With three lottery picks in the last two years, Indiana has established itself as one of the top programs in terms of developing NBA talent in recent seasons.
And now some of that talent is returning to Bloomington to work out this week, sources tell Inside the Hall.
Former Indiana All-Americans Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, who will appear Wednesday evening at IU’s “on the road” tour stop at Lucas Oil Stadium, are expected to workout in IU’s facilities this week.
In addition to Oladipo and Zeller, five members of the Miami Heat will also workout in Bloomington: Dwyane Wade, a former player for Tom Crean at Marquette, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts.
Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Troy Williams. Previously: Nick Zeisloft, Devin Davis.
Plenty of storylines emerged over IU’s five-game tour of Montreal and Ottawa. Among them: IU’s improved ball movement, the perimeter shooting of Nick Zeisloft and the play of freshman guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson.
However, the most intriguing of all of them may have been the play of sophomore Troy Williams. In five games, the sophomore wing from Hampton (Va.) put up impressive numbers: 18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 27.8 minutes per game.
It was a major swing from what Indiana fans saw out of Williams as a freshman. While effective at times, he was inconsistent and struggled with his shooting from the perimeter. In Canada, Williams laid off the perimeter shots and instead, focused on attacking off the dribble and scoring often off of baseline drives. Williams credited his health as a major reason for the improved play.
“Last year I had a hand injury – I always had my left hand bandaged,” he said. “Now that it is healed, it feels better. I have always been comfortable with the ball, I just couldn’t use both hands last year. Now that I have both back, it is much easier for me to handle the ball again.”
More important than the scoring, however, was the variety of ways in which Williams was able to impact the game.
Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Devin Davis. Previously: Nick Zeisloft.
With the departure of Noah Vonleh to the NBA, Indiana lost arguably the best defensive rebounder in the Big Ten. At times, Vonleh could control the defensive boards on his own, but without him, much is going to be asked of both IU’s guards and frontcourt players this season when it comes to hitting the glass.
One of the guys who IU hopes can step up to fill some of the void is Devin Davis, who is expected to have a significant role in IU’s frontcourt as he enters his sophomore season. IU’s trip to Montreal gave us a first glimpse at the offseason progress made by the Indianapolis native.
He appears to have put on close to 10 pounds of muscle since last season and in five games in Canada, Davis put up solid numbers: 8 points (77.8 FG%), 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 turnovers, 1.2 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.6 steals in 21.4 minutes per game.
“Coach Crean talks to me about being consistent and going to the glass every time,” Davis explained after IU’s win over UQAM to close out the trip. “So I try to go every time and if the ball bounces my way, I do my best to come up with it.”
Emmitt Holt, a 6-foot-7 forward who graduated from Webster Schroeder (NY) this past spring and opted to head to Vermont Academy for a postgraduate season, will visit Indiana beginning tomorrow and could become the sixth member of the 2014 class for the Hoosiers.
At the AAU Nationals in July in Louisville, Holt averaged 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in nine games as his Albany City Rocks team finished second in the event. During the 2014 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) season, he averaged 11.6 points (60.2 FG%), 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
In his final season at Webster Schroeder, Holt averaged 19.8 points, 14.6 rebounds and five blocks and was a finalist for the Mr. Basketball award in New York.
Here’s a look at some highlights of Holt’s final high school season:
Indiana is still actively recruiting for the class of 2014, but at least one of the names who was being mentioned as a potential addition will not join the program.
As first reported by Mike Miller of The Herald-Times, Inside the Hall has confirmed that Indiana will no longer host forward Ray Kasongo for a visit.
The 6-foot-9 Kasongo, who is from just outside of Toronto, Canada, was denied admission to Oregon, where he originally signed, in late June despite being a NCAA qualifier.
Several schools have expressed interest in Kasongo in recent weeks, including Kansas, Indiana and LSU.
He had planned to visit Bloomington this week, but was not admitted to the university, according to sources.
Indiana is still pursuing forward Emmitt Holt, who had reclassified to 2015, but is being pursued by the Hoosier staff as a 2014 recruit. Holt is expected to take an official visit to Bloomington beginning on Monday.
Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Nick Zeisloft.
When Nick Zeisloft emerged as a potential offseason addition for Indiana, the move was met with plenty of skepticism from Indiana fans. With limited scholarships available, why were the Hoosiers looking to add the seventh leading scorer from Illinois State with two years of eligibility remaining?
Over five games in Canada, we learned exactly why as Zeisloft showed that he’s capable of being a valuable piece for the upcoming season. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 8.8 points and hit 11 of the 20 shots he attempted from behind the 3-point line. On a team with plenty of perimeter players who can create off the dribble, a shooter like Zeisloft holds tremendous value when ball handlers drive and kick.
And after working with the team for only few practices before departing for Canada, it did not appear as though Zeisloft needed much time to get incorporated with his teammates.
“He’s feeling his way,” Tom Crean explained. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 21, 22, 42, 52, you walk in a new environment and it’s going to be different. But we have high expectations for Nick, extremely high expectations for him. Like I said when we started studying his film when this became a possibility, we felt there was a lot on the table left for him. There is and we’re going to keep pushing him, but I think he really wants it and he’s an extremely hard worker.”
Indiana’s five-game tour of Montreal and Ottawa wrapped on Wednesday afternoon and the Hoosiers returned home to Bloomington with a 4-1 record, much needed experience and plenty to work on before the start of practice.
Inside the Hall was there for each of the five exhibition games and you can read all of our coverage from the trip at this link. But with so much to digest in such a short period of time, our coverage from the trip is not done.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from what we saw in Canada:
· It’s early, but the first vibe from this team is a positive one: One thing I tried to do with each of the games was not turn them into a bigger deal than what they actually were. It’s August, the competition was up (Ottawa and Carleton) and down (McGill, Laval and UQAM) and the game is different with FIBA rules.
That said, there just already seems to be a cohesiveness forming with this group that I never observed last season. That’s not to say that chemistry was the overriding issue with Indiana a season ago, but there’s value in having a group of players who genuinely like each other on and off the court.
Following Indiana’s final win in Montreal, both Troy Williams and Robert Johnson talked about the chemistry and how it’s coming along so far.
“Off the court, anyone can hang out with anyone,” Williams explained. “I can hang out with Stan (Robinson) and Devin (Davis) one day and then the next day I could hang out with Jeremiah (April) and Tim (Priller). We all get along with each other so well.”
“I think it is coming along really good,” Johnson said. “From day one, whenever we went out and did different things, we always did it as a team. From what they tell me, last year it wasn’t always like that, so from that standpoint it is good and it has helped bring us together even more.”