Photo Gallery: The 2016-2017 Indiana Hoosiers

Inside the Hall photographer Jamie Owens had the chance last month to photograph the members of the 2016-2017 Indiana Hoosiers and produced a gallery that includes all 16 players on this season’s roster.

Check out his work from the photo shoot in the embedded gallery below:

Q & A: Clifton Moore talks Indiana commitment

Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) forward Clifton Moore became the third member of Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class when he committed to the Hoosiers on his official visit to Bloomington.

Inside the Hall talked at length with the 6-foot-10 Moore on Sunday afternoon about his decision to commit and a transcript of our full Q & A is available below:

On why he was ready to commit:

“The coaching staff is very experienced and they have a long track record with guys like me. They know how to bring out the best in me. And it’s also great academically. I was comfortable with the environment. I didn’t see anything bad.”

On making the decision while on the visit and the input of his parents on the decision:

“I just got the feeling that I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. And I was like, ‘if this opportunity goes away, I’m going to be really sad, so I’ve got to just take it.'”

On what initially started to increase his interest in Indiana:

“When coach (Tom) Crean came to visit, he was telling me about the Kelley School of Business and how it’s one of the best in the country. That really intrigued my mom. They just won the Big Ten championship and they’ve got great, great history and great coaches who know what they’re doing. It just seemed like a good fit. They showed me how they wanted to use me, how they want to help me and how I fit into the system. It’s a good fit.”

On why he’s been under the radar nationally and whether playing non-shoe circuit for AAU was the primary reason for it:

“I stayed with my local Hoop Dreamz team and I didn’t move to Team Final (Nike EYBL), even though they wanted me. I didn’t go to any of the circuits. That was one of the reasons why. And some people just didn’t know how to use me. When I went to some all-star games, they used me like a traditional big man when my skills are more than that. I’m unique. And coach Crean knows how to bring out the best in me.”

On his relationship with assistant coach Chuck Martin:

“He was the first one that came in. And he said that since he had on the Indiana logo on, when he first came to watch me, he didn’t sit directly in front of the game, he sat on the side and he didn’t tell anybody that he was looking at me. Because he knew that if others knew they’d gotten involved, it would draw more attention to this guy who was relatively unknown. He was there through the summer most of the time.”

On his impressions from watching Indiana practice:

“I saw a bunch of guys who were determined and knew exactly what they were going to do. They want to be the best and they work like it.”

On what else stood out from the visit:

“The football game was cool seeing thehe atmosphere and how they introduced the basketball team. I saw how respected the basketball team is there. When we were going to the game, I was with Thomas Bryant and about seven people wanted to take pictures and were calling his name. I could just see the respect there.”

On his thoughts on the Assembly Hall renovations:

“I liked it. They said it’s going to be the biggest scoreboard in the conference. I liked the whole setup. The locker rooms, too.”

2017 forward Clifton Moore commits to Indiana

Class of 2017 Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) forward Clifton Moore committed to Indiana this weekend while on his official visit to Bloomington.

The 6-foot-10 Moore is the third member of Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class. He chose the Hoosiers over Ole Miss, Lafayette, Northwestern, St. Joseph’s and Temple.

We’ll have more soon on this developing story.

Injuries leave Hoosiers short-handed as practice begins

 Indiana held its first practice for the 2016-2017 season on Friday afternoon at Cook Hall without its complete roster intact.

A recent knee injury to Collin Hartman that required surgery has sidelined IU’s lone senior without a timetable for his return. Junior Freddie McSwain had recent knee surgery and is unable to go for now. Juwan Morgan has not been fully cleared after offseason shoulder surgery. And freshman De’Ron Davis has been shut down at times with various injuries.

It’s a challenge that Indiana will have to overcome as the Hoosiers are just a month away from their exhibition opener at Assembly Hall.

“We have not had a healthy team yet,” Tom Crean said Friday. “That goes from when the season ended in Philadelphia to when we get started today. We never went up and down the court five-on-five this summer because we didn’t have enough healthy guys to do that. We got better, we had great workouts, everybody has improved, but we haven’t had that.”

The Hartman injury will have the biggest impact on Indiana long term. Crean said the Cathedral product just returned to Bloomington following surgery and social media photos posted by Indiana showed him on crutches with his knee in a brace.

It’s the second knee surgery for Hartman in his IU career as he required surgery from a torn ACL in his right knee following his freshman season.

“I just love that kid,” Crean said. “He’s been through so much, and I know you’re going to ask me about timelines. I don’t have a timeline because I’m most concerned right now about his mindset. He just got back here, and that young guy was putting so much into getting ready to be our senior leader, and we’re going to need it.”

The prognosis for McSwain and Morgan sounded as if both will be back and available shortly. The surgery for McSwain, according to Crean, was to repair a previous issue that flared up again.

