Five Indiana players — Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Remy Abell — met with the media following the Hoosiers’ 97-54 dismantling of Bryant on Friday night at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to the press conferences in the embedded media players below:
I. Indiana’s lack of frontcourt depth was not an issue in this one. Bryant didn’t have much size. And the size the Bulldogs did have was dominated by Cody Zeller. Both Andrew Scocca and Vlad Kondratyev fouled out, as neither had much of a chance once Zeller got the ball on the block and went to work. When Zeller went to the bench, there were a few interesting small ball lineups on the court. At one point in the first half, Indiana’s smallest rotation players — Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls and Remy Abell — played with Jeremy Hollowell and Christian Watford.
At some point in the next eight, the lack of depth is likely to pose a problem. But for this night, the Hoosiers rolled regardless.
II. This was a game Indiana got to the line in bunches. Bryant simply couldn’t match the Hoosiers’ speed, athleticism and strength, and it resulted in 34 trips the line. The Hoosiers knocked down 29 of those attempts (85.3%) and racked up a free throw rate of 63.0. Indiana’s offense hummed in just about every other facet as well: It sported a 63.0% eFG and scored 1.318 points per possession en route to nearly 100 points. Its defense also held Bryant to just .73 points per possession.
III. Christian Watford spoke of becoming a consistent rebounder this season at Big Ten Media Day, and he’s proving it early this season. After snatching six in the exhibition game, Watford snagged a career-high 15 boards tonight. With so many scoring options, Watford may not always have a chance to impact the game offensively. (He did have 15 points, but it came on a rough shooting night (3-of-9) which was aided by eight points at the line.) But if he’s boarding like this — and playing good defense, as he did on Bryant’s top talent Alex Francis tonight — he can still make his presence felt on the court.
IV. After an exhibition game in which he turned the ball over a bit much, Yogi Ferrell followed it up with a strong debut. Ferrell had 10 points and five assists at half; he finished with 10 and seven to go along with five rebounds. His court vision and quickness continue to impress. Ferrell’s backup, Remy Abell (a player Alex highlighted earlier this week) had a strong scoring game as well. The sophomore had 12 points (2-of-2 from the field, 6-of-6 from the line).
Crean agrees to contract extension through 2020 season
Just moments before the tip-off of tonight’s season opener at Assembly Hall, Indiana Athletics Director Fred Glass announced a contract extension for Tom Crean that will keep him in Bloomington through at least the 2020 season.
Glass addressed a sellout crowd of 17,472 fans at midcourt with the news of two additional years to Crean’s contract, which drew a rousing ovation before IU dismantled Bryant, 97-54.
“Tom Crean has done an absolutely phenomenal job bringing Indiana University back to its rightful place as one of the elite basketball programs in the country,” Glass said in a release. “His energy, integrity, ability, passion, industry, vision, and commitment are unparalleled.”
The new deal for Crean will run through June 20, 2020 and will increase his average annual non-performance based compensation from $2.52 million to $3.16 million.
Crean will also have a chance to earn performance bonuses of up to $55,000 per year for hitting APR, GSR and GPA benchmarks. The extension will also contain increased buyout and guaranty provisions.
“None of this would be possible without what my coaches do,” Crean said following the win over Bryant. “I have such a great staff. And we lose Bennie [Seltzer] last year and he did a great job of helping us build this and then we replaced him with Kenny Johnson, who has been outstanding. I’ve got a group of people that have worked so hard and it wouldn’t be possible without them.
“Most importantly, it wouldn’t be possible without the way the players have persevered that have been here. Without the way they have improved, without their resiliency and toughness and their desire to win and compete and do things the right way.”
Jordan Hulls, who is playing his fourth season under Crean, was happy to hear his coach has been rewarded for turning around the Indiana program.
“It’s pretty special. He’s helped us in more ways than we can even imagine, making men out of us, really,” Hulls said. “He’s helped me tremendously so it’s pretty cool to watch him get rewarded for all the hard work.”
Live Discussion: Indiana vs. Bryant
Short-handed Hoosiers ready for Friday’s opener
No. 1 Indiana enters Friday’s opener against Bryant with a thin frontcourt as a result of an injury to Derek Elston and suspensions to Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin. But those setbacks haven’t put a damper on the team’s excitement to tip off the season.
After earning preseason accolades, gracing magazine covers and having countless pieces written by the national media, the hype turns to reality following months of build up.
“We’re definitely excited for it. It will be a different kind of test for us,” sophomore Cody Zeller said Thursday. “We haven’t played a game in so long, it seems like. It’s exciting for us to just get the season going after conditioning and practice, doing summer workouts and weight lifting – we’re finally to the day where we can kind of see where we’re at and get the season going.”
