Matt Green is no stranger to coaching elite, high-major talent.
The Eric Gordon All-Stars coach led a stacked roster this past summer that included Hamilton Southeastern’s Zak Irvin, Heritage Christian’s Basil Smotherman and Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr.
And last night, Davis, a versatile 6-6 wing, ended his recruiting process early with a verbal commitment to Indiana.
Green said he wasn’t surprised by the decision and spoke highly of what Davis will bring to Bloomington upon his arrival.
“Right now he’s one of those guys that can get you those extra hustle plays,” he told Inside the Hall on Sunday evening. “He’s really good on the boards, a high-energy guy, a hard worker. He just brings another dimension to IU basketball that’s not there right now.”
Davis is ranked as a four-star prospect by Scout.com and also had offers from Illinois, Purdue and Xavier.
He was one of just 33 underclassmen invited to try out for the 2011-2012 USA Basketball Developmental National Team over the summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Green, who along with Davis has three other players with IU offers on his roster (Irvin, Smotherman and Brownsburg’s Jaraan Lands), complimented Tom Crean for his recruiting of in-state players.
“I think the Coach Crean is really working hard towards the in-state talent. Kids are seeing the vision and they’re buying into it and they’re going ahead and pulling the trigger,” Green said. “So he’s doing a great job selling the future of IU right now. All of these kids play against each other, know each other really well. I guess they’re choosing to play with each other right now.”
For those unfamiliar, here’s some background on the four factors to winning: Established by Dean Oliver, the four factors are building blocks for Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency formula. It’s important to mention, as noted by Stat Sheet, that the factors are not weighted equally. Research shows the best way to weight the numbers is as follows: shooting (40 percent), taking care of the ball (25 percent), offensive rebounding (20 percent), and getting to the line (15 percent).
Here’s a recap of the four factors in Sunday’s 67-54 win over Evansville:
Free throw rate (Free throws attempted divided by field goals attempted): Best performance of the season thus far (62.2 percent) for the Hoosiers here, but they shot themselves in the foot a bit by leaving 13 points at the line (15 of 28). In a close game against a better opponent down the road, those misses could be the difference in a win or loss. But this stat isn’t about makes or misses, it’s about the fact that getting to the line more than your opponent increases your chances to win.
Turnover percentage (Turnovers divided by possessions): Indiana entered the game with a 28.4 turnover percentage, which was 329th out of 344 Division I teams. Not good. Nonetheless, for the second straight game, the Hoosiers turned in a respectable, but not great, performance (23.8 percent). Also of note is the 28.6 percent for Evansville, which was by far the worst performance in three games by the Purple Aces.
It was a busy day in the IU basketball recruiting world as the Hoosiers picked up commitments from 2013 forwards Collin Hartman and Devin Davis Jr.
Inside the Hall caught up with the 6-6, 190-pound Hartman, a sophomore at Indianapolis Cathedral, for a Q & A on Sunday evening shortly after his commitment to the Hoosiers:
On what spurred his decision to commit early to Indiana:
“Actually, for two or three weeks I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about all of the possibilities, ups and downs. And the more I thought about it, the more IU kept coming back. There’s nothing I don’t like about IU. Everything’s good. They are enthusiastic about what they do. The fans are in it, great fanbase. And everybody’s just like a huge family there. I’m a family guy. That’s what I want in a college. Being close to the coaches, being close with the players and having the fans want to be close with you.”
On the decision to tell his mother, Melissa, to stop the car on their way home so he could go back to Bloomington and commit:
“We got about 10 or 15 minutes down the road and I was like, ‘Mom, we’ve gotta turn around. I’ve got to commit. It’s right. It’s just a gut feeling.’ So I called my uncle, because he’s like a father figure to me, and I called him to see if there was any reason that he could find to think about not going to IU. Because I told him that I thought about it. But we couldn’t find any. So I was like, ‘alright, let’s go for it’ and we went and finalized it.”
On Tom Crean’s reaction:
“(Laughs) He was pretty speechless, very happy. Just hugs all around and a lot of smiles.”
On a normal day, the commitments of perhaps the two best 2013 players in the state would get separate posts. But these times, it seems, are not normal in the world of Indiana basketball recruiting. We’ve entered uncharted territory, folks. The Indiana borders may officially be locked down.
As you’ve probably read by now if you’re on Twitter, both Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr. and Cathedral’s Collin Hartman have committed to play for Tom Crean and Indiana.
Both commitments were broken by Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star in a matter of ten minutes:
Warren Central’s Devin Davis Jr. (2013) just committed to Indiana, per his father.
Cathedral’s Collin Hartman (2013) has committed to Indiana, per his mother.
More on both of these commitments later, but for now, I think it’s safe to say that Tom Crean has caught fire on the recruiting trail.
BLOOMINGTON — I’m sitting here in front of my computer, and trying to figure out what to write, and it is next to impossible.
We could touch on Tom Pritchard’s impressive day (Five blocks? Dang.), or Maurice Creek’s return to the top of the scoring charts (19), or the improved turnover numbers (just three in the second half). All would be acceptable, and easy to write, but we’re looking for more penetrating insight here.
So this will probably disappoint: Indiana is just a normal team, with some handy strengths.
The Hoosiers are now 4-0, with four wins that, overall, felt rather comfortable. Evansville took Indiana out of its offense Sunday afternoon, and the Hoosiers battled first-half foul trouble. But as it has thus far, the defense showed up, sparking a 22-0 run in the second half that kept the Aces at arms length the rest of the day.
Creek’s day was important, both in the moment (a run of 3-pointers early in the second half was the catalyst for Indiana’s run) and obviously, in the larger conversation about this season. It’s one half in eight, but glimpses of the old Creek will make for a happy Hoosier Thanksgiving.
Tom Pritchard’s haters aside, the big man had hands-down his best game Sunday, scoring eight with eight rebounds and five blocks. More than that, he played the entire second half with three fouls already on his line, and never committed another.
Verdell Jones rallied from a five-point, seven-turnover outing last Tuesday to score 18. He turned the ball over a team high-but-much-more-palatable four times.
If these storylines seem unexciting to you, it’s only because they are. And that’s sort of the point.
Thoughts on a 67-54 win over the Evansville Purple Aces:
Can the Hoosiers put it together for a full 40 minutes?
That’s the challenge heading forward.
After a first half thick with turnovers (12), fouls (three each for Bobby Capobianco, Tom Pritchard and Christian Watford) and only 25 points (thanks to Evansville’s defense taking away perimeter shooting which equaled minimal shot attempts for IU), the Hoosiers put together arguably their finest stretch of the season in the second half — at one point ripping off a 27-2 run on the Purple Aces.
Maurice Creek was a big catalyst. The sophomore hit three 3-pointers early in the second frame (after IU only attempted three the entire first half) and was fouled on another 3-point attempt in which he hit all three free throws.
Creek also scored on a nice left-handed runner off the backboard later in the half, along with another three with just under two minutes left to seal the deal.
For the game, Creek scored 18 points (5-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-7 from three, 5-of-5 from the line).
In addition, IU clamped down hard on defense and Evansville’s offense was stymied for most of the second half.
But most impressive was the way the Hoosiers took care of the ball. After giving it away 12 times in the first 20 minutes, only three miscues occurred in the second half for a total of 15.
As Alex tweeted this morning, IU ranked 329th out of 344 Division I teams in turnover percentage heading into this game. Not very good.
And whether the team builds off the turnover-light second half remains to be seen.
But in a season where turnovers have been a glaring problem, this afternoon’s performance was encouraging.