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Montreal rewind: Tim Priller

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Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Tim Priller. Previously: Nick Zeisloft, Devin Davis, Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Stanford Robinson, James Blackmon Jr.

The addition of Tim Priller in late April came as a surprise as the forward from Richland (Tex.) was a relative unknown nationally.

At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Priller shot over 50 percent on 3s as a senior in high school and our first look on-court look at the freshman came in Canada as he logged 44 minutes over four exhibition games.

Despite his size, Priller’s offensive game is very perimeter oriented as five of his nine field goal attempts on the trip came from behind the 3-point arc.

Tom Crean described Priller as “a little bit situational right now” in early July, which suggests that his role, at least right now, will be as a reserve who can help with his perimeter shooting. It’s a role that Priller seems to be embracing as he knocked down three of his five 3-point attempts on the exhibition tour.

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Video: Crean, Oladipo and Zeller at Indianapolis “on the road” tour

Tom Crean, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller addressed Indiana fans on Wednesday night at Lucas Oil Stadium as part of the “on the road” tour stop in Indianapolis.

Watch their comments in the media player below:

Montreal rewind: James Blackmon Jr.

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Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: James Blackmon Jr. Previously: Nick Zeisloft, Devin Davis