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That’s A Wrap: Derek Elston

Jimmy V ClassicWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (31 games): 5.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 47.0% FG, 65.2% FT, 36.0% from three.

Thinking back on the season, I was under the impression Derek Elston only saw significant minutes the last few games of the season. This assumption isn’t quite true: Elston logged 20 or more minutes in games against USC Upstate, Maryland, Kentucky and Purdue inside Assembly Hall.

But against Ohio State at home? Six minutes. At Penn State? Seven minutes. Against Iowa in that disappointing loss at home? Nine minutes.

And this brings to mind one word to describe Elston’s season: sporadic.

When the freshman did see time on the court, he was a joy to watch; Elston is the type of player that always seems to be in the right place at the right time — putting back misses on the offensive end, snaking behind the defense for a clean look … Elston has a knack for the game and usually finds himself in the mix in a good way.

So why wasn’t this kid playing more all season in a year where playing time was certainly there for him?

Well, Tom Crean had a short leash with Elston. He’d pull him quickly if he lapsed defensively. If he failed to box his man out, he’d be taking a seat on the bench.

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That’s A Wrap: Christian Watford

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (31 games): 12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 37.5% FG, 80% FT, 19 blocks, 16 steals.

Considered one of the prized pieces of Indiana’s 2009 recruiting class, Christian Watford stepped onto campus in Bloomington with the expectation he’d make significant contributions from the get-go.

In fact, Tom Crean introduced him to fans at Hoosier Hysteria as the kid from Birmingham who had turned down the likes of Kentucky, Louisville and Memphis to be a Hoosier. This, as you would expect, drew quite a round of applause from the Assembly Hall faithful.

And for the most part, Watford lived up the expectations that come along with being a consensus top-50 recruit.

He was third on the team in scoring. He led the team in rebounding, despite being asked to play out of position for most of the season. He hit free throws at a remarkably efficient rate for a 6-9 freshman (116 of 145). He turned in one of his best performances in Indiana’s most impressive win of the season over Pittsburgh, scoring 18 points (12 of 15 FT) and grabbing five rebounds. He was named one of the five best freshman in the Big Ten by both the coaches and the media.

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Q & A: 2012 Medina forward Kenny Kaminski

Medina (OH) forward Kenny Kaminski shot onto the IU recruiting radar last spring and summer as a sharpshooter that can fill it up. The 6-7, 180-pound forward helped lead Medina to a 20-3 record as a sophomore and averaged close to 17 points and seven rebounds per game.

Kaminski has scholarship offers from Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State and Inside the Hall caught up with the 2012 forward on Tuesday for a Q & A:

On his high school season:

“We ended up 20-3, so it was really good. It was one of the best records Medina’s ever had. We ended up losing in the district championship to Avon Lake. Probably should have won the game, but they just played really well. They shot something like 67 percent and that’s hard to beat.”

On the upcoming AAU season:

“I’ll be with Indiana Elite with D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin. I played with them last year for one tournament in the Bob Gibbons and they’re a bunch of great guys and they have a great team. So Coach Adams invited me to come out for a practice, actually this last weekend and I did, and I’ve decided now that I’m going to stay with them all year.”

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That’s A Wrap: Daniel Moore

Big Ten Tournament: Indiana Hoosiers v Penn State Nittany LionsWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (28 games): 36 points, 14 of 17 FT’s, 20 rebounds, 11 steals, nine assists.

I debated whether we’d include Daniel Moore in our “That’s A Wrap” series.

It’s not that I’m not a Daniel Moore fan — I am — but sometimes it’s difficult to fill space writing about a player that logs just over seven minutes per contest. (Unless that player, of course, is Tijan. That’s a different story.)

Moore is exactly what any walk-on player at Indiana should be. He’s a hard-working, tough-nosed kid who, when given the opportunity to step on the floor, gives it his all. I’ve never watched Moore play a possession where he’s not going 100 percent, which is a compliment to the pride he exudes in his effort.

A season ago, he found himself in the starting lineup for 10 games, which is hard to believe. Despite the fact he was an Indiana All-Star, Moore’s only offer was from Boston University, who ironically, beat Indiana this season in Puerto Rico.