“He’s a couple weeks away from going,” Crean explained. And I add that because like that’s the kind of guy — he comes in and he makes our defense better. He looks like an NFL tight end, came in here and set the squat record. Freddie is really strong. He’s active and athletic, like he’s going to make our defense better.”

Morgan was named Indiana’s “warrior of the summer” for his performances in offseason workouts, but won’t be fully cleared for at least a few more weeks.

The Hoosier backcourt is fully cleared as James Blackmon Jr. has been available for a few weeks and Robert Johnson, who had offseason ankle surgery, was cleared on Monday.

With a tough schedule out of the gate that includes a neutral court game in Hawaii against Kansas, Indiana only has six weeks to get ready for an opponent that could be ranked in the preseason top five.

“The exciting part is we get to keep building on that as we go,” Crean said. “Have no idea how many steps it’s going to take for us to really grow and get to be good, but they’re there, and we’ve just got to take them, as corny as it sounds, one step at a time, not knowing how big one is, not knowing how steep one is, not knowing how long one is.”

Video: Tom Crean preseason media availability

Tom Crean met with the media on Friday afternoon at Cook Hall to preview the start of the 2016-2017 season and also to provide injury updates on several players.

Watch the full media availability below:

2016-2017 ITH Season Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our Big Ten team previews with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

As Pat Chambers enters his sixth season at the helm at State College, it appears he finally has the Penn State program on the rise.

The Nittany Lions have won 50 games over the previous three seasons, but finally look like a strong candidate to make a move up in the Big Ten standings.

Four core contributors are gone from last season’s 16 win team, but Chambers returns his best player in Shep Garner and also welcomes one of the league’s top recruiting classes. The 6-foot-2 Garner averaged 14.8 points and 3.4 assists as a sophomore and should be paired in the backcourt with freshman Tony Carr. The 6-foot-3 Carr was a top 10 point guard nationally in the class of 2016 and should allow Garner to play more off the ball.

Penn State should have plenty of depth in the backcourt as sophomore Josh Reaves, freshman Nazeer Bostick and junior Terrance Samuel, a UConn transfer, should all be a part of the rotation. Reaves is a terrific athlete who needs to shoot it better to earn more minutes while Samuel has NCAA tournament experience having played on UConn’s 2014 national championship team.

The frontcourt should have plenty of depth and options as well. Junior Payton Banks is the program’s leading returning rebounder. Julian Moore, a 6-foot-10 junior, will need to finish better (45.6 percent on 2s) to not be overtaken in the rotation by freshmen Mike Watkins and Joe Hampton. Watkins, a four-star recruit in the 2015 class, sat out last season as an academic redshirt. Hampton is 6-foot-8 and 290 pounds, who can score in the paint and also step out to the perimeter.

Freshman Lamar Stevens also figures to be a big part of the rotation. At 6-foot-7, Stevens can play both forward spots and was a high school and AAU teammate of Carr and Bostick.

Penn State will be young, but on paper, this is the most talented roster Chambers has assembled in his tenure.

Bottom Line: Chambers was given a vote of confidence with a contract extension in the spring of 2015 and he’s rewarded Penn State with significant progress on the recruiting trail. The next step for Penn State is translating the improved roster into wins and a postseason appearance of some kind.A challenging non-conference schedule, which includes Duke, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and St. John’s, should prepare Penn State for league play. Carr and Garner should be one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten and the improved talent on the wing and in the frontcourt should allow Penn State to inch closer to a 20-win team this season.

Quotable: “We are going to challenge ourselves. We are not going to hide. We want to give ourselves a chance. I just think it’s time. I really want to start to make some inroads in the Big Ten. Seven wins (in 2015-2016) is nice. I want to get 10. I want to get 11.” – Chambers to Blue Ribbon Yearbook.

PreviouslyRutgers, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern

(Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

Q & A: Justin Smith talks Indiana commitment

Indiana added to its 2017 recruiting class on Monday night with the commitment of four-star forward Justin Smith.

Smith, the No. 76 prospect nationally by the 247Composite, averaged 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists at Adlai Stevenson high school (Ill.) as a junior. He chose Indiana over Villanova and also considered Michigan, Stanford, Xavier, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Inside the Hall spoke with Smith one-on-one to discuss his pledge to the Hoosiers and much more. Here’s a transcript of our full Q & A:

On why he was ready to commit:

“Going into this fall period, I was very much looking forward to just figuring out where I wanted to go to college, which would allow me to focus on my high school season. So that was the main reason I took all of those visits early and then committed when I did.”

On the visits he took this fall besides his official trips to IU and Villanova:

“I took an unofficial to Xavier, an unofficial to Wisconsin and that was it.”

