What to Expect: Penn State

10612With a week off following a New Year’s Eve win at Carver Hawkeye Arena, the No. 5 Hoosiers will hit the road for State College and a meeting with Penn State. The Nittany Lions (8-5) are coming off a 60-51 loss at Wisconsin on Jan. 3.

The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network with Tom Hamilton and Jim Jackson on the call. 

Penn State’s hopes for improvement on last season’s 12-20 campaign were dealt a significant blow when All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier ruptured his left Achilles in an 85-60 loss to Akron on Nov. 20. Not only was Frazier one of the best backcourt players in the country, he was the essential piece that made Penn State a team that could compete with the league’s best. As a junior, Frazier posted the second best assist rate in the country while averaging 18.8 points per game. Without him, Penn State’s path to wins in the country’s toughest conference appears to be daunting.

So how has Penn State fared without Frazier? 6-3 with losses to Boston College (home), La Salle (neutral) and Wisconsin (road). If there’s a silver lining for Pat Chambers as he works relentlessly to build his program, it’s the fact that his current group will gain a year of experience and will then get the chance to make a jump next season with Frazier back in the fold.

PERSONNEL

Frazier’s absence has forced sophomore guard D.J. Newbill (pictured), a transfer from Southern Miss, and junior guard Jermaine Marshall into larger roles than anticipated. Newbill is the team’s leading scorer at 15.5 points per game and Marshall is not far behind at 14.9 points per game, but neither player is particularly efficient.

Newbill has struggled from behind the 3-point line (7-of-29), but is drawing 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes and is fifth in the Big Ten with a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 54.1. The fruits of Newbill getting to the line have been diminished a bit by the fact that he’s hitting just 65 percent of his attempts. He’s also been effective on the glass as he’s averaging 6.3 rebounds per game, good for second on the team.

Marshall has been slightly better percentage wise (32.4) from behind the 3-point line, but is taking nearly 5.5 attempts from distance per game. His steal percentage (3.7) ranks sixth among Big Ten players. Both players are getting little rest as Newbill averages 35.5 minutes and Marshall is at 34.1 per game.

Up front, Penn State is also using Ross Travis for major minutes — he’s playing 31.4 per contest — and he’s averaging a team-high 7.7 rebounds. Travis isn’t much of an offensive threat and is shooting just 43.8 percent on his 2-point attempts. Freshman Brandon Taylor, a 6-foot-7 forward who lost 30 pounds after arriving on campus, is beginning to emerge as one of Penn State’s most reliable scorers. Taylor has an effective field goal percentage of 56.5 and has been the Nittany Lions best 3-point shooter at 39.6 percent.

Nick Colella, who is strictly a 3-point specialist with 48 of his 53 field goal attempts coming from outside, and junior forward Sasa Borovnjak, who averages 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, round out the rotation players who could make an impact on Monday.

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Recruit roundup: Blackmon Jr. continues dominant season

IPSAC110061aThroughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how IU’s six 2013 signees and James Blackmon Jr. are performing at their respective schools. (Photo credit: Jamie Owens/J. Scott Sports)

You can send us stats or results for this report at insidethehall@gmail.com

2013 SIGNEES

· Collin Hartman (Indianapolis Cathedral): Did not play as he recovers from a fractured left wrist. Cathedral beat Indianapolis Northwest 82-68 on Jan. 2 and Lafayette Central Catholic 78-48 on Jan. 5.

· Devin Davis Jr. (Warren Central): Ten points in a 69-64 loss at Lawrence North on Jan. 2 and eight points in an 82-47 win at Terre Haute South on Jan. 4.

· Luke Fischer (Germantown, WI): With Tom Crean in attendance, Fischer scored a team-high 28 points in a 76-69 win over Nicolet on Jan. 4. Germantown is 12-0.

· Noah Vonleh (New Hampton Prep, NH): Did not play as New Hampton Prep is off until it hosts St. Thomas More on Jan. 14.

· Stanford Robinson (Findlay Prep, NV): Ten points in a 76-51 win over Redemption Christian on Jan. 5. Findlay Prep is 18-0 and ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25.

· Troy Williams (Oak Hill Academy, VA): Did not play as Oak Hill Academy is off until Jan. 11 when it hosts Toronto Academy.

2014 COMMITMENT

· James Blackmon Jr. (Ft. Wayne Luers): Twenty-eight points and eight rebounds in a 68-61 win over Ft. Wayne Dwenger on Jan. 4 and 44 points in a 79-73 overtime win at Muncie South on Jan. 5. Blackmon Jr. is averaging 38.2 points per game and Luers is 4-3.

Hoosiers working to incorporate Elston, Mosquera-Perea, Hollowell

121912aiMuch of the preseason talk about Indiana centered on the team’s anticipated depth. The Hoosiers added a highly-touted freshman class to a roster full of returning veterans from last year’s Sweet 16 team.

But so far this season, No. 5 Indiana really hasn’t been that deep. Due to issues with the NCAA and an injury to senior Derek Elston, the Hoosiers are still in the process of trying to incorporate several players on their bench.

Freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea was suspended for the first nine games, Elston missed the first 10 games after having knee surgery, and freshman Jeremy Hollowell was out for three games due to an NCAA investigation. Mosquerea-Perea and Elston have yet to get significant minutes or make major contributions through the first 14 games, and Hollowell’s minutes and contributions have been inconsistent.

In Monday’s game at Iowa, the trio combined to play only 14 minutes and none of the three scored a single point.

“We want to get this team to the point where Jeremy, Hanner, Peter [Jurkin] and Derek are a big part of that, where they get that experience [of a road win],” Indiana coach Tom Crean said Saturday. “We haven’t had a lot of that yet. We were basically a team that was playing with seven guys in that game [against Iowa], and that’s not what we wanna do moving forward.”

Even though they haven’t gotten significant time on the court, Crean said Mosquera-Perea, Hollowell and Elston have gained a good amount from the few minutes they have been out there. And with a full week in between the Big Ten opener at Iowa and Monday’s game at Penn State, they’ve had some extra practice time to learn from the things they experienced at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I don’t anticipate, they will [play more],” Crean said. “There’s no question about that.”

Hollowell got off to a strong start to his freshman campaign by scoring in double figures in his first two collegiate games, but he hasn’t been quite the same player since. He hasn’t scored more than seven points in his last nine games, and he’s shot better than 50 percent from the field in only one of those contests.

In his only game back after missing three games, Hollowell airballed his lone shot attempt, but did have two important blocked shots.

“When a freshman misses a day of practice or a game, it’s like missing a week,” Crean said. “When you take somebody out of three games, it makes it that much harder.”

For Elston and Mosquera-Perea, the process has been a bit slower. Elston has struggled to find his jump shot in his return from injury, and it has impacted other parts of his game on the floor. He’s just 1-of-8 from the field for four total points in four games this season. Elston has played a total of 35 minutes.

But Crean saw a lot of improvement from his senior forward in Saturday afternoon’s practice.

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HD Video: Ferrell, Zeller preview Penn State

Yogi Ferrell and Cody Zeller met with the media Saturday afternoon to preview Monday’s game at Penn State. Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:

HD Video: Crean, Johnson preview Penn State

Tom Crean and assistant coach Kenny Johnson met with the media on Saturday afternoon to preview Monday’s game at Penn State. Watch both press conferences in the embedded media players below:

Video: Noah Vonleh at HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational

Recruiting Notebook: Indiana watches Booth, Morgan

142013iTom Crean and Kenny Johnson made the trip to East Baltimore on Wednesday night to watch two of Indiana’s 2014 targets, Phil Booth (pictured) and Dwayne Morgan, square off. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was also in attendance.

Morgan and No. 1 St. Frances edged Booth and No. 2 Mount St. Joseph’s 58-57 and afterward, both players gave updates on their respective recruitments in this Baltimore Sun story.

Morgan:

Morgan, meanwhile, said he has no timeline for his decision. The Terps are “in my top six,” he said. “So if you’re in my top six, that’s good.”

Booth:

Booth, who claims offers from Georgetown, Indiana, Maryland, SMU, Temple, Villanova, Virginia Tech and several others, is projected by many recruiting services as a shooting guard. But last night, Booth effectively ran the point and said working on his lead-guard skills has been a major priority.

Booth said he doesn’t have a final list of schools yet. He appreciated Crean and Turgeon — the coach of “the big-time program in the area” — coming out to watch him play.

Morgan had 13 in the win while Booth had nine in a losing effort. Florida is also reportedly close to offering Booth a scholarship.

Fischer leads Germantown to 10-0 start

2013 Germantown (WI) forward and IU signee is off to a strong start to his senior season.

The 6-foot-11 center is averaging 20.5 points and told Inside the Hall on Thursday that his goal is another undefeated season.

“That’s what we said at the end of last year,” Fischer said when asked if Germantown’s goal was going unbeaten again. “We have the talent to do the exact same thing.”

Besides adding strength, Fischer said he’s becoming more aggressive in seeking out the ball this season as Germantown’s leader on the floor.