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Q & A: 2011 Warsaw guard Nic Moore

If the state of Indiana didn’t know the name Nic Moore prior to this season, they do now. The 5-9, 170-pound guard led Warsaw to a 23-3 record and the 4A state championship game, where the Tigers fell to North Central, 95-74. Moore scored 28 points in that game and will play AAU this spring and summer with Spiece. Inside the Hall caught up with Moore on Monday for a Q & A:

On Warsaw’s run to the state championship game and what he took from the season:

“When things got tough, I learned not to get mad and handle myself. It was a great season with me and all of the guys becoming like a family. After we lost the Noblesville game, we realized that rebounding was going to help us win, so that’s one thing we worked on in practice. North Central, they’re a good team, but it was a fun run.”

On the difference in the game against North Central:

“Their depth. They play like 13 guys, so if one of them got tired, someone just as good as them was coming in. So I think that’s what kind of hurt us.”

On the recruiting interest Indiana has shown:

“They were recruiting me and then everybody was getting ready for the tournament so it was kind of slow with everything. But now, Coach Crean came to our practice at Conseco and he was there at the game, so I think they’ll give me a call here later in the week after stuff settles down and talk to me.”

On schools that have offered a scholarship and the other schools showing interest:

“The schools that have offered are IPFW, Valparaiso, Evansville, Ohio University and St. Bonaventure. Ball State looks at me, Butler, Purdue, Michigan.”

On what the Indiana staff likes about his game and what he needs to work on:

“They like that I play hard and that I’m a leader. They want me to work on getting into the lane and dishing off.”

(Photo credit: IndyStar.com)

Some video highlights of Moore from Warsaw’s Semistate win over Carroll after the jump.

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That’s A Wrap: TIJAN

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (22 games): 108 minutes, 8 points, 14 rebounds, 26 fouls, literally thousands of fans’ hearts won.

Yes, sadly, it is that time. You might want to hit the DVR and grab a box of tissues, because we here at Inside the Hall are *sniffle* about to say our last goodbyes to Tijan Jobe.

I should probably lead this column off with a link to another piece of mine, written in the yesteryear of my misspent youth. I’m only doing it, really, to make you laugh, and because Jordan Cohen would call me on it if I didn’t.

So here it is: “Three reasons I love Tijan Jobe“.

Yes, yes, I know. It amazes me too. It really is shocking that there were only three.

In all seriousness, Tijan Jobe, all seven feet of him, will never be remembered for his statistics. But he had his moments. Like the time he waved his arms and nearly took down Lucas Oil Stadium after a nasty block against Gonzaga. Or when he played the top of the 1-3-1 for one play, a strategy that should have been used again but never was.

Yes, Mr. Jobe was a fan favorite — a badge he wore well — and by all accounts, worked as hard as any player who wore the uniform while he was in college.

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Observations from the 100th Indiana State Finals

For the first time since the launch of this blog, I made my way to Conseco Fieldhouse for the state finals on Saturday. I did not leave disappointed. My observations from the day begin … now:

+ Faces in the crowd: Tom Crean, accompanied by his son Riley, was in the house for the evening session. Decked out in crimson IU gear, Crean was positioned on the baseline and was easy to spot. Among the other coaches in attendance: Tubby Smith, Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, Roy Williams and Ohio State assistant coach Brandon Miller.

+ Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, Park Tudor (pictured): This was actually my first time watching Ferrell, a sophomore, and I was particularly interested in getting a good read given the recent scholarship offer by Indiana. Ferrell struggled from the field (7 of 21), but was still the most talented player in the 2A game, which Park Tudor lost to Wheeler 41-38. At 5-10, 160 pounds, size must be taken into consideration when evaluating Ferrell’s ceiling, but he did appear capable of playing in the Big Ten. He’s more of a scorer than a pure point guard, is stronger than he looks, makes intelligent decisions and has a really nice handle. In other words, I liked him. I’ll be interested to get another look at Ferrell this spring and summer when he’s not attacked by constant double teams.

+ Cody Zeller, Washington: The 6-9 junior forward continues to improve every time he steps on the court. Gary Wallace had no answer for Zeller on the glass, evidenced by the 26 rebounds he corralled, tying a 3A state finals record. Zeller has excellent hands and if he can continue to get stronger, he’ll be a handful on the boards at the next level. Offensively, he didn’t shoot particularly well, but was able to get to the foul line all evening. I continue to hear Butler, Indiana and North Carolina as three schools in solid standing with Zeller, but nothing to indicate he’s leaning in any particular direction.

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