big deal. But as we run up against scholarships this year and next, it will be hard not to wonder.

  • Arch Puddington

    Newkirk twice, Blackmon twice, Morgan twice. Three guys coming off injuries, two of them with something to prove. I like.

  • Tcuomo

    Jaimie Dixon is a defense first kind of coach. I have a feeling we won’t be worrying about JN on D, assuming some things stuck with him during his brief time at Pitt.

  • MoBanners

    I have high hopes for in-state recruiting this year (alert the media). While Wilkes, Scruggs and Williams may be an unlikely hat trick recruiting signing, 2 out of 3 is not unreasonable… hopefully. I feel like CTC is a recruiting beast who will truly explode, IF he can put at least 3 or 4 back to back 25+ win seasons together. He hasn’t been able to do it yet. Kids (as fans) just want to win, especially if they are just going to spend a year in college.Here’s to hoping for a strong start… especially versus Kansas… to let recruits in state and out know that IU is truly BACK!

    On a different subject, this is my first post ever. Please let me know if I have stolen anyone’s user name or commited any other terrible posting error…

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    absolutely agree with everything you said 100%. the recruitment was a desperation move. you could argue he was blindsided by LF and NV leaving, and by HMP being possibly the most overrated hoosier of all time (i’d put him and andre patterson at 1A and 1B). if you ask me it was a predicament, at least in part, of CTC’s own making. all in all, i think his recruiting has improved significantly since then. and adding CM to the staff sure seems to be paying off.

    you make a great point as far as how deep a team needs to be. so maybe TP has value as a chemistry guy, who knows. but goes without saying CTC needs to grab as much talent from this upcoming class as possible.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    that sand can get awfully hot on the feets though!

  • bleeding crimson

    I agree as well…but like you said I think it was more that he got blindsided than anything. Pretty sure he didn’t think he was going to think LF was going to get homesick, nor foresee the HMP issues. Maybe NV could have been known as a possibility but who knows. Regardless, decisions had to be made or we could have been left out to dry. One good thing is that they do have a 7’ft’r to practice with. And yes, the LF still makes me scream.

  • bleeding crimson

    I pretty sure your safe except when it comes to Ole Man…..lol

  • IUBizmark

    Update: Williams committed to Louisville.

    Unfortunately, it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t get any of the three in state kids. At this point it looks like Wilkes is our best shot, which is good as we need a skilled SF.

  • TomJameson

    That sounds good. He was there for 2 years, so hopefully whatever he picked up will stick with him.

  • TomJameson

    Multiple up-arrows on this comment!

  • TomJameson

    I agree with some of what you said, but I never have, and never will, think that CTC recruited somebody out of “desperation”. That is too hard a word to describe what went down. I would say speculation instead. He doesn’t do it often, but CTC has let a scholarship lay vacant. I think CTC took a flyer, and it didn’t work out. That is all.

    Of course neither you nor I can know for sure, but I’m positive that TP will not stand in the way of a sought after recruit.