On why Indiana was the right fit for him:

“They just sold me on the fact that they will get me better. I was able to see how they will get me better by just looking at the players they have now and the ones that they have worked with before and just how much they’ve improved. That’s really what allowed me to make the decision.”

On his relationship with Tom Crean and assistant coach Rob Judson and the importance of those relationships in his decision:

“I have a great relationship with both of them, that’s why I’m going to Indiana. I visited Indiana probably the most out of any school. We got to build a relationship with the two of them, my family got to know them really well. That’s what contributed to the decision.”

On the biggest thing he learned on his official visit:

“Just seeing how hard the team works, how hard the coaches work and how they work together to try and reach a common goal.”

On what he wants to show in his final high school season and his individual and team goals:

“As a player, I just want to get better at creating my own shot and being able to be counted on by my team to go get a basket or go make a big play. As a team, our goal is to win a state championship. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

On what he’s looking forward to the most when he thinks about his future at Indiana:

“When I visited there, I saw a couple of games and the atmosphere is crazy. It’s electric. I really want to be a part of it.”

(Photo credit: Worsom Robinson/Sun-Times)

2016-2017 ITH Season Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our Big Ten team previews with the Northwestern Wildcats.

While Northwestern finished just ninth in the Big Ten last season during Chris Collins’ third year at the helm, it was by far the team’s best performance under the former Duke assistant.

Despite losing promising sophomore Vic Law for the season due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder in the preseason, the Wildcats finished over .500 (20-12) for the first time in Collins’ tenure and ranked a respectable 78th in the final KenPom rankings. The team’s strength on offense was its ability to take care of the ball (15.8 turnover percentage, 31st nationally) and on defense it held opponents to just a 46.5 eFG percentage (34th nationally).

But heading into the 2016-2017 campaign, the Wildcats have lost two key pieces that were big factors on both sides of the ball. And it’s why they may ultimately be hanging closer to the bottom of the Big Ten than the top heading into Collins’ fourth year.

Part of the reason Northwestern’s defense held opponents to just a 43.4 two-point percentage (19th best in country) was senior Alex Olah’s shotblocking presence (6.7 block percent, eighth best in conference) around the rim. Olah also used the second most possessions on offense last season for the Wildcats. He’s now gone. Fellow senior Tre Demps has also departed. Demps used the third most possessions on offense last season for Northwestern, played 90.9 percent of available minutes and had a ridiculously low turnover percentage of just 8.8.

Still, the Wildcats are not devoid of talent. Bryant McIntosh returns for a junior season and provides a steady presence in the backcourt as one of the Big Ten’s best distributors. His assist rate of 37.3 was second in the conference to Denzel Valentine a year ago.

Law’s return from injury gives Collins more versatility in the lineup. Forward Aaron Falzon proved capable as a freshman (8.4 PPG, 9.6 turnover percentage) and figures to gobble up more possessions and minutes with Demps and Olah gone. As the only regular to shoot over 40 percent (40.9) last season, junior Scottie Lindsey gives the Wildcats 3-point shooting.

Sophomore Dererk Pardon, who was going to redshirt last year before Olah got injured, should be one of the Big Ten’s best rebounders. As a freshman, Pardon ranked in the top ten in the league in offensive rebounding percentage. Senior Nathan Taphorn and junior Gavin Skelly will help provide frontcourt depth.

Collins also welcomes in a pair of local Chicago-area recruits to the team this season: Hinsdale South product Barret Benson (247 Composite rank: 153) and Rapolas Ivanauskas from Barrington (247 Composite rank: 147).

Bottom Line: The loss of Demps and Olah is a lot to make up for, but Collins has enough talent on his roster – and as a coach – to make the Wildcats competitive. It was recently announced the team will be playing its 2017-2018 season at Allstate Arena as Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoes a $110 million renovation. The new facilities may help Collins on the recruiting trail as he competes against the conference elite. But for this year at least, Northwestern may once again be on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday.

Quotable: “It’s still all about relationships, fit, opportunity.  When (recruits) see now that we have the very best of facilities — with locker rooms, with space and sports medicine and now our arena — it just adds to the academic prestige, to being in Chicago, being in the Big Ten. Now all of a sudden, these guys have it all. It helps with recruiting, it helps with the perception of our program. People realize that there’s a major commitment for us to be great in basketball.” — Collins on the upcoming improvements to Welsh-Ryan Arena

PreviouslyRutgers, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa

(Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

2016-2017 ITH Season Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our Big Ten team previews with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

It’s a new era for Iowa basketball. The graduation of four starters means that Fran McCaffery will be tasked with guiding the Hawkeyes through a transition season.

