HD Video: Devin Davis reacts to overtime win at Fishers

2013 Warren Central forward and IU signee Devin Davis Jr. scored a game-high 28 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a 57-54 overtime win at Fishers on Thursday night. (Video of his performance is available in the premium forum.)

The win moved the Warriors, coached by former IU standout Greg Graham, to 3-0 on the season.

Aftward, Davis talked to Inside the Hall about his developing midrange game, his thoughts on the Mr. Basketball race and more:

Podcast on the Brink: December discussion

Indiana’s schedule might suggest otherwise, but there’s still plenty to talk about regarding the No. 1 Hoosiers.

IU Athletics’ Jeremy Gray and Inside The Hall’s Alex Bozich join hosts Matt Dollinger and Greg Rosenstein this week to discuss the latest with the Hoosiers.

Gray gives his insight into IU’s success and the turnaround in Bloomington while Bozich delivers the latest news and rumblings from the recruiting trail.

Among the topics discussed on this week’s show:

· How this team compares to elite squads of years past
· The vibe in Bloomington and students’ reaction to success
· Bob Knight’s recent telecasts and significance of his remarks
· Is Butler the biggest in-state rival to IU? Or still Purdue?
· The NBA potential of Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller and others
· Recruits Indiana is pursuing and the team’s overall strategy

So tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop us a note at podcastonthebrink@gmail.com.

Listen in the embedded media player below, download the episode, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed.

The Inside the Hall Mailbag: December 6

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. 

@Tbrown1820 writes: from last week. Jordy Hulls got a shot at NBA if he continues playing at this level?

I would like to think he has a shot. Hulls is a leader and, in my opinion, the best shooter in college basketball this season. And as we’ve seen with certain players in the past, if you can shoot it, there’s always a spot for you. Now, Hulls has his drawbacks which everyone is aware of. He’s not great defensively, he’s not as quick as NBA guards, and he’s only 6-foot. I don’t see him getting drafted, but I think he’s a guy that will get picked up on someone’s Summer League team and have a chance to make an NBA roster.

I think he’s a better player than Travis Diener, who Tom Crean got to the NBA during his time at Marquette. He’s also a better player than Ben Hansbrough, who is currently on the Pacers roster. Just imagine him as a member of the Miami Heat. He would get open shots all the time without having to do much to get open. I’d like to see him get a chance. — Justin Albers

@NMalone23 writes: Will Derek Elston serve much of a purpose when he returns? Team could be in a groove by then.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Elston is going to have a role on this team. It may not mean playing as many minutes or scoring as much as in the past, but as a senior, he’s emerged as one of the leaders on this team. Crean has talked about Elston being vocal in practice and Elston’s personality is such that he is well liked and respected by his teammates.

I think his role may transition a bit from potential scorer off the bench to being expected to do more rebounding and defensive work down on the block. While he’s certainly capable of coming in and knocking down shots from the perimeter, Indiana’s personnel has evolved to a point where Elston is probably a third or fourth option at best, even if he’s in the game with other bench players. — Alex Bozich

@Perpetualcoffee writes: should hulls shoot more?

If you asked me this question before the season, I’d say “yes” without question. Hulls was always kind of hesitant to shoot at times last season when maybe he should have let it go. But early on this season, Hulls has been shooting more than he has in the past, and that’s good to see. When he sees any sort of an opening, he has been letting it go. Plus, on this team, with plenty of people able and willing to take the shots, I don’t think there are many more shots available for him. As long as he’s taking 6-8 shots a game, the Hoosiers should be in good shape. — Justin Albers

@ryanmkost writes: do you agree in the process of oversigning IU has done and in general for all programs across the country?

I don’t have an issue with it and as much as some don’t like this explanation, the numbers have always worked out. My opinion is that it’s better to be well prepared for potential departures (like the NBA or transfers) and be able to fill the roster to the scholarship limit of 13 each year.

