That’s A Wrap: Josh Newkirk

  • 04/13/2017 8:28 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2016-2017 Indiana Hoosiers. Up next: Josh Newkirk. (Previously: Devonte Green, De’Ron Davis, Grant GelonCurtis Jones, Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby, Freddie McSwain)

Newkirk (34 games): 9.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 50.6% eFG, 69.8% FT, 38.0% 3PFG% in 28.1 minutes per game.

As the only true point guard on the IU roster, Josh Newkirk started the season with big shoes to fill. After losing Yogi Ferrell, the Hoosiers had a huge void to fill in the backcourt. At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, there was talk of a breakout season for Newkirk, who was coming off microfracture surgery.

Newkirk started off trying to understand and get a feel for his role. He struggled at times deciding whether to pass to the main threats with James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson, or take the shot for himself. But with injuries to Blackmon Jr. and OG Anunoby and a shooting slump for Johnson, the door opened for Newkirk to step up and carry more of an offensive load for the Hoosiers.

As a result, Newkirk found confidence in his shot and became more comfortable shooting from the outside or driving into the lane. Although Newkirk didn’t match Ferrell’s contributions in points scored, Newkirk led the team in assists, dishing out 108 this season.

In conference play, the Raleigh (N.C.) native averaged 10.3 points per game, shooting 38 percent from behind the arc. He scored in double-digits 12 times this season and managed two 20-point performances in back-to-back games. He had a career-high 27 points against Penn State where he kept the Hoosiers alive hitting a layup at the buzzer to send the game into double overtime. Indiana went on to win 110-102 in triple overtime. The next game, Newkirk added 22 points at Wisconsin on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the 3-point line.

As the season went on, Newkirk’s consistency also improved. Once he started driving into the lane and shooting more, his turnovers decreased and his offensive efficiency leveled out. Newkirk scored 11 points in three straight games against Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. In IU’s second road win of the season, Newkirk contributed 18 points and five assists to beat Ohio State. In his last 12 games of the season, Newkirk shot 44.6 percent (21-of-47) from behind the 3-point line.

Bottom Line: In his final year of eligibility, Newkirk will need to commit fewer turnovers – he had 76 this season – and make significant improvements on defense. Under new coach Archie Miller, Newkirk will have to fully grow into his role as a senior leader and continue to work on his decision making and shooting.

Quotable: “He’s got to take that next step with his feet. We keep showing him film of how much more explosive he can be. The bottom line is that he needs to make better decisions with the ball, he’s making some turnovers right now that can’t be made but he’s shooting the ball better. Newkirk needs to take command of the team.” – Tom Crean on Newkirk on his radio show on Dec. 5.

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  • IULore

    I like Newkirk a lot. 1 more year of eligibility? Do you lose a year when you transfer?

  • pcantidote

    A lot of people here were needlessly hard on this kid early in the season. Of course, a lot of people seem to strangely take pleasure in being hard on young athletes. Josh really grew as the season went on and may have ended up being the most valuable player during the conference portion of the season.

    Love the classic Wisconsin arm bar in the picture BTW. Of course, no foul was called.

  • dennis powell

    I am one of the people who was hard on him and I still don’t believe he should have had the playing time he got. Devonte Green should have played his minutes. Green is our future Newark is a fill in. Green is potentially a Yogi type player.

  • IULore

    Newkirk is our future next season and depending on who comes back, maybe the only player capable of dropping 30 on someone.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i was definitely tough on him early in the season, and pleasantly surprised at how much he improved. he plays hard, and he’s tough. when he slid off the floor headfirst at minny, he didn’t lay on the theatrics like so many bball players do. he took a second to gather himself and got right back up. no whining, no limping around. it was beautiful. glad he’s on the team.

  • TomEke

    He played two seasons (Totaled 70 games from 2013 – 2015) at Pitt. The injury/surgery coincided with the year he sat out for transferring during the 2015-16 season, so he didn’t require a medical red-shirt.

  • IULore

    Ah, thought for sure he only play one year at Pitt.

  • TomEke

    Newkirk’s season high 27 points came in triple OT vs PSU with 46 minutes of playing time.

    CUJO dropped 15 points in 16 minutes against Kansas. D’RD scored 15 points in 14 minutes against Iowa. If either gets hot with additional playing time, I would say both are as capable as Newkirk, maybe more, of dropping 30.

    I’m still holding out hope that JBJ, who has dropped 30, will be back after testing the NBA draft.

    Newark is a city in NJ. . .