The headlining returnee for McCaffery is senior Peter Jok, who should be in the mix for All-Big Ten first team honors. Jok averaged 16.1 points last season season and shot 40.2 percent on 3s on 199 attempts. Jok needs to become a better distributor (10.6 percent assist rate) and more of a leader on the floor, but there’s no question that he’s Iowa’s best player.

The top candidate to replace Mike Gesell at point guard is freshman Jordan Bohannon, who was Iowa’s Mr. Basketball. The 6-foot Bohannon wasn’t highly ranked by the national recruiting services, but should get the opportunity to run the team right away.

Sophomores Christian Williams and Brady Ellingson will have the chance to earn more minutes after playing sparingly as freshmen. Ellingson was recruited for his shooting prowess, but hit just 27.3 percent of his 3s as a freshman. Williams is 6-foot-5, can play multiple positions and could also handle the ball at times.

On the wing, sophomore Ahmad Wagner should grow into a bigger role after a very solid freshman season. The 6-foot-7 forward made 71.1 percent of his 2s last season and was a solid rebounder on both ends. Redshirt sophomore Nicolas Baer scored 15 points against Villanova in the NCAA tournament and hit 39.4 percent of his 3s last season.

Our pick to break out on the roster is 6-foot-9 junior Dom Uhl. Uhl isn’t a traditional big man, but that is part of what makes him intriguing. He shot 45 percent on 3s as a sophomore and just 39.6 percent on 2s. He should be joined up front by freshman Tyler Cook, who should make an immediate impact. Listed at 6-foot-9 and 253 pounds, Cook is Iowa’s highest rated recruit at No. 72 in the final 247Composite for 2016.

Others to to keep an eye on are 6-foot-7 senior Dale Jones, who has battled injuries throughout his career and freshman Maishe Dailey, who is 6-foot-6 and had mostly mid-major offers but ultimately landed in Iowa City as a spring signee. Freshman Ryan Kriener should provide frontcourt depth at 6-foot-9 with the ability to stretch the floor.

Bottom Line: Iowa is a difficult team to project in the preseason and the early projections are indicative of that. The Hawkeyes have been picked to finish as high as eighth in the Big Ten and as low as 11th. It’ll be a challenge for this group to finish in the top half of the league and make the NCAA tournament, but Jok and Uhl should be a solid one-two punch. Beyond that, McCaffery is going to need his young talent to step up to help fill in the production lost from guys like Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury and Anthony Clemmons.

Quotable: “Fran McCaffery’s team was 19-4 and 10-1 in the Big Ten, had home-road sweeps of Purdue and Michigan State under its belt, was universally regarded as a a top-five team/national title contender and was led by a brilliant senior season from Wooden Award candidate Jarrod Uthoff. That, of course, all came crashing down, and no one remembers how good Uthoff or the Hawkeyes were for about the first 70 percent of the season. That’s a shame. The point is the Hawkeyes lost Uthoff, guard Anthony Clemmons, point guard Mike Gesell and center Adam Woodbury. All four were seniors; Gesell and Woodbury started as freshmen. In their wake stands Jok, whose scoring prowess often lifted Iowa’s attack to new heights last season. Can he be as effective without so many weapons — let alone that much entwined, almost-telepathic experience — surrounding him? What is Iowa if he can’t?” –’s Eamonn Brennan.

PreviouslyRutgers, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois

(Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

Collin Hartman undergoes knee surgery, timetable for return unknown

Indiana senior forward Collin Hartman underwent knee surgery to repair damage in his left knee, the program announced on Wednesday evening.

Here’s the full statement released by IU:

Collin Hartman successful left knee surgery to repair damage from an injury sustained last week in a non-contact drill. His rehabilitation begins immediately and it is too early to determine a timetable for his return.”

Tom Crean also released the following statement: “Any time you see one of your players go down to injury, it tears you up as a person and as a program — even more so with it’s someone like Collin Hartman who has been a huge part of our success and is in his senior year. We all look forward to helping him recover and rehabilitate.”

Hartman, who started 24 games as a junior, averaged five points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.9 minutes per game last season. He shot 35.8 percent from behind the 3-point line.

The 6-foot-7 senior played several games at the end of last season with a fracture in his wrist, an injury he suffered in Indiana’s 72-69 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

It was initially believed that the wrist injury would require offseason surgery, but Tom Crean said in June that the wrist was put in a cast and did not require a procedure.

Following Hartman’s freshman season at Indiana, he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee after planting his knee wrong in a drill. As a result of that injury, Hartman missed Indiana’s trip to Montreal in August of 2014. He returned as a sophomore to play in 32 of Indiana’s 34 games.

Prior to his junior season, Hartman missed practice time with a rib injury. The Cathedral product is the only senior on Indiana’s roster for the upcoming season.

Indiana can begin practice for the 2016-2017 season on Friday.