When Indiana coach Tom Crean chose to offer Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft a scholarship over the summer, the Hoosiers coach said he saw “a lot on the table left for him.” What could have the Hoosiers’ coach potentially seen in the Redbirds’ seventh-leading scorer that was worthy enough of offering a scholarship with limited spots available?
“I think Nick is going to be a fantastic leader,” Crean said during the Montreal trip. “It’s going to take him a little while to get used to and get comfortable and all those things with the team, but we’re highly confident that he will.”
In the Hoosiers’ five-game tour of Canada, the 6-foot-4 Zeisloft showed some of the on-court value he has: averaging 8.8 points and hitting 11-of-20 3-point attempts. On a team that simply lacked 3-point shooters, Zeisloft already has showed he can be a solution.
On Monday at the Hoosiers’ first practice of situational five-on-five action, Zeisloft’s leadership role was already apparent, as well. The former Illinois State captain played a major role in communicating with his teammates, leading huddles and providing intensity on the court.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Zeisloft said. “A lot of fun just being very vocal with all of my teammates and them being vocal at me, helping me out if I make a mistake and if they make a mistake I’ll help them, as well. Whenever a team has each other’s backs, see, that’s the most fun about it. That’s when the win you most, too, is when you have every teammate’s back.”
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Troy Williams.
If the Hoosiers are to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament, a sophomore leap from Troy Williams could go a long way in making it a reality.
Coming into Tom Crean’s program last summer from Oak Hill Academy, Williams’ athleticism and love of the home run play were never in doubt. But as the 2013-2014 season went along, the Virginia product suffered from a prolonged case of freshman-itis. He tried to do too much and was often too fast with the ball in his hands (24.8 turnover percentage). While his 2-point field goal percentage led the team (56.9 percent) thanks to a nice ability to score at the rim, his free throw shooting (67.6 percent) and 3-point shooting (20.7 percent) suffered. Williams missed assignments on defense and lacked awareness at times on both sides of the ball.
The good news?
Crean has proven if a young, raw player puts in the time and commitment to his program, he’ll get better. And on the Canada trip, Williams indeed appears to be sporting an improved all-around game.
He stuffed the statsheet during the five-game tour (18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game) and revealed a left-hand injury that prevented him from using both hands during last season is a thing of the past. While Williams’ shot so far appears improved, his greatest chance at success on offense may be attacking off the dribble and scoring off the baseline. And an improved cast of shooters around him may give him more space to do so. Improved decision-making as he breaks down the defense should lead to a) less turnovers and b) a higher assist rate.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Emmitt Holt.
Adding a player in late August, particularly a freshman, isn’t common in college basketball, but that’s exactly what happened with Indiana and Emmitt Holt.
The 6-foot-7, 225 pound forward from Rochester, New York had originally opted to reclassify to the 2015 and attend Vermont Academy with the hopes of growing his game and his recruitment.
But Indiana’s need for additional frontcourt help led new assistant coach Chuck Martin to inquire with Holt about taking a visit to Bloomington and moving back to the 2014 class. Holt made his visit to Bloomington in late August and committed while on the trip.
The decision to add Holt, who averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game as a senior at Webster Schroeder High School, should give the Hoosiers another option in the frontcourt who can help right away, particularly on the glass.
A pair of class of 2015 Indiana recruiting targets have set dates for their college announcements.
Jefferson City (Mo.) forward O.G. Anunoby told Inside the Hall over the weekend that he would “probably” announce his decision on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and confirmed those plans on Sunday evening.
The 6-foot-8 forward took official visits to Georgia, Indiana and Iowa. He’s rated the No. 241 player nationally according to the 247Composite.
Owasso (Okla.) guard Shake Milton, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, also set a date for his college announcement.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Jeremiah April.
The midseason departure of Luke Fischer and subsequent decision by Noah Vonleh to enter the 2014 NBA Draft left Indiana in need of front line depth last spring.
Spring recruiting, with the exception of a few top flight guys who wait to sign each year, can boost the stock of lower rated prospects as schools move quickly to fill roster spots. In the case of Jeremiah April, his commitment was a major surprise because he came from off the radar.
April, a 6-foot-11, 240 pound center, who is from Joliet, Illinois, played last season at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, Arizona. His recruitment picked up last spring when IU, Arizona State, Marquette and Washington State all offered scholarships. Originally a member of the 2013 class, April did a postgraduate year at Westwind Prep and averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds, according to coach Jai Steadman.
“He just turned 18 and he’s got huge upside. He can score, he’s played against the best,” Steadman told Inside the Hall back in April. “He’s athletic, runs the floor, has a high motor and high basketball IQ. He should be ready to go.”
But unfortunately for April, his career at Indiana hasn’t gotten off to a smooth start. He missed all five of IU’s games in Canada with a left ankle injury. Minutes in those exhibition games would have been valuable for April, who from most indications is going to need time to develop into a reliable contributor.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Tim Priller.
The news seemingly came out of nowhere on a late-April night. 6-foot-9 Tim Priller, a name Hoosiers fans had yet to hear of, announced his commitment to Indiana on April 26, becoming the Hoosiers’ fifth member of their 2014 recruiting class.
As the news broke, the picture surrounding Priller’s recruitment began to form. After the season ended, Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley watched Priller in action at his high school in Richland, Texas. Weeks later, Indiana coach Tom Crean and associate head coach Steve McClain followed and watched Priller and then extended a scholarship offer. Priller committed without even visiting.
Conversation started to form, as well, of what made the Hoosiers so interested in a player who only had other offers from Albany, Illinois-Chicago, Drexel and Lamar. During his senior season, Priller shot 51 percent from behind the arc. He also shot 48 percent from the floor, overall, 78 percent from the free throw line and also was the team’s target on game-ending plays.
That said, Richland coach Richard Bacon noted the Hoosiers will have to work with Priller to further develop him. But the benefits of doing that, he said, will outweigh any negatives of adding him to the mix.
“He’s got to get a little stronger, and he knows that,” Bacon said. “Like I told coach Crean, they’re going to appreciate more, and the fans of Indiana are going to appreciate him more and more the more they see the kid. The more they’re around him, the more they’ll say ‘Wow, I didn’t know he could make that shot,’ or ‘Wow, I didn’t know he could do this.’
“He’s been doing this for quite a while.”
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Robert Johnson.
Robert Johnson’s commitment to Indiana in September of 2013 was a stabilizer for the program’s class of 2014 recruiting efforts. After James Blackmon Jr. opted to reopen his recruitment a little more than a month before, the Hoosiers entered last fall without a commitment.
Johnson was a player the Hoosier staff scouted heavily in the summer and his strong play with the Boo Williams Nike Elite Youth Basketball League team boosted his national profile significantly. In order to land Johnson, Indiana had to go into Richmond, Virginia and beat out the likes of North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State, which was no easy task.
When it came time for Johnson to make his announcement, most had him pegged for North Carolina, which made his decision to don the cream and crimson a major recruiting coup for the program.
So why was Indiana the right place for Johnson? Simply put, he felt like he was really needed in Bloomington.