It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Maurice Creek.
Maurice Creek’s 2011-2012 season won’t produce the much anticipated comeback that many were hoping to witness.
For the third time in 22 months, the Maryland native suffered a serious injury and as a result, Creek will miss the entire season. The latest setback — a torn left Achilles — occurred just days before the Hoosiers reached the official start of practice.
What does the injury mean for Creek’s future? How it will affect this year’s team? Let’s dive in.
Creek will redshirt and assuming he’s able to return after a full season off, he would be a member of the 2014 graduating class with Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey. What’s not certain, however, is that he’ll ever be the same player that lit up Kentucky for 31 points at Assembly Hall in December of 2009. Coming back from one major injury is difficult enough. But three? An uncertain road lies ahead for Creek.
“It is really hard to put into context what has happened with him,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said about Creek’s injury situation. “But the one thing that I can put into context is that he is one tough young man. He embodies the spirit that we want this program to be about. When you look at a situation where, not only has he had one major injury and surgery, not only has he had two major injuries and surgeries, but he has now had three in less than 22 months.”
2014 guard Johnnie Vassar of La Lumiere was an unofficial visitor at last Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria and is among the top 50 players nationally in an early set of rankings published by CBSSports and MaxPreps. Vassar and La Lumiere tipped off the 2011-2012 season with three games last Sunday at the Vincennes Jamboree at Vincennes University.
Inside the Hall was there and we’ve compiled close to 90 seconds of highlights of the southpaw guard 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.)
Read scouting notes from our first look at Vassar after the jump.
The Indiana University men’s basketball team will hold its Haunted Hall of Hoops on Saturday, October 29 in Assembly Hall. Admission is free. Doors to Branch McCracken Court will open 30 minutes following the conclusion of the IU/Northwestern football game which begins at Noon.
“This event has grown each year and it is something our players and coaches enjoy being a part of,” said IU Coach Tom Crean. “Anytime we can play in front of a crowd this time of year we want to do it to help prepare us for down the road. This really serves as a second public exhibition game for our fans.”
A Cream and Crimson scrimmage will begin around 4:15. A little bit after 5 p.m., the annual costume parade should take place followed by a group photo with the Hoosiers. Players will then be available on the court for the kids and will also hand out a bag of treats which include candy and an autographed trading card.
As Tom Crean addressed a near capacity Hoosier Hysteria crowd on Saturday night at Assembly Hall, the chants were impossible to ignore.
“GA-RY HARR-IS. GA-RY HARR-IS. GA-RY HARR-IS.”
Over. And over. And over again.
A solid 30 seconds from 16,100 screaming fans. Harris, wearing a red hoodie in the north end bleachers, smiled. Had Crean not interrupted and continued speaking, it may have gone on all night.
In today’s landscape, interest in recruiting has exploded. Twitter, Facebook, message boards, web sites (like this one) and the expansion of player rankings have made it easier than ever to follow.
Want video of a player? Head over to YouTube. Want to know the schools he’s considering? Check out his profile on Scout.com. Want to know the visits he’s got planned? ESPN may have you covered. Want to observe a recruit interacting with friends? Follow him on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook.
It’s all there, easier to access than ever before. All of this coverage, however, tends to quickly shift the focus onto the next big thing in recruiting.
Once Cody Zeller committed and signed last November, it was on to Yogi Ferrell. Once Ferrell pledged, attention moved to Jeremy Hollowell. With Hollowell on board, all eyes shifted to Harris. And after Harris decides, another name will surface as the next “must-have” player.
It’s a cycle that’s repeating at programs across the country.
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Christian Watford.
Christian Watford established himself as Indiana’s go-to scorer early in his sophomore campaign.
But his Big Ten was a mixed bag, one that came with some rough shooting performances and a wrist injury that sidelined him for three contests. A few of those poor offensive performances: vs. Penn State (1-5, three points), at Minnesota (2-13, two points) and at Illinois (1-8, seven points).
All three games resulted in a Hoosier loss.
At times, Watford found himself down on the block in a power forward role, and struggled to get off assertive shot attempts against the opposing defender. His defensive effort was also lacking, which led to easy scores for the other team on numerous occasions.
Still, Watford saw much improvement year over year in the candy stripes, improving his shooting (39.8 to 47.6 eFG%), turnover rate (19.1 to 14.0 percent), free throw rate (45.3 to 49.0 percent) and free throw shooting (80.0 to 84.3 percent). That strong percentage at the line ranked the Alabama native in a tie for second in the conference.
And as he enters his junior season, word has trickled out from Bloomington that he’s matured and now understands the work it really takes to reach the next level.
Watford half transitioned out to the wing last season. With Cody Zeller and the potential emergence of Derek Elston, Watford may find himself in that role more exclusively in 2011-12, which appears to be his more natural fit. He likely won’t have to take on so much of the offensive burden this season, and may receive easier looks in the context of an offensive flow instead of the contested shots he took in the Big Ten season.
With signing day on the horizon, we’ll be using the next couple of weeks to take a photographic look at four of Indiana’s five current 2012 recruits. Check out 18 photos by Jamie Owens of Broad Ripple senior guard Ron Patterson in the embedded photo gallery after the jump.