With signing day just two weeks away, we continue our photo gallery series looking at Indiana’s class of 2012. Check out 24 photos by Jamie Owens of Lawrence Central senior wing Jeremy Hollowell in the embedded gallery after the jump. (Previously: Ron Patterson)
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Austin Etherington.
Is it possible “The Movement” started with Austin Etherington?
When the Hamilton Heights product gave his verbal pledge in August of 2009, he was just the second Indiana native to commit to the Hoosiers in the Tom Crean era. And over the 15 months following his decision, Etherington made it a point to recruit others to join him in Bloomington.
I remember standing courtside after a pool play game at the 2010 adidas Invitational listening to Etherington talk about his goals for the summer. Rather than bringing up the back injury he had just returned from or individual accolades, he simply uttered four words with a smile: “Get Cody. Get Cody.”
It was Etherington who spent time with Zeller and Hanner Perea behind the IU bench at last year’s “Night of the Living Red.” Yogi Ferrell joined them in Bloomington the following day.
Less than a month later, Zeller’s Letter of Intent was signed and Ferrell and Perea were verbal commitments in the 2012 class.
On the court, Etherington built a reputation in high school as one of the state’s best shooters. At 6-foot-6, he’s big enough to get his shot over most backcourt defenders and when given an opening, he’ll connect from all over the perimeter.
Defense, lateral quickness and ball handling are probably his three biggest areas for improvement as he begins his career.
Indiana will be improved this season. No, they won’t win 20 games and I’d be shocked if the Hoosiers make the NCAA tournament. They’ll probably make an appearance in one of those irrelevant postseason events such as the CBI or CollegeInsider.com, maybe even the NIT.
But Crean and his staff are taking steps — both on and off the court. Indiana should win 16 or so games, which will be enough to keep the rabid Hoosiers fans in check for another year.
That’s when IU basketball should return to the national landscape, possibly even a mainstay in the Top 25.
Then everyone will forget about the potential marriage of Stevens and Indiana that many whisper about in these parts.
The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward … (Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)
Damon VanHook writes via Facebook: During Hoosier Hysteria, Christian Watford was in a boot, Why and for how long?
Alex Bozich: Watford was held out of Hoosier Hysteria after suffering a minor injury to his right foot, but is not expected to miss a significant amount of time. He seemed to be moving well on it during the player introductions at Hysteria and even did a little dancing, so holding him out was likely a precautionary measure. Saturday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops at Assembly Hall should give us a better idea of where things stand with Watford.
@alex_idle writes: How big of a role will Remy Abell have in this offense this year? Used as an energizer on offense?
Alex Bozich: Abell’s main duties will be to take care of the ball and get into the lane and finish or distribute to teammates. He probably won’t take a ton of perimeter shots, but he’s capable of knocking them down when given the opportunity.
But back to his ability to get into the lane because it’s something Tom Crean has talked about quite a bit: This is a dimension IU didn’t have a season ago. If Abell is able to do it consistently, he’ll play a fair share of minutes because it will cause defenses to collapse. That in turn will open up outside shooters and create opportunities to dump the ball off to the post.
@HoosierDaddy10 writes: how is Verdells playing time and position going to shake out this season in your opinion. Starter?
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Remy Abell.
Austin Etherington was Tom Crean’s first recruit of the 2011 class. The Hamilton Heights product was also well known to IU fans for his recruiting efforts of Cody Zeller, the big prize of the class.
But fellow freshman Remy Abell comes to Bloomington under far less notable circumstances.
After being released from a National Letter of Intent at Bradley due to the school’s firing of coach Jim Les, Abell visited in late April and committed shortly thereafter — picking Indiana over Butler, Penn State, Western Kentucky and Xavier.
So what should be expected from the Kentucky native?
Well, he figures to provide perimeter/backcourt depth off the bench. Abell has the ability to get to the rim off the dribble, which could provide a nice change of pace for Indiana’s offensive attack this season. He also possesses the versatility needed to play both on and off the ball, giving the Hoosiers some potential for lineup flexibility.
And Crean added this about Abell’s defense on Twitter after he committed: “He is a big guard who will have an immediate impact defensively with his ability to guard three positions.”
Abell’s shooting still leaves a bit to be desired and his overall game, like most freshmen, could use some polish. But he has the tools to contribute on both sides of the ball out the gate.
Q: Translating all of that on to the court, what do you think are the areas where this will make the most improvement?
A: It’s gotta make the most difference defensively. There’s no doubt about it. It’s gotta start with our transition defense which was good not great. In this league and against really good teams, you’re gonna have some jailbreak type run-outs at certain points. When I use the term jailbreak, guys are sprinting up the court for their life with that ball. You’re only gonna have one, maybe two guys back. For us, that was Jordan (Hulls) and Verdell (Jones) a lot and they were not very good at getting that ball stopped at all and people were able to take them on. At the same time, you lose games if you’re constantly at a disadvantage numbers wise on the break and we had too much of that. Our big man have to do a much better job of sprinting back. Our wings have gotta get back and help inside out. That’s the first area. And I think the other area is we’ve gotta guard multiple actions better, which means more athleticism, more strength allow you control the ball a little bit better. It allows you to play in a short space a little bit better, and then the big thing is where the physical strength and the awareness come in is the weakside defense, especially the weakside rebounding. We were not a good weakside rebounding team last year because we were not physical enough. Weakside rebounding comes down to who hits first. Holding your position, and you’re gonna have a lot of mismatches, because in rotation defense you’re constantly gonna be in a situation where people are gonna be matched up against people who are not at their position. Our guards have gotta be much better at being able to block out bigger people.
Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on. (Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)
+ Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports believes that Will Sheehey will be an all-league player before he leaves Bloomington.
+ WIBC-FM (93.1) has been named the home for IU men’s basketball in the Indianapolis area this season.
+ Gary Harris Sr. says his son, who visited Kentucky over the weekend, will make his decision this fall.
+ Indiana’s November 16 game at Evansville will tip at 7 p.m.
+ The NCAA will vote Friday on a proposal to immediately enact a baseline APR requirement of 900 to participate in postseason play.
+ Eric Gordon is participating in a Big Blue All-Stars vs. Villains exhibition game tonight at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
+ Former Illinois forward Jereme Richmond, who left after just one season in Champaign, is back in jail.