Video: OG Anunoby interview at adidas Nations

Indiana sophomore forward OG Anunoby participated in adidas Global Nations earlier this month in California along with Hoosier teammate Thomas Bryant.

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express caught up with Anunoby for an interview, which is available below:

Video: 2017 center Luka Garza Peach Jam highlights

Class of 2017 The Maret School (D.C.) and Team Takeover big man Luka Garza picked up a scholarship offer from Indiana over the summer and was watched closely in July by the coaching staff. In the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam, Garza averaged 9.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and one block in 26.2 minutes per game.

With the help of Krossover, we recently broke down some film of Garza from the Peach Jam to provide Indiana fans with a feel for his game and style of play.

You can find more Nike EYBL highlights at Krossover.

A closer look at Indiana’s non-conference schedule

 We offered some initial thoughts on Indiana’s 2016-17 non-conference schedule several weeks ago, but now that all 13 opponents have been revealed, it’s time for a deeper dive into the slate the Hoosiers will face this winter.

While it’s impossible to predict where a particular opponent will finish next season in the various computer rankings, last season’s finishes combined with a rankings prediction for the upcoming season can at least provide a forecast.

As UMHoops pointed out recently, RPI is the only value that matters when evaluating a schedule after the fact for strength of schedule, but it isn’t much use in projecting how good teams on a schedule will be.

Bart Tolvik, who developed a ranking to forecast how good a particular team will be for the upcoming season, already has his preseason rankings out for the 2016-17 campaign. Using a variety of factors, including percentage of returning minutes, Tolvik projects that Indiana’s non-conference slate will include four top 50 opponents.

They are, in order, North Carolina (home), Kansas (neutral), Louisville (neutral) and Butler (neutral).

Beyond that, he projects the Hoosiers to play just one other team ranked in the top 200 with eight teams projected to rank 269 or lower. All eight of those games – UMass Lowell, Liberty, Mississippi Valley State, SIU Edwardsville, SE Missouri State, Houston Baptist, Delaware State and Austin Peay – will be played at Assembly Hall. (It’s important to note that a team in this list could surprise and outperform projections.)

Here’s a look at last season’s final KenPom, RPI and Sagarin rankings for all 13 of IU’s non-conference opponents for next season along with Tolvik’s rankings prediction for 2016-17.

1617schedule

Guarantee games are nothing new in college basketball, but with athletic departments set on filling a certain number of home dates, they’re a necessity.

The problem with these games, however, is they have very little value when the NCAA tournament selection committee sits down to evaluate a team’s overall body of work.

Indiana was penalized in last year’s selection process for eight wins against opponents ranked 200 or higher in the RPI. Three of those games were in conference (Minnesota twice and Rutgers). So while it was a surprise to some when the Hoosiers – the outright Big Ten regular season champion by two full games – received just a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, it probably shouldn’t have been.

Indiana played just the 87th toughest schedule in the country a season ago. Every team that landed a No. 4 seed ahead of Indiana in last year’s bracket played a schedule ranked in the top 25. Some of the lower than anticipated strength of schedule stemmed from playing two weaker than expected opponents in Maui – St. John’s and UNLV.

In 2016-17, it appears Indiana could again face an uphill battle when its strength of schedule is evaluated. With just five (presumed) opportunities before league play to get wins against the top 200, the Hoosiers won’t be able to afford a misstep like the one in Maui last November. (By contrast, Indiana had eight non-conference games last season against the RPI top 200.)

Rolling through the non-conference schedule with just one or two losses would set up Indiana with a solid base going into league play, but an unforeseen stumble or two could do just the opposite.

One thing to keep in mind is Indiana should get a strength of schedule boost in Big Ten play with a tougher slate than last season. Tolvik’s model projects just one Big Ten team outside of his top 200 and that is Rutgers which Indiana plays just once.

Beyond that, Indiana has double plays with Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan, all of which are projected to be top 75-ish teams.

Video: A look at Indiana’s offseason workouts

Via its official Twitter account, Indiana today released an in-depth video showing footage of offseason workouts with strength and conditioning coach Lyonel Anderson:

(Photo credit: IU basketball)

Freshman Focus: Curtis Jones

“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s four incoming freshmen. Over the summer we took an in-depth look at all four of IU’s freshmen. Today, our final profile: Curtis Jones. (Previously: Grant Gelon, Devonte Green, De’Ron Davis)

For the third time in four recruiting classes, Indiana dipped into the Boo Williams Nike Elite Youth Basketball (EYBL) program for a recruit.

In 2013, it was Troy Williams, who went on to play three seasons in Bloomington before departing as an early entrant for the NBA draft. In 2014, the Hoosiers landed Robert Johnson, who has started from day one in Bloomington and figures to play a major role on a 2016-17 roster that could contend for another Big Ten title. And in 2016, the Hoosiers landed one of the better combo guards in the country in Curtis Jones.

Jones, who arrived on campus in June at 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, is expected to carve out a role in a backcourt rotation that will also include Johnson, James Blackmon Jr., Devonte Green and Josh Newkirk.

“I’m impressed with his speed and athleticism,” Tom Crean said of Jones after signing him last winter. “I’m impressed with his quickness. He gets to the glass. He really changes speeds.”

In his final season on Nike’s EYBL circuit with Boo Williams, Jones played primarily off the ball. He averaged 16.1 points in 27.8 minutes per game and shot 35.4 percent from behind the 3-point line.

