As you may or may not know, Ryan and I are White Sox fans. (Eamonn is, unfortunately, a Cubs fan. But we still love him.) And part of being a fan of the Sox is the “Pick to Click.” So from our White Sox fandom, we’ve derived a new feature on Inside the Hall that we think you’ll enjoy.
Hoosier Hysteria is on the horizon and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2009-2010 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Derek Elston.
Derek Elston, the first player to commit to Indiana’s 2009 class, made the call to become a Hoosier in September of 2007. After his decision, he watched Indiana go from a top ten team during the 2007-2008 to a program decimated by Kelvin Sampson’s excessive phone calls. Once Tom Crean was hired, it only took a couple of conversations between the coach and the player to decide that Elston’s commitment was still a perfect fit.
At 6-8 and 225 pounds, the Tipton (IN) forward has the body to play inside and the versatility to step out and play the three. He averaged 19.8 ppg and 10.8 rpg his senior season and finished third in the voting for Mr. Basketball. His ability to rebound and defend will put him in position to play major minutes from day one. It’s not out of question that he could lead IU in rebounding this season.
What remains to be seen is how much Elston has improved his mid-range game over the summer. Mechanically, his stroke is very sound and if he can consistently knock down shots from the perimeter, he becomes a much tougher player to guard. He’s also a solid ball handler and when he doesn’t finish in the paint, he consistently gets to the line and knocks down free throws.
Hoosier Hysteria is on the horizon and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2009-2010 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Bawa Muniru.
Finding a potentially dominant big man at any level of basketball is not an easy thing to do. And even though he’d only been playing organized basketball for roughly five years, that’s exactly why high-major programs were lining up to recruit 7-0 Ghana native Bawa Muniru.
Muniru, who is awaiting word from the NCAA on his eligibility for the upcoming season, comes to Bloomington as somewhat of a mystery. He’s a solid 260 pounds with a physique that resembles a body builder more than it does a basketball player. At Madison Academy in Alabama, Muniru helped lead his school to three straight state titles before finishing his prep career at Mt. Zion Academy.
The key to Muniru’s development will be patience, hard work and persistence. Offensively, he appears to be very raw. The limited film available on him suggests he’s most comfortable receiving an entry pass deep enough where he can gather himself and go straight up for a dunk. On defense, he has the tools (a 7-3 wingspan) to become an excellent shot blocker and more importantly, a presence capable of locking down the lane.
The ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia is out this week and tucked on page 1196 is a computer based ranking of the top programs of all-time. The formula, composed by Jeff Sagarin, looks at wins and losses, scoring margin and an additional ranking that combines the first two factors.
The Big Ten placed five programs in the top ten: Indiana (5), Illinois (6), Purdue (8), Ohio State (9) and Iowa (10). And the four programs ahead of IU are, in order: Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas and North Carolina.
It’s hard to justify this formula as the best way to determine all-time greatness, but they did accurately peg what I perceive to be the top five. After that, Illinois ahead of Duke seems to throw up a red flag as does having Michigan State all the way down at No. 15.
From what I’ve been told, the book, which is 1,232 pages, is a must-have for college basketball fans. It’s packed with just about every pertinent fact from the game’s history: tournament brackets, polls, team histories and of course, these rankings. Update your Christmas lists accordingly.
Hoosier Hysteria is on the horizon and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2009-2010 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Christian Watford.
If Maurice Creek is the freshman most ready to contribute, Christian Watford is not far behind. A consensus top 50 recruit nationally, Watford chose the Hoosiers over Alabama, Kentucky, Memphis and Louisville. Both Tom Crean and Bennie Seltzer put a great deal of effort into his recruitment and were able to sell the Indiana as the place where Watford can best prepare his game for the next level. His commitment in early September of last year lifted Indiana’s class into the top ten nationally.
At 6-8 and 215, Watford is a versatile wing that can score from the perimeter and also finish on the block. His handle on the perimeter is solid enough to utilize a pull-up jump shot that he’s able to knock down consistently. Although he’ll need to bulk up to compete on the block in the Big Ten, his ability to finish in traffic with contact is already a strong suit of his game.
Naadir Tharpe, Scout.com’s No. 12 point guard nationally in the 2011 class, has a new school expressing interest: Indiana.
Assistant coach Tim Buckley watched the 5-11 point guard work out a couple of weeks ago at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports tweeted last week that the Hoosiers were coming on strong.
“It seems like we’re going to start building a relationship together,” Tharpe said. “I haven’t spoken to Coach Crean yet, but I was talking to one of the assistant coaches and he said that Coach Crean was going to come back up to Brewster to see me. So we’ll just see how that goes.”
Tharpe, who listed Arizona as his top school over the summer, appears to be wide open and is looking forward to learning more about the IU program.
“I really don’t know a lot about the program, but something I do know is that usually it’s a really good, winning program,” he said. “I know that Coach Crean is a really tough coach and he works his players hard to strive to be the best. I want to know more about Indiana, that’s why I’m going to keep on talking to the coaches.”
If you’re following us on Twitter, you may have noticed an update from Fox Sports writer Jeff Goodman regarding Indiana coming on strong for 2011 point guard Naadir Tharpe.
Tharpe is a 5-11 point guard at Brewster Academy (NH) and is rated No. 62 nationally by Scout.com and No. 80 by Rivals.com. In April, Tharpe told WildcatSportsReport.com that he could potentially re-classify to 2010: “It’s like this – I am at Brewster Academy right now and a 2011 player. I was looking things over with my Coach and if my grades are right and the college is perfect for me next year then I could possibly become a 2010 player.”
Here’s an interview with Tharpe, which was filmed in July at the adidas Super 64: