Austin Etherington built a reputation at Hamilton Heights as one of the best prep shooters in the country.
But as he closes in on the tip-off of his collegiate career, the freshman wing is out to prove he can contribute in a multitude of ways.
“I know people thought that I could only just shoot,” Etherington said. “I just go out and try to prove to everyone that I can play defense, cut to the basket and create shots for everyone else, too.”
All of those attributes were on display at Saturday’s “Haunted Hall of Hoops” scrimmage. Etherington scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and played solid defense for most of his 27 minutes of action.
The freshman from Cicero, Ind. knocked down two 3-pointers, had a steal and breakaway dunk and also completed a tough left-handed layup over Cody Zeller.
“Austin shot the ball really well,” assistant coach Tim Buckley said following the scrimmage. “I think the biggest thing for him, and younger guys in general, is playing through fatigue, playing through mistakes. But he has the ability to stretch the floor for us and shoot the ball.”
One of the biggest adjustments for most freshmen is the speed of the college game. With a couple of weeks of practice under his belt, Etherington said he’s getting accustomed to the quicker pace.
“It’s definitely a different pace. That’s one thing I’ve had to get used to,” he said. “It was at a speed that I’ve never played at before. I feel like now I’m starting to get into the rhythm and starting to find my game more.”
Assistant coach Steve McClain said he can see Etherington becoming more comfortable as he adjusts to things happening quickly around him on the floor.
13. Cody Zeller, F, Indiana
If Tom Crean turns things around at Indiana, getting Zeller to stay home and play for the Hoosiers will play a major part. The 6-foot-11 forward continued to expand his game late in his high school career, and his all-around skill set will be a tremendous asset in the Big Ten. If Zeller adds bulk, he is going to be tough to defend.
Will Sheehey, Soph., Indiana – Sheehey has no shortage of athletic ability – something Indiana fans know very well from his highlight-reel dunks. The Florida kid provided brief flashes of what he’s capable of doing last season as a freshman, although he was far too inconsistent in every facet of the game to garner serious minutes. That will change this year. 2010-11 stats: 4.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.4 apg
Cody Zeller’s arrival is garnering many of the national focus on this season’s Indiana team, but a substantially improved defense appears to be the key for the Hoosiers to climb out of the Big Ten cellar and into postseason play.
Indiana’s defensive numbers from a season ago leave plenty of room for improvement: In Big Ten play, the Hoosiers ranked 10th in defensive efficiency, 9th in effective field goal percentage defense and 11th in defending the three.
With just five days until the Hoosiers tip off exhibition play at Assembly Hall against the University of Indianapolis, here’s a rundown of what the coaches and players are saying about defense:
Head coach Tom Crean on specific players setting the bar defensively:
”Improvement-wise? Verdell Jones. Consistency-wise? Victor Oladipo. We got to get a bunch of guys that improve to the rate of Verdell. We’ve got to get a bunch of guys that have the rate of consistency defensively that Victor does. And Victor has to raise his standards consistently. Will [Sheehey] is getting closer to that. And what they need to understand is that team defense is such a difference-maker. And what we’re trying to get all of them to understand is that when you’re not guarding the ball, you’re always responsible for at least three things and you can not rest. You can not rest off the ball, you can not rest when the shot goes up, you can not rest on the weakside, you can not get hugged up on your man on the weakside … You can point out to any possession on the court, there’s one person guarding the ball, there’s four other people in a defensive position, there’s at least three things that they have to be responsible for. So the point being that that altertness, that awareness — all those things have got to play into it. And that’s what we’re looking for consistency-wise and improvement-wise.”
Assistant coach Tim Buckley on how the team responded to a challenge from Crean to step up the defense in the second half of Saturday’s Haunted Hall scrimmage:
“In order for our team to have the success we want to have, they’ve got to play together on both ends of the floor. I think sometimes any team can get caught ‘playing defense,’ but you have to get stops. That’s what your intent is, to get stops and when we do that and have that focus, we play much better as a team defensively.”
The 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers took the floor for their second public scrimmage of the season on Saturday night at Assembly Hall.
Inside the Hall has compiled over 20 high-definition quality highlights from the 30-minute “Haunted Hall” Cream vs. Crimson scrimmage in the embedded media player below: (Note: Expand the video to full screen by using the arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the player.)
Editor’s note: Due to the BTN owning the rights to air the scrimmage, media entities were limited to showing two minutes of footage.
After our second look at the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers, Inside the Hall breaks down Saturday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage with our notes and observations from the south end bleachers of Assembly Hall:
— Will Sheehey looks ready to breakout: The sophomore wing was the subject of heavy praise in a notebook by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com last week and was one of the most effective players in Saturday’s exhibition. Sheehey was aggressive looking for his shot off the dribble and appears to have more confidence after an offseason of improvement at the Indy Pro-Am and in the weight room. His toughness and swagger will likely propel him into the type of player that can get under the skin of the opposition. That’s something Indiana has lacked in recent seasons and Sheehey appears ready to fill the void.
— A quiet, but efficient night from Cody Zeller: The highly touted freshman from Washington picked up four fouls in the first 15 minutes, but said afterward he didn’t expect fouls to be much of an issue moving forward. The Crimson team didn’t do the best job feeding Zeller in the post, but he made the most of the opportunities he received around the rim. Zeller logged a total of 22 minutes and ran the floor hard the whole way.
— Christian Watford “getting there”: After missing time with a foot injury, Watford said he’s still trying to get his wind back after returning earlier this week. The Birmingham native made a living at the foul line (8-of-11) and looked to be moving well in his 20 minutes of action.
Austin Etherington (10 points, five rebounds, one block, one steal, one assist), Christian Watford (12 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal), Cody Zeller (12 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal) and Matt Roth (17 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal) met with the media following Saturday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to what all four players had to say in high-definition quality video in the embedded media players below: