Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage recap and notes

  • 10/28/2016 10:10 pm in

For the second time in less than a week, Indiana held an intrasquad scrimmage at the newly renovated Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Friday night’s scrimmage was held during the ninth annual Haunted Hall of Hoops. The scrimmage contained two 10-minute periods, with teams switching some players after the first period in an effort to try out different lineups.

Coach Tom Crean, in a gray t-shirt, white basketball shorts, and bright red sneakers, led the squads through several game-like situations, working on everything from a full-court press to situational in-bound plays.

The first 10-minute scrimmage was won 31-28 by the Cream team, which was led by Juwan Morgan, Rob Johnson, Devonte Green and Curtis Jones. Cream held off a high-powered Crimson offense led in the backcourt by Josh Newkirk and James Blackmon, Jr.

Crimson took the second scrimmage 29-27 when Josh Newkirk found Grant Gelon for a layup in the final second. Collin Hartman, Freddie McSwain and De’Ron Davis (who Rob Judson said tweaked his ankle) all did not participate due to injuries.

Notes:

· Blackmon, Jr., looked a lot like the player he’s been since he came to Bloomington. The junior can drill shots from deep with ease, but still needs to take better care of the ball and tighten things up defensively.

· The freshman guards looked solid. Curtis Jones showed great touch at the rim and Devonte Green continued where he left off at Hoosier Hysteria knocking down 3s.

· With Hartman, McSwain, and Davis all sitting out the scrimmage with various injuries, nobody could guard Thomas Bryant.

· Offensive rebounding may be a strength of this team. OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan were relentless when it came to attacking the glass. The duo was effective together when they shared the frontcourt for the Cream team in the second scrimmage.

· Although the Hoosiers may not have a true point guard, they will have plenty of options in the backcourt. Newkirk, Johnson, Blackmon, Jones, Green and Morgan all spent time handling the ball during the scrimmage. Newkirk arguably looked the most comfortable of the group at the lead guard, showcasing his passing, driving and jump shooting abilities.

· Robert Johnson led the way offensively with a combined 22 points (unofficially). Johnson nailed a number of 3s and displayed good chemistry when he joined Newkirk in the backcourt.

· Anunoby had the defense on edge every time he drove to the basket, drawing fouls and hitting shots at the rim. Anunoby also displayed an improved passing ability, hitting teammates in stride several times (although a few passes were a bit too ambitious and went bouncing out of play).

· The Hoosiers will play their first exhibition game Tuesday night when they face Hope College. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

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  • inLinE6

    Sounds like this is the year for something big?

  • Arch Puddington

    I was in attendance, and left feeling really encouraged. Among my highlight takeaways:

    1. Robert Johnson looks like he is ready to dominate. Alex says he thought Newkirk looked most comfortable in the PG role, but I disagree. RJ not only hit everything he put up from deep, he was extremely effective off the dribble. He looks quicker, his handle is tighter, and his ability to attack the rim is noticeably improved. Plus, he just carries himself like he’s in charge. He stood out even during warmups — he simply did not miss a shot — and it carried over into the scrimmage. I suppose that as a true, pass-first PG Newkirk is a more natural fit, but RJ is absolutely capable of playing that role.

    2. Just as exciting was my first glimpse of the new guards. Newkirk is very quick and very strong, and will be a significant contributor. Jones and Green frankly stunned me. Even allowing for the circumstance, they were impressive. Both attack off the dribble with great confidence and authority, and both shoot well from the outside. Both had lapses defensively, but nonetheless appear to be strong on-the-ball defenders. They are young, but I’m telling you right now that they are both going to be really good. One or both may end up looking like yet another CTC steal.

    3. JBJ did what JBJ does: played with a quiet demeanor, didn’t do much that was spectacular, and scored about 50 points. (I exaggerate…). The stroke is as pure as ever, and he threw things in from all over the place. He’ll never be a 1st team all-B1G defender, but WOW can he score.

    Bottom line: this team has five guards who can play right now, including at least one (RJ) who looks ready to break out. Coming in to this season the accepted wisdom was that the strength of this team was its front court, but if our back court is as good as it hinted tonight, this is going to be a VERY good basketball team. Maybe not right away, but by the end of the year this team could be much better than last year”s team (assuming everyone stays healthy, of course). It will likely defend better, it may well shoot better (by my count there are 8 regulars who can reliably hit 3s), and it will almost certainly get to the line more. I know that’s a lot to read into a 20 minute scrimmage, but I’m putting it out there.

  • Brklynhoosier

    Thx for that, Arch.

  • RDD#76

    I think with your comments on the guard depth is why Waters went elsewhere playing time would be tough to get next year look for 2018 recruits thanks for the insights

  • marcusgresham

    Bryant, Davis, Anunoby, and McSwain have to the the four biggest guys IU has ever had at the same time. I know there have been taller teams (not too many,) but these guys could make a hellacious front four pass rushers! Think about it–there are FOUR GUYS bigger than Juwan Morgan, who is pretty well put-together himself.

  • marcusgresham

    I feel like I’ve been begging for this for about five or six years, but this HAS to be the season for a full-court press to emerge as a serious weapon. I know Blackmon has defensive limitations and honestly I think he very well may always have them, but the other four guards are absolute dobermans (and I can’t help but think of RJ as a “Pocket Watford” with that beard!) If you have OG/JM/FM as the second line of defense and either of the two rim protectors in the back you surely have to go with a press don’t you? If nothing else, you’re wearing out the opponent—kind of the old Loyola Marymount philosophy (not that you’re as ambivalent about giving up baskets as they were,) of “you might have run with us for a half, maybe even a bit into the second half, but we knew eventually you would get tired.”
    If Blackmon can do as good of a job of knowing when to give up the ball to someone else who has an easier shot (mainly in transition when he tries to get in the lane,) like I saw him do at Hoosier Hysteria I can almost live with the defense.

  • marcusgresham

    As good as I think Waters may be, I’m not torn up by losing a guy of his size. I know Yogi was great but given my choice I’d rather have someone taller.

  • Arch Puddington

    I almost made that same point, but my post was too long. I’m certain Waters had the chance to play with those guys, and saw for himself what he would have been up against. I lamented his loss as much as anyone on ITH, but tonight went a long way toward explaining it and making it less painful. These guys are really good, and will be around for years.

  • inLinE6

    Not nitpicking but McSwain is not taller than JM. He’s stronger with long arms so he may be playing taller than his size though.

  • dwdkc

    Thanks for the report, good stuff. Can’t wait for the season, although I really want to get healthy for Kansas. Heckuva test to start the year.

  • Good stuff. I’ve thought the same about RJ when I saw him in the first tv practice and then last weekend. He’s always been good, but overshadowed. He’s going to be great!

  • Courtney Graber

    I like the Doberman description. I agree.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks for the as always terrific analysis.
    Question — saw TB hit one shot on the highlight reel.
    Was he not involved, no passed to, or simply left out of the highlight reel?

  • Jtime

    My thoughts exactly. I’d rather have that roster spot for a big man anyway. Wilkes, Preston, etc. Hoping RJ gets the nod at pg.

  • Arch Puddington

    He was involved more than it appears, although in as much as he was being guarded by either Priller or McRoberts most of the time, he did not exactly dominate. He actually spent quite a bit of time away from the basket, both as a screener and as a ball handler. It could be that the coaches dleberately laid off the deep post stuff since there really wasnt a true center to defend him, or it may just be a reminder that as good as he is, he is not necessarily a high scorer who commands the ball on every possession.

    Or maybe I was just too enthrallled with the guards and missed something…..

  • SCHoosier

    Given that college b-ball is generally considered by experts to be a “guard’s game”..your report is most encouraging. Five good guards supported by a dominant big man..and excellent wings provide a big upside for the Hoosiers this season. Need to get Davis into the mix..the new posting up rules and fouls will put everybody’s 5 man at risk. Depth in our front line will be critical especially when we get to the conference.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks. Appreciate that excellent recap.
    Still early in practice.

  • Ole Man

    It’s cyclic. Average guards with an excellent front court can make as much noise. I.E. you can make an argument for Lamb and Teague on the ’12 pUKe champion team, but they were basically aided by playing with Unibrow, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Jones. None of those guards made a splash–I think two of them are playing overseas now.
    But you can turn around and go “Oh wow” at what Napier did in both ’11 and ’14 for UConn.
    Not arguing as you make the good, classic argument for this decade. Just saying that even you said it when you mentioned that wings and Forward/Centers are needed. And at times they can carry a college team.

  • Outoftheloop

    What “new” posting up rules this season? I missed any new rules for this season.

  • Outoftheloop

    The old Bulls of Michael and Scottie, Their athleticism and length were like Buckner and Wilkerson, only better!

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’m getting really excited

  • SCHoosier

    Mainly has to do with what kind of contact the centers (five position players)can initiate or react with when they set up positions. Rooting out the defender out..shouldering him ..using arm bars to establish position etc. Google the new rules..or they .might have been on utube. Gonna be hard to get use too in some cases. Less physical contact permitted.

  • marcusgresham

    Yeah, I’m not talking about height; I’m talking about sheer muscular mass.
    I think Morgan will be more likely to draw assignments of smaller players if he and McSwain are on the floor together even though he’s an inch taller.

  • Outoftheloop

    Thanks