“Last year, I kind of let the ball come to me and this year, I kind of want the ball in my hands whenever I can get it and have everything go through me,” he said. “That’s what coach has told me to do. Instead of having someone else give me the ball, I try to go get it and it’s been working.”

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Big Ten players: Assembly Hall league’s toughest venue

The Gazette: B1G players’ poll: Indiana toughest basketball venue

Indiana’s record matters little to the players experiencing Assembly Hall. In 2009, the Hoosiers finished a school-worst 1-17 in Big Ten play, yet ranked 16th nationally in average attendance at 14,331. Now the Hoosiers rank No. 5 nationally and lead the league at 17,346 tickets sold per game.

“It gets ridiculous,” said Purdue’s Terone Johnson. “The atmosphere is crazy, whether they’re on a three-game losing streak or a three-game winning streak.”

The fans’ intensity doesn’t change for a longtime rival like Purdue, a top-ranked team like Michigan State or an average Big Ten opponent like Penn State.

“Indiana is the toughest arena to play in. It’s so loud,” Michigan State point guard Keith Appling said. “It remember playing there thinking, ‘It’s too loud.’ We couldn’t even call our sets for the full 40 minutes. The fans, not just the student section, but all the fans were into the game, constantly screaming and shouting for the full 40 minutes.”

Draft watch: Oladipo’s stock on the rise

IUUNCITH0012The last time Indiana had two first round NBA Draft picks was in 2008, which followed one of the most tumultuous seasons in school history. In June of 2008, both Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers) and D.J. White (Detroit Pistons, traded to Oklahoma City Thunder) both had their names called by David Stern.

Could the Hoosiers be on their way to multiple first round picks again this summer? Inside the Hall takes a look at the current stock of IU’s potential draft candidates:

Cody Zeller
ESPN: (5) Draft Express: (3) NBADraft.net: (1)

· Analysis: Despite taking criticism from some in the national media for not being dominant enough through IU’s first 14 games, Zeller’s position is still in the top five of just about every mock draft out there. He’s easily the most effective running big man in college basketball and is incredibly polished for a seven-footer who just turned 20. His numbers may not make the dramatic jump that some were expecting because of IU’s incredible balance on offense, but you get the feeling that Zeller’s best basketball is still ahead of him this season.

· Expert opinion: “He runs the floor, he can play center and power forward. He’s not gonna have a major impact as far as scoring, but he’s going to have a major impact as far as being a team player because he’s got it all. He can block shots, he runs the floor, he’s got pretty decent moves, he can shoot a little bit. I think he’s going to be a really, really good player immediately for an NBA team.” – NBA scout to Inside the Hall’s Justin Albers

Victor Oladipo
ESPN: (31) Draft Express: (28) NBADraft.net: (34)

· Analysis: Oladipo has been called IU’s best player so far this season and that’s a fair analysis given how he’s impacted the game on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he’s continued to relentlessly attack the rim and convert, but he’s also mixed in a more reliable perimeter shot that makes him more attractive to the next level. Defensively, Oladipo is building a list of top scorers on the opposition that he’s been able to take out of games. Given how much he’s improved in his 30 months in Bloomington, there’s no reason to believe Oladipo shouldn’t continue to get better for the foreseeable future.

· Expert opinion: “Love him. One of my favorite players in the country. He’s gonna be a first round pick in this year’s draft. If he can convince scouts that his 45% shooting from beyond the arc isn’t a fluke — lottery isn’t out of the question.” – ESPN.com’s Chad Ford

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Film Session: Four key plays

Will Sheehey’s jumper at the 10:04 mark in the second half put the Hoosiers up eight (56-48) in their New Year’s Eve win against the Hawkeyes. It was the largest lead they’d see the rest of the game, as Iowa cut the lead all the way down to one before the Hoosiers eventually escaped with a four-point win (69-65).

A look at two plays that helped Iowa evaporate Indiana’s lead and two that helped Indiana seal a victory in the latest edition of Film Session.

I. While the ref hands the ball off on an inbounds play, Jordan Hulls is already finding himself out of position, as Josh Oglesby is up at the top of the key and Zach McCabe and Eric May have bodies in front of IU’s senior:

hulls1

From there, all it takes is them both giving him a brush screen to make sure Oglesby has enough time to catch … :

hulls2

… And shoot. Hulls eventually spins his way out of the bodies. But by then, it’s too late:

hulls3

This made 3-pointer cut Indiana’s lead to three. It’s also not the first time this season Hulls has had trouble tracking a 3-point shooter on an inbounds play.

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