Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson commits to Ohio State

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Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson will play in the Big Ten next season as the former Hokie center picked Ohio State over his two other finalists, Indiana and Purdue.

“Well it’s official I’m a Ohio State Buckeye,” Thompson said Sunday on his Twitter account.

The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.

Thompson, who averaged five points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a freshman in Blacksburg, committed to the Buckeyes on an official visit to Columbus that concluded today.

The 7-foot, 220 pound big man will be eligible beginning with the 2015-2016 season unless the NCAA grants him a waiver to play immediately.

Prior to the Ohio State visit, Thompson’s father Ryan, a former MLB outfielder, broke down the most important factors in his son’s decision in an interview with Inside the Hall.

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Video: James Blackmon Jr. interview at Nike Hoop Summit

Via Pete Christopher of Oregon Live:

(Note: Video may be unavailable on mobile devices.)

That’s A Wrap: Defense

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, the final installment: Indiana’s defense.

Final stats (32 games): 67.6 ppg, 41.2 FG %, 46.2 eFG %, 29.9 3P FG%, 35.6% FTR.

Indiana’s season was epitomized by its ups and downs. From the optimism of a 63-52 win against Michigan to the shock of an 11-point collapse to Penn State in the final minutes in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers’ defense was prone to exactly that throughout the 2013-2014 season.

After losing almost all of their regular contributors over the offseason prior, the Hoosiers found a new identity that emphasized switching defenses and catching the opponents off-guard. It resulted in varying degrees of success throughout the season.

The Hoosiers held opponents to just a 29.9 clip beyond the arc this season — the best rate Indiana coach Tom Crean has ever had as a head coach. Despite the Hoosiers being undersized at times, opponents rebounded only 28 percent of their misses — also the best rate Crean has had as a head coach.

The highlights were plentiful on the defensive side this season: the main one being the Hoosiers shutting Michigan down in Assembly Hall on Feb. 2, and Wolverines coach John Beilein saying after the game “we hadn’t seen anything like” what the Hoosiers implemented, defensively. Another was the Hoosiers’ 72-64 win over Ohio State exactly a month later, when the defense held the Buckeyes to an 0-for-11 clip from beyond the arc.

But again, this was an up-and-down season.

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Around the Hall: Blackmon Jr. tops list of incoming Big Ten freshmen

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Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

· James Blackmon Jr. tops the list of incoming Big Ten freshmen according to Tom Dienhart of BTN.com.

· Indiana signee Robert Johnson lived up to his billing and was named the All-Metro player of the year in Richmond.

· The Hoosiers have expressed interest in Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson along with Washington, San Diego State, Arizona, Iowa State, New Mexico and others.

· Indiana is mentioned with Canadian class of 2014 big man Link Kabadyundi according to Hoops Hype Canada.

· The official IU Athletics YouTube account has highlights of Will Sheehey’s play in the 2014 Reese’s All-Star Game.

· Austin Etherington is scheduled to visit Butler, Missouri State and potentially New Mexico.

· Class of 2014 Morgan Park (Ill.) forward Josh Cunningham will take his fifth and final official visit this weekend.

· Dan Hanner of RealGM is out with his way-too-early projections for the 2014-2015 season.

· Despite multiple reports otherwise, the father of Michigan guard Nik Stauskas maintains that his son is undecided on the NBA.

· The Washington Post evaluates Maryland’s roster for next season following three transfers that were announced this week.

· Penn State freshman guard Graham Woodward has decided to leave the Nittany Lions program.

That’s A Wrap: Offense

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Indiana’s offense.

Final stats (32 games): 72.3 ppg, 44.8 FG %, 49.8 eFG %, 34.3 3P FG%, 73.0 FT %, 45.3 % FTR.

After spending back-to-back season as one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, Indiana’s offense took a couple steps back in 2013-2014.

It was easy to see why. Gone were Cody Zeller’s and Victor Oladipo’s high-percentage looks. Gone too was the precision of Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls from distance. All four were also crucial members of Indiana’s transition attack, and all four moved on. And instead of three upperclassmen in the starting lineup, this season’s offense featured three freshman.

While Yogi Ferrell took steps forward and Noah Vonleh was overpowering at times, it simply wasn’t enough to make up for the departed. After finishing third nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2012-2013 and fourth in 2011-2012, Indiana fell to 127th this past season.

The turnovers were a big part of it. As has long been discussed, the Hoosiers’ sloppy play and poor decision making had them forfeiting 21.8 percent of their possessions for the season (310th nationally) and 21.9 percent in conference play (12th). But Indiana also squandered points by getting their shots blocked at a high rate as well (12.4 percent: 331st nationally, 13.2 percent: 12th in conference).

Six seasons in, these two areas have been consistent low spots for Indiana’s offense under Tom Crean in conference play:

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That’s A Wrap: Evan Gordon

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Evan Gordon.

Gordon (32 games): 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 40 FG%, 81.0 FT% in 20.4 minutes per game.

When Evan Gordon announced that he was coming home to play his final season at Indiana last spring, he noted several reasons for his decision to leave Arizona State. Proximity to family and the masters of sports administration program in Bloomington were among the reasons he listed, but ultimately, the chance to fill a lifelong dream seemed to be the biggest of all.

“Being from Indiana, going to IU is probably the second greatest accomplishment besides playing in the NBA,” Gordon told Inside the Hall on May 15.

As the younger brother of a former IU player, Eric, Gordon had a chance to watch the program up close during the 2007-2008 season, a year in which the Hoosiers were nationally ranked and near the top of the Big Ten standings.

“At the end of the day, they are one of the biggest and best programs in the country,” Gordon explained. “It doesn’t get much of a bigger stage than IU.”

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That’s A Wrap: Jeff Howard

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Jeff Howard.

Howard (23 games):  0.9 points, 0.9 rebounds, 45.5 FG%, 66.7 FT% in 5.6 minutes per game.

Little was expected of senior walk-on Jeff Howard entering his final season in Bloomington.

Through his first three seasons as a Hoosier, the Westfield product had accumulated a total of seven points in 77 minutes. As a walk-on in major college basketball, those type of numbers typically come with the territory.

But as the 2013-2014 season moved along, Howard carved out a role as a guy who the coaching staff trusted in key situations. Maybe it was his experience or maybe it was a lack of complete comfort with the other frontcourt options, but Howard actually registered double figure minutes in three straight conference games, something that would have been unthinkable when the season started.

In IU’s first of two Big Ten road wins on Jan. 11 in State College, Howard played just six minutes, but totaled four points and three rebounds and was on the floor for defense down the stretch. In total, he would appear in 15 of IU’s 18 regular season Big Ten games, scoring in five of them.

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