In EYBL play, over 48 percent of his shot attempts came from behind the 3-point line and he posted an above average effective field goal percentage of 53.

joneschart081716

And as a senior at Huntington Prep, Jones, along with McDonald’s All-American Miles Bridges, led the program to a 25-11 record while competing against a collection of teams that comprised one of nation’s most rigorous schedules.

“I was the leader, tried to be the leader,” Jones told Inside the Hall in April. “We had a lot of new pieces together so it kind of helped me to grow into a better leader. Telling them what to do and with them not really knowing the playbook and things like that.”

Now as a freshman, Jones will lean on familiar faces as he adjusts to basketball at the college basketball.

He was one of three IU freshmen to spend the summer on campus working out with returning players. He’s known Johnson since he was nine years old and his friendship with Bryant dates back to their days together at Huntington Prep.

That familiarity with Johnson and Bryant, along with his relationship with the coaching staff, were major reasons he chose Indiana.

“It helped a lot. When I got towards the end (of my recruitment), that was the place I felt most comfortable,” Jones told Inside the Hall in the spring. “With coach (Tom) Crean and coach (Tim) Buckley recruiting me and then knowing Rob (Johnson), Thomas (Bryant) and Troy (Williams) a little bit and I really loved (strength) coach Lyonel Anderson.”

The graduation of Yogi Ferrell means Indiana will be without the program’s career leader in both assists and games played.

That means an opportunity to play some point guard for several newcomers, including Jones, could be there. It’s a challenge Jones said he was looking forward to back in the spring.

“I played a lot of point guard this year, so just continuing to work on my point guard skills, but also scoring,” Jones said. “Coach (Tom) Crean wants me to increase my range, put weight on, post feeds with getting Thomas and De’Ron (Davis) the ball and changing speeds. A lot of small things that will help a lot.

“The way the system is, there’s a lot of people who can play point guard with Rob and James also. It’s not really a big thing. We’re all guards. We’re all basketball players.”

Thomas Bryant named preseason first team All-American by Blue Ribbon

Blue Ribbon revealed the cover for its annual college basketball yearbook today and it features the publication’s All-America picks for next season.

Indiana sophomore center Thomas Bryant is one of the five selections along with Maryland’s Melo Trimble, Duke’s Grayson Allen, Cal’s Ivan Rabb and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes.

As a freshman, Bryant averaged 11.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and one assists in 22.6 minutes per game. He shot 70.7 percent on 2-point field goals, which ranked fourth in the country.

Bryant also ranked in the top ten in the conference in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.

Mid-August 2017 Indiana basketball recruiting board update

The fall semester is upon us and we’re less than three months away from the early signing period for college basketball.

A few players have dropped off the recruiting board by virtue of commitments and list trims and several others have been added. We’ve again updated our recruiting board with the latest information on Indiana’s recruiting efforts for the class of 2017.

You can check out our latest 2017 Indiana basketball recruiting board, which includes updated national rankings, school lists and more, at the link below:

2017 Indiana basketball recruiting board

Video: 2017 big man Brandon Huffman at Pangos All-American Camp

Indiana has been tracking class of 2017 Word of God (N.C.) big man Brandon Huffman for quite some time and extended a scholarship offer on Saturday. Huffman was a teammate of former IU target Rawle Alkins last season at Word of God.

Huffman is ranked No. 211 nationally in the 247Composite, but has over 15 scholarship offers. Here’s a look at how the talented frontcourt player performed earlier in the summer at the Pangos All-American Camp, via Courtside Films:

McSwain on campus, Davis expected to arrive this weekend

Indiana’s complete 2016 recruiting class is expected to arrive on campus by this weekend.

Junior Freddie McSwain, who had to complete academic work over the summer at Neosho County Community College in Kansas, arrived in Bloomington on Sunday.

Freshman De’Ron Davis is expected to arrive on campus this weekend, according to his high school coach.

“He’s almost done and has done really well,” Danny Fisher told Inside the Hall on Monday morning. “Finishes this week and is expected to be on campus August 21.”

The fall semester begins for Indiana students on Monday, August 22.

Devonte Green, Grant Gelon and Curtis Jones were in Bloomington this summer taking classes and participating in offseason workouts with strength coach Lyonel Anderson, the IU coaching staff and teammates.

Practice for the 2016-17 season officially begins on September 30.

Indiana opens the regular season on Friday, November 11 against Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic in Hawaii.

Five-star Kris Wilkes trims list to five schools

One of Indiana’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2017, North Central forward Kris Wilkes, has narrowed down his recruitment from 11 schools to five.

Wilkes, a five-star prospect nationally according to the 247Composite, is now down a list that includes Indiana, Xavier, Illinois, UCLA and UConn.

The six schools eliminated from Wilkes list are Butler, Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, Washington and Arizona. Wilkes had previously planned to take an official visit to North Carolina.

Wilkes has an official visit scheduled to UCLA in September.

The 6-foot-8 forward had a busy summer with the Indy Hoosiers, an Under Armour sponsored grassroots program. He also tried out for the USA Basketball U18 team, was a core Indiana Junior All-Star, attended Steph Curry’s camp in California and participated in the Under Armour All-America Camp in Charlotte.

Wilkes averaged 22.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a junior for North Central.

Paul Scruggs, an AAU teammate with Wilkes on the Indy Hoosiers, has four schools in common with Wilkes on his list of finalists: Indiana, Xavier, Illinois and UConn.