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NBA scout weighs-in on Zeller, Oladipo and Watford

(Editor’s note: This story originally appeared Saturday morning on the Inside the Hall premium forum. The forum features an exclusive weekly insider report and additional content, weekly live chats with the staff, advanced notice of blog content, discounts on IU apparel and an active message board community for less than .10 cents a day. Sign up here.)

I spoke to an NBA scout this morning about his thoughts on Indiana’s Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford, and their stocks for the next level.

First, on Zeller. Even though some early mock drafts put UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel ahead of him, the NBA scout doesn’t see it going that way. Assuming, of course, that Zeller exits school after his sophomore year.

“I don’t see how Zeller isn’t the No. 1 pick,” the scout said. “He’s the best all-around player for a big guy, and the NBA is desperate for big guys. He’s a good kid, the NBA is totally desperate for good kids. I just can’t see that guy not being the No. 1 pick.

“I saw Nerlens, and he is going to be an NBA player. He’s extremely long, he has a good jumper, but no he’s not as skilled as Zeller.”

The scout said he doesn’t know whether Zeller can be a franchise-changing player when he comes out, but he believes he’ll be a productive NBA player.

“He runs the floor, he can play center and power forward,” he said. “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.”

There has been some speculation — mostly because of Indiana’s complicated scholarship situation for next year — that Oladipo may put his name in the hat for the NBA Draft after this season. Oladipo has certainly improved a lot early this season, but he’s still not a consistent shooter from the outside.

The NBA scout I spoke to sees Oladipo as an NBA talent, but he doesn’t see him leaving early.

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Recruiting Notebook: Staff hits the east coast hard

With a week between games, the Indiana staff has used the off-time to hit the east coast for several recruiting stops.

Here’s a look at where travels have taken the staff on Monday and Tuesday and also a look at where they’re expected to be on Wednesday evening:

· Monday: An early season WCAC showdown between Gonzaga Prep and Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Virginia drew a strong contingent of college coaches, including Tom Crean and Kenny Johnson.

The presumptive targets in this game were Bryant Crawford (pictured), a 2015 point guard at Gonzaga Prep and Marcus Derrickson, a 2015 forward at Paul VI Catholic.

Gonzaga Prep produced somewhat of a statement win on the road and did so without Villanova signee Kris Jenkins. Crawford, who has an IU offer and has already visited Bloomington twice, was a major factor.

The sophomore point finished with 17 points and four rebounds. Crawford hit four 3-pointers and made all three of his free throw attempts.

Derrickson, regarded as one of the top sophomores nationally, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Paul VI Catholic is the former home of IU signee Stanford Robinson, who transferred to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas for his senior season.

· Tuesday: Crean and Johnson were once again on the east coast, but this time the stop was Wesleyan Christian in High Point, North Carolina to see 2014 wing Theo Pinson, the No. 7 prospect in his class according to ESPN.com.

The Hoosiers have already hosted Pinson for an unofficial visit and he’s got offers from Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State, among many others.

Wesleyan Christian beat New Hope Christian 75-60 as Pinson scored 14 points.

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Film Session: Victor Oladipo’s defensive stand

Early in the second half of Indiana’s 87-51 win over Coppin State, the Hoosiers went to a 1-2-2 trap on defense. But it’s when Tom Crean subbed out Yogi Ferrell — who had been playing the “1” at the top of the trap — at the 15:58 mark that it started to really pay off. Victor Oladipo shifted into Ferrell’s spot and he was just about everywhere until he was relieved at the 12:16 mark.

Oladipo recorded six deflections (unofficially). The Hoosiers went on a 14-2 run in this timeframe and he scored (six points — a dunk and four free throws) or assisted  (three in total — a lay-up and 3-pointer for Remy Abell, a 3-pointer for Jeremy Hollowell) on all 14 points.

Below: A look at one play from this run, as well as a supercut of a number of his deflections throughout the game in the latest edition of Film Session.