  • TomEke

    I remember him listed as a junior this year at IU, so I figured he had played two years. Looking up the stats, I was surprised to see he had played so many games and so many minutes (17 mins/game as freshman and 20 mins/game as sophomore). With him having returned from the surgery, I thought he had been hurt during a season at Pitt and decided to transfer after it happened.

  • HoosierBballNut

    I think Green can be really good player not only at IU but at the next level, but I do not see a comparison to Yogi.. Their ball handling and style of play is very different.. I think they are different players..

  • Kyl470

    I was very critical of him early and I feel that criticism was justified. I didn’t expect him to be Yogi, but I expected him to be a better defender and not be a turnover machine. However, as the season moved on and players started going down with injuries Newkirk was one of the guys who stepped up his game and improved as the season went along. I hope next year we get the Newkirk from the second half of the season all year.

  • pcantidote

    I just think people needed to be more patient. He hadn’t played for more than a year and a half.

  • pcantidote

    Green has a long way to go to prove he is a true PG. I’m not even sure he wants to be a PG. He is certainly a talented player that deserves to be on the floor, but I’m not sure it is a simple as just plugging him in for Newkirk.

  • IUBizmark

    I hope we see a team next year that has someone with more than 108 assists. Jeez that’s low for your starting PG. That being said, 2nd half Newkirk showed a lot of hope and we definitely need a guy who can slash like he can in Miller’s system. Should open up a lot of possibilities for the rest of the team.

  • TomJameson

    Newkirk had a pretty good freshman year at Pit, but everything declined his sophomore year. I think he wasn’t happy with the style of play or the coach, he felt too constrained.

  • TomJameson

    I agree with this. I really like Devonte, but I don’t think he’s a true point guard …. yet. He may be the best passer on the team (but I think CuJo could surprise some this season), but DG is much better as a 2 guard.

    Nobody currently on the team can rightfully be compared to Yogi, not without stipulating a specific part of Yogi’s game. Overall, nobody compares yet.

  • TomJameson

    Josh probably did get most of those assists later in the season. He just kept getting better, and a lot more consistent. I see him as getting 150 assists this year. I also see DG getting a lot too.

    I just think that Archie’s system will facilitate assists for everybody.

  • dennis powell

    If that is so then I hope he does a better job then last year. Of course new coach will decide that.

  • Brad

    I don’t understand why Tom Crean is still being quoted in these articles. Whatever he said about Newkirk or others is irrelevant. Archie will have to look at the film and see how Newkirk fits in the system. What may or may not have worked under Crean will be different under Archie in many instances.

  • dennis powell

    If you can recall Green probably made 3 of the best passes made all season long. He is strong and a much better threat offensively then Newkirk. If Green would have had Newkirks minutes would we have been any better then we were in terms of wins and losses? I don’t know that answer. I do know that we would be better prepared for next year then we are now. My biggest problem with Crean was how he utilized players. Guys would make the same mistakes game in and game out. The absolute failure to turn Bryant into a better player his sophomore year was unbelievable to me. Letting him shoot more 3’s was not an improvement for him or us. We need someone to defend the rim and give us a presence inside offensively. He didn’t get better physically he still got pushed around inside. Davis fit that roll much better. Bryant runs the floor well but how many times a game is that opportunity there. We all can see what Bryant is capable of but we aren’t getting it from him.

  • dennis powell

    They may be different now but at his size will Green really be an off guard in the NBA? His future lies at the point.

  • VAHoosier

    Crean basically said Newkirk has done some things well but needs to take better care of the ball and show better leadership.

    But you’re probably right: Archie will have a totally different take. I can’t imagine he will want Newkirk to improve in those areas.

  • VAHoosier

    I’m curious to see just what Archie’s system looks like. In the abstract, it sounds a lot like Crean’s offensive system.

  • AndyCapp

    Hopefully Coach will let the refs know when Whisky tries to get away with their guerrilla tactics

  • TomJameson

    I understand it will not be quite as fast. Still quick and emphasis on fast-break scoring, but a bit slower paced. That will help cut down on turnovers (I’m hoping :-).

    A motion offense and a dribble-drive are both motion type offenses, but I think the motion involves a lot more screening. Think of RMK, his was a motion offense.

  • My take is that Archie likes to score in transition whenever possible, but then has a more active half court offense that’s motion-based and not set-based (TC had, what, 400+ different sets?). Lots of movement without the ball, more passing and less dribbling, lots of screening, more inside-out (and likely not just lip servicing being paid to the idea of inside-out). And it doesn’t utilize a weave.

  • IU Andy

    Crean mostly is being quoted in these articles because there have always been quotes in these year end wraps and the only quotes available are from Crean. Got it?

  • HoosierBballNut

    I do not disagree with much of what you say at all. I just think they are different type of PGs 🙂 Greene also has a long way to go with getting his explosiveness to Yogi’s level.

  • dennis powell

    You are remembering senior yogi. Go back and look at freshman yogi.

  • dennis powell

    It should have been

  • Brad

    Missing my point. Crean is no longer coaching here. Why his opinions are still being mentioned are irrelevant. Maybe Newkirk had problems taking care of the ball in his system and much of that may be corrected in Archie’s system. Bottom line is what Crean thinks or thought about what each player needed to do means nothing now, they will all be evaluated based on a new coaching staff with a new system.

  • VAHoosier

    I find your objection to be petty. It might have been anyone, whether inside the program or not, talking about Newkirk’s development. It simply presents another person’s–in this case Crean’s–perspective about that player. Given that he was Newkirk’s coach, his perspective is not at all irrelevant. Archie is not the only person able to make relevant observations about Newkirk’s skills/development.

  • Outoftheloop

    So was Berry at NC a “true” PG? No. So what? Koenig at WI? No. But each was a good starting guard!

  • Outoftheloop

    And Sophomore and Junior Yogi!

  • Outoftheloop

    I disagree, respectfully, if you are comparing Freshman years.

  • Outoftheloop

    I disagree. Robert, then James, then Devonte, then Josh, in that order.

  • Outoftheloop

    Yes, if you have not graduated.

  • HoosierBballNut

    If you are right, I would be the happiest person and will happily eat crow 🙂 Yogi is one of my favorite Hoosier !!! 😀

  • Brad

    I think you are taking my opinion as a slight against Crean and it’s not. I simply don’t think what anyone from the previous staff has said about our current players is worth mentioning going forward. We’ve turned the page, everyone gets a clean slate. Let Archie study the film and observe in practices what needs to be done with our players, his is the only opinion that counts now.

  • TomJameson

    Don’t get your panties in a twist loop …. I wasn’t dissing DG, I’ve always liked DG ad he’ll be a very important guard for Archie’s team.

  • Fifer39

    I don’t agree with the first part. I always spoke up for JN and thought he needed a chance. I think he showed his potential towards the end of the year. Having said that, with no other PG on the horizon and JN a senior next year, I also would like to see a transition to DG at the 1 spot next year. For me, he has the talent to excel in that role although clearly he also needs to take better care of the ball. The last 2 years have shown the difference between having a solid no 1 all year…and not.

  • Veritas238

    As long as it doesnt involve 4 or 5 dribble hand offs and getting into the offense with 11 seconds left on the shot clock then I will be pleased.

  • Veritas238

    Our pick and roll game under Crean was def. a weak point. I would love to see it executed properly.

  • dennis powell

    I won’t disagree that JN’s second half was better then the first but if we’re going to be a .500 team then I would rather develope guys then just waddle along with JN. I have nothing against the kid. I’m 63 and I can’t wait another 30 years for a championship. Hell I would just take a year where I don’t get so frustrated that I turn a game off before it’s over.

  • Fifer39

    I’m agreeing with you far more than disagreeing. My support for JN was definitely at a time, and on the basis, that we could still be far better than a .500 team. I do think the fact we weren’t wasn’t due to JN primarily.

    I guess we’re all getting older, but I also can’t remember a year when I was less excited about watching games – and I only get to see about half of them in the UK. Looking forward to regaining the passion in the Archie era!

  • I can remember being incredibly frustrated at the end of games last season, say with five minutes or so to go even when we were behind, and the offense would stagnate like you describe before tossing up a prayer. From some Dayton games I watched, it seems like Archie’s teams are much more aggressive in the half court and attack throughout the shot clock if they don’t score in transition.

    I know TC’s offenses were highly rated, but they were also prone to suffer long droughts against really good defensive teams that slowed things down. I don’t think we’ll see the same with Archie’s teams — maybe we won’t get the same highs as with TC’s offenses when everything was going perfectly, but we also won’t get the same lows. I’ll take that.

  • SCHoosier

    Sorry but JN dribbled way too much last year…held my breath re: TO’s every time he had the ball. Poor offensive scheme at times..but way too much side ways dribbling by JN. Hopefully Miller’s system will address that and the TO’s

  • SCHoosier

    Points you mean (I hope)

  • Chappy Dan

    James, nobody, nobody, nobody. In that order.