Zeller and senior Christian Watford are the only scholarship players available for the first nine games who are taller than 6-9, which means IU could use some unconventional lineups or junior walk-on Jeff Howard could see time.
“If we play conventional, our back up right now is Jeff Howard,” Tom Crean said. “So there will be some conventional and there will be some unconventional.”
Howard, who has three career points and has never played more than six minutes in a regular season game, could suddenly find himself playing rotation minutes.
“If you are in a uniform and on that roster, you get coached like everybody else every day and Coach [Crean] expects you to be able to step up and answer the call,” associate head coach Tim Buckley said. “Being the NFL guy that he is, he’ll use the term ‘next man up’ and Jeff happens to be the next man up.
“He can really do some things for us defensively. He’s got great feet. He’s got good instincts in that regard. He’s just got to go out there and play with that confidence that he’s capable of and you could very well see him in there and we expect him to do the job that we’d expect any of the other guys to do.”
Watford wearing No. 32
With Elston likely out until at least mid-December, Watford wanted to do something to honor his teammate who suffered a torn meniscus at Hoosier Hysteria.
Although Watford had hoped it would be a surprise, it was announced Thursday that he will wear Elston’s No. 32 on Friday.
HD Video: Hoosiers preview season opener with Bryant
Indiana senior Christian Watford, sophomore Cody Zeller, associate head coach Tim Buckley and coach Tom Crean met with the media Thursday to preview Friday’s season opener at Assembly Hall with Bryant.
Watch and listen to all three press conferences in the embedded media players below:
With last Thursday’s game against Indiana Wesleyan not hitting the Big Ten Network until Wednesday, the inaugural Film Session comes a little late this season. Onwards.
Indiana Wesleyan got off to a hot start against Indiana last Thursday thanks to an early barrage of open 3-point looks the Wildcats knocked down. A look at what went wrong for the Hoosiers defensively on three such 3-pointers in the season debut of Film Session:
After showing a little full-court pressure off an inbounds, Indiana sets up in the halfcourt. Jordan Hulls doesn’t immediately mark a Wesleyan player; he instead assumes a bit of a rover roll at the top of the key with his hands up:
D.J. Bettinger dribbles left and initiates the offense by passing to Jordan Weidner on the left wing. Patrick Hopkins comes across to the left high post and gets doubled by Cody Zeller and Hulls. This leaves the weak side vulnerable to attack:
From there, it’s a simple turn and pass to Aaron Martin, who knocks down the 3-pointer:
Not sure if Hulls was supposed to be marking someone here out of the gate or not. (UPDATE: I think, as Cbruce576 points out on Twitter, that Indiana is actually in a 2-3 zone here with Yogi Ferrell late to get into position because he’s applying on-ball pressure. Hence why Hulls is playing where he is.) But by Wesleyan putting the ball in the middle of the defense, they were able to exploit it for an open trey.
Podcast on the Brink: Discussing the NCAA’s ruling
Another season is upon us, and so, too, is another controversy.
Just days before IU is set to take on Bryant in the regular-season opener, the NCAA handed down nine-game suspensions to freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin for taking “impermissible benefits” from A-HOPE founder and Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams, who was deemed an IU booster.
· Why the nine-game suspensions occurred · What the decision means for IU’s future relationship with Mark
Adams and the A-HOPE program · How both Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin can pay their fines · The likelihood of IU winning an appeal with the NCAA · Impact on the Hoosiers’ frontcourt for the first nine games of the season · The handling of the Mosquera-Perea/Jurkin case by IU’s compliance staff in the wake of Kelvin Sampson
On the facts of the case, specifically Mark Adams being labeled a booster for donations from 1986-1992: “The facts are pretty self-explanatory when you really read through it and that’s really what it is. Now there’s going to be an appeal process, I don’t know how you couldn’t when you get something like that.”
On the team’s depth, and the ruling’s effects on Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea: “There’s no question that that hurts us. And they are going to play for this team, there’s no question they’re contributors in this program right away. The bigger concern right now is for both Hanner and Peter individually. Because right now, they don’t really know why this is happening. And it’s really hard for us to explain it to them because I don’t really know why this is happening.
“With Hanner and Peter, every request that’s been made of them, every question that’s been thrown their way, every hypothetical that was presented, everything that was given to them — they answered it. I mean, everybody answered it … My concern is for them because as a coach, it’s one thing to to tell them how to attack the zone, how to break the press and how to improve their free-throw shooting. It’s a whole other thing when you don’t have an answer for why they have to sit games out. Really, publicly, that’s about the limit of what I feel comfortable saying.”