Oladipo and Abell pin Patrick Cole near halfcourt:

He has two options immediately across the timeline, but with Christian Watford lurking, he opts to make the safer pass in the backcourt:

Vic simply shuffles over and looks to trap on the opposite side of the court with Watford:

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Examining the Big Ten’s best at the quarter turn

With nearly a quarter of the season in the books, it’s time to examine the Big Ten’s best thus far in 2012-2013:

Best player – Cody Zeller, Indiana

Truth be told, Zeller’s numbers have fallen in line fairly closely with how he finished up last season. He’s currently averaging 15.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and is shooting over 64 percent from the field. There’s certainly a case to be made for Deshaun Thomas as the Big Ten’s best player to-date, but Zeller gets the edge because his play has led the Hoosiers to an 8-0 start and a no. 1 national ranking with wins over North Carolina and Georgetown.

Also considered: Thomas, Ohio State; Trey Burke, Michigan

Best freshman – Nik Stauskas, Michigan

If you had the Canada native as your freshman of the year coming into the season, we’d like to see your preseason ballot. Overshadowed by Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary in the Wolverines’ 2012 recruiting haul, Stauskas is averaging 14.2 points per game, is hitting close to 96 percent of his free throws and is shooting a ridiculous 63% on 3-point attempts. As a result, he’s captured two straight Big Ten freshman of the week awards and his efficiency is a big reason for Michigan’s 7-0 start and rise to No. 3 in both polls.

Also considered: Robinson III, Michigan; Sam Dekker, Wisconsin

Best distributor – Trey Burke, Michigan

This one isn’t really close when you look at the numbers. Burke is averaging seven assists per game and is second in the league in assist rate at 37.6. Much like the balance currently being displayed in Bloomington, Michigan has a plethora of offensive options like Tim Hardaway Jr., Stauskas, Robinson III that Burke is finding with regularity. Also of note: His turnover rate is down slightly from a season ago.

Also considered: Yogi Ferrell, Indiana; Keith Appling, Michigan State; Shannon Scott, Ohio State; Jordan Hulls, Indiana

Best defender – Aaron Craft, Ohio State and Victor Oladipo, Indiana

Craft entered the season as the Big Ten’s reigning pest on defense and has done nothing to warrant losing that badge of honor. He continues to change games with his on ball defense and if you surveyed guards around the country, he’d be at the top of the list of the guys that nobody wants to face. But Oladipo also deserves recognition here. His 2.2 steals per game is second in the Big Ten and his steals percentage (5.07) is third in the league. Oladipo’s prowess on defense is no longer just potential: It’s reality.

Also considered: Branden Dawson, Michigan State; Austin Hollins, Minnesota

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Indiana vs. the Big Ten: Team stats

The Big Ten season starts in less than a month. Every men’s basketball team has played at least six games; seven have played either seven or eight games. That puts more than half the conference at or near the quarter turn of the regular season.

With this in mind, a look at where Indiana is stacking up in a host of statistical categories vs. its Big Ten foes through Sunday’s games. It’s a little early to draw any grand conclusions just yet from all this, but from available non-conference data at present, here’s a look:

Team Adjusted Offensive Efficiency National Ranking Big Ten Ranking
Indiana 121.5 1 1
Michigan 117.4 3 2
Ohio State 115.4 7 3
Wisconsin 114.1 10 4
Minnesota 112.9 13 5
Illinois 109.2 33 6
Michigan State 108.3 39 7
Iowa 106.7 59 8
Purdue 105.4 74 9
Northwestern 103.1 106 10
Penn State 99.3 173 11
Nebraska 97.6 199 12

Despite a 5-3 record, Wisconsin sports the 10th best offense in the country and the 23rd best defense (see below). The Kohl Center is never an easy place to play — although one of the Badgers’ losses does come at home already this season (Virginia) — so it’ll be interesting to see what the team is able to do come conference time. And if you needed any further proof that the Big Ten is good, look no further than it having five of the top 13 offenses in the country.

