2016-2017 Player Profile: Josh Newkirk

  • 10/24/2016 12:39 pm 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 Josh Newkirk.

Redshirt junior Josh Newkirk is the only true point guard on IU’s roster for the 2016-17 season.

Newkirk sat out last season due as a transfer from Pittsburgh. After making a full recovery from microfracture surgery, the 6-foot-1 guard has positioned himself to be an important piece of the IU guard rotation. IU recruited Newkirk during his high school years, but backed off after receiving a commitment from Stanford Robinson. On Saturday at Hoosier Hysteria, Tom Crean said the Hoosiers never should have stopped going after him.

As Crean presented Newkirk with his Big Ten Champions ring, he praised Newkirk’s work ethic and competitive energy in practice. The Raleigh (N.C.) native improved behind the scenes last season, pushing the intensity level as hard as he could against Yogi Ferrell in practice. Crean has said multiple times that Newkirk was a driving factor that forced IU’s guards to be better everyday.

Even though he sat out a year, Newkirk isn’t looking at the time missed as a disadvantage. He spent the time observing Ferrell and the Hoosiers for an entire season. He learned leadership and the IU tradition. He analyzed each player’s role and was able to understand how he can best fit into the IU rotation upon his return.

Newkirk’s decision to come to Indiana was based largely on Crean’s ability to develop players. During his two seasons at Pitt, he averaged 4.5 points and shot just 31.3 percent in 17.7 minutes per game. But he appears to have already made significant improvements at IU, particularly with his shooting.

The first time fans had the chance to see Newkirk on the floor as a Hoosier confirmed these claims. With the assistance of associate head coach Tim Buckley, Newkirk’s shot looked promising on Saturday as he finished second in the 3-point shootout at Hoosier Hysteria. In the scrimmage, he looked comfortable and confident on the floor, showing true signs of becoming an offensive threat in the backcourt for the Hoosiers.

Bottom Line: Newkirk has the most experience playing point guard out of anyone on IU’s roster. Newkirk will be an immediate part in the IU rotation, whether he’s a starter or comes off the bench. He excels in transition and has become accustomed to the Hoosiers style of play. This season he has the potential and talent for a major breakout season after struggling at Pitt, suffering a knee injury. After sitting out last season, he’s more than due.

Quotable: “Here is a lot more uptempo than Pittsburgh. So that’ll help me get into the open floor, create for the other guys and getting into the lane and getting a lot of transition points.” Newkirk last week at preseason availability.

Previously: Devonte Green, Grant Gelon, Curtis Jones, De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan, OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant

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  • TomJameson

    I like Josh, and hope he has a breakout season. He really is due!

  • inLinE6

    That’s why we lost Tremont Waters to GTown. We’ll have Rojo and JN back next year as probably the best pair of guards in the league, plus a top50 recruit in Cujo. And Green is playing like a top50 recruit. Good thing is there are lots of talents in 2018 too!

  • BL4IU

    and don’t forget Al Durham; he can play.

  • BL4IU

    Agree and it will be worth the wait.

  • sarge

    I thought this guy was the heart and soul of Pitt when they came to AH for the Big Ten/Acc challenge. I was saddened when I did some research and found out that we had recruited him and he decided to go elsewhere. I am glad that we got a second chance. Make us proud JN, you have a ton of potential to do great things with your teammates this year!

  • Spooky

    IM glad you know that RJ will be back; I sure wish I could agree. From what I’ve seen so far on the court between RJ & JBJ; I’d be scouting RJ while keeping an eye on JBJ. RJ has the COMPLETE game that JBJ has not even come close to showing on both ends of the court IMO. I HOPE they BOTH will be back, but for the LIFE OF ME, I just don’t understand why people are discounting RJ more than they are James Blackmon jr. What has Blackmon shown that RJ hasn’t??? He’s more of a “pure” scorer than RJ??? I don’t even agree with that though, considering JBJ was the MASS SHOOTER for pretty much every single game he’s out there. Don’t get me wrong, JBJ will most definitely prove his worth to NBA scouts this season. And I’m sure JBJ’s defensive game CAN ONLY GET BETTER. BUT HOW do most people look at JBJ as a lock to get drafted after this season, but not RJ??? Am I missing something? Because I look at RJ, and I have to ask myself this: who would I pick. I’d pick the BALL PLAYER. I’d pick BOTH ends of the floor. And I am NOT AT ALL saying RJ is better on either end. But from the sample size that we’ve seen, is there really any debate??? I guess we will see who has grown more this season… but so far, with the sample size I’ve seen, there’s absolutely no comparison when you take ALL of their games into account. Just my opinion.

  • Spooky

    Sidenote: I meant to respond to inline, BL. Either way, I can’t WAIT TO WATCH THIS THIS YEAR!!!… NO WAY should we be ranked outside the top 10! This team is going to be SO FUN TO WATCH!!! I CANNOT WAIT!!!

  • Fifer39

    I don’t know the exact circumstances behind us originally walking away from JN. While it wouldn’t surprise me that our coaching staff maintained a good relationship with him, it says a lot about the kid, and his desire to play for IU, that he would swallow his pride and come back after originally being passed over. For that alone, I hope Josh has a fantastic 2 years in candystripes.

  • SCHoosier

    Lets get Juwan on the floor and Mcfly healthy…and sky is the limit. Newkirk will add a lot to both O and D.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I posted this late question several articles before, is it a concern that Romeo Langford was not at Hysteria or is it too early?

  • Missing Moye

    I think that Johnson is the better player right now, but JBJ has more star potential at the next level.

    I think JBJ will be gone after this season regardless, similar in the way Troy left after this past season. JBJ has had one eye on the pros since he arrived on campus, and whether that’s the NBA, D-League, or Europe, he’ll be heading there soon enough.

  • TomJameson

    I have a lot of respect for RJ. Him and JBJ were closely linked in that recruiting class and considered two of the best shooters in that class.

    You mentioned JBJ being a “mass shooter”, and that’s where I will disagree with you. JBJ shot a very good percentage prior to his injury, 46% or so. If he wanted to shoot 100 times he would make 46 3s … At that percentage, he can shoot all he wants. LOL

  • Hoosierkamp

    I love RJ. maybe my favorite player. He does a lot well and his D got so much better. But he doesnt have the size/strength for the NBA…. and it is not offset but a quick trigger/ lights out scoring abaility. I love RJ. I think he will be the better IU player…. but hes not an NBA guy

  • Hoosierkamp

    i agree. Thats one of my few concerns on this team, how JBJ plays within the “team concept”. It is easy he has a foot out the door. Hope he is great and plays within the system and goes pro because of the success

  • Spooky

    I guess we shall see. I wish them both nothing but the best!

  • millzy32

    Newkirk is the key to what could be a very good season. If he is better than advertised the whole team will be better. I want to see him predominantly be a facilitator. If he can facilitate the offense his points will come from time to time but the team will shine.

  • Spooky

    Buddy, I’m not going to argue with you or any other fellow Hoosier. We all want the same thing here. We all want that ever elusive 6th banner hung!

    But I have to ask: when did I EVER imply that JBJ is a bad shooter?… moreover, when did I imply that I didn’t want to see JBJ take every single GOOD shot that comes his way??? Oh yea, that’s right, I never did! Silly me!

    So instead of taking YOUR word for it, let’s look to see if JBJ is, or is not a “mass shooting” basketball player.. ooohhh look!..I did the quotations thingy. Tee hee ;).

    JBJ’s freshman year (’14-15): JBJ averaged 30 min a game to Yogi’s 34.9 min a game. But regardless of minutes played, and playing off the ball, JBJ shot a TEAM HIGH 199 shots from distance… Good for FIFTH on the team with 38.7% and only 77 made shots from distance.

    JBJ’s Sophomore season: Played only 319 total minutes before season-ending surgery. In that very short time, he did in fact hit your INFLATED number of 46%… you ask how it’s INFLATED??… FIRST of all, You claim that he shoots 46%. Which is OBVIOUSLY false when you factor in his freshman year where he shot 38%, as I said before, good for fifth on the team. And on top of you NOT getting an accurate percentage made to date, you used his limited minutes played against some of the WORST TEAMS IN THE NATION to fit your agenda lol. Before his season ending injury, the toughest team he played was Notre Dame (unranked).

    You see, if you’re going to bring up your so-called “stats” (air-quotes, I win!), you HAVE to be transparent. You can’t possibly think everyone is going to take your word for whatever comes out of your mouth. Right?

    So, if he is not a mass shooter, what would you call it???because when I say Mass shooter, I’m saying he obviously shoots more than everyone on his team regardless if he’s a FRESHMAN that is shooting THE MOST on the team, while averaging FIFTH in made 3’s. All this while playing off the ball, and playing almost five minutes per game LESS than Yogi played.

    ANNNNYHOW, I am NOT saying that JBJ’S 42% TRUE average on 3’s changes my opinion, because it DOES NOT. I will ALWAYS feel comfortable with him shooting behind the arc, because THAT’S HIS BIGGEST GAME, GUY!… Everyone knows this by now unless they are blind, or do not ever watch Indiana play basketball. HOO HOO HOO HOOSIERS!

  • Spooky

    RJ is an INCH shorter… but yet, he’s weighing in at 10 pounds heavier. And considering that NEITHER of them have much more than 5% body fat, I think that says right there who is stronger… but what do I know.