Team Adjusted Defensive Efficiency National Ranking Big Ten Ranking
Indiana 86.4 5 1
Michigan St. 86.6 6 2
Ohio State 87.5 10 3
Minnesota 89.9 19 4
Wisconsin 90.0 23 5
Michigan 90.9 30 6
Purdue 91.5 34 7
Illinois 93.1 53 8
Iowa 94.7 74 9
Northwestern 94.9 77 10
Penn State 96.1 103 11
Nebraska 99.8 186 12

Michigan State’s defense — which finished third nationally last season — is back, just behind Indiana’s and good for sixth in the country. With a 13th ranked offense and 19th ranked defense, Minnesota is looking like it could make some noise once Big Ten season hits. Michigan is getting a lot of deserved buzz of late for their strong start after some thought they were ranked a bit too high to start the year. While their offense has been crazy efficient (third in the nation), a 30th ranked defense has room to improve. Penn State and Nebraska? Well, neither team is very good.

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News and notes from Tom Crean’s weekly radio show

Tom Crean was out recruiting on Monday night, so assistant coach Tim Buckley along with Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell filled in for him on his weekly radio show with Don Fischer.

Here were some of the more interesting topics and tidbits discussed:

· Jordan Hulls led culture change: Buckley said he regularly receives phone calls from people who say they have a player he needs to see. When Buckley asks them to describe the player, they often say: “Well, he’s like Jordan Hulls.”

Buckley said he usually chuckles at such assertions.

“They might look like Jordan Hulls,” he said. “But that kid’s in the gym two to three times a day in addition to what is required.

He’s really set the tone here. When we wanted to get the culture right, he really led the charge with that.”

· The impact of Sheeladipo: Buckley also talked about how important both Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey have been through the first eight games of the season.

Oladipo has been in double figures in each of the Hoosiers’ last six games, averaging 14.5 points and shooting 67 percent from the field during that span.

“Victor played with great energy, he’s deflecting a lot of balls, he’s making plays happen out there,” Buckley said. “And I think he’s going to get better and better as he goes along with his shooting so you’re gonna have to play him straight up.”

Sheehey has been even more productive of late for the Hoosiers. The junior forward has scored 52 points on 21-of-30 (70 percent) shooting over his last three games.

“I would be hard pressed to believe that there’s a better sixth man in the country right now,” Buckley said. “What he’s doing a great job of right now is he’s talking better than anyone on our team, whether he’s on the floor or on the bench.”

· Creek better post-injuries?: Despite his three major surgeries, Buckley suggested redshirt junior guard Maurice Creek is actually a better player now than he was before. Buckley did admit, though, that Creek probably lost some of his athleticism.

“I think he’s a better basketball player all around because he’s not able to do some of the things he’s been able to do before,” Buckley said.

· Recruiting philosophy: Buckley was asked by a caller what the program’s philosophy is on recruiting players. He said the No. 1 thing they look for is character, and they try to offer things other programs can’t.

“We try to put pieces together,” Buckley said. “We try not only to recruit the best players but the best teams.”

Buckley also said the team’s current players are always important in trying to convince potential recruits Indiana is the place for them. He said the players keep score in regards to who got who to commit.

“Those guys are the key to the whole thing,” Buckley said. “We utilize them the best way we can. But we don’t have a script, we don’t tell them what to say.”

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Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce: On Tom Crean and tradition

Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce: On Tom Crean and tradition:

The first thing Al McGuire taught Tom Crean when Crean took over at Marquette was not to worry about competing against the past. “He told me, ‘You don’t have to worry about matching up with what I did,'” Crean said. That was why he came to know Rick Majerus, whose passing so moved him over the weekend. That also freed him up, and enabled him to honor the past while creating a present. He has the same job here now, with a team that might just be good enough to do it, and you can’t help but wonder why history has to be such a burden. There are blessings to it as well, if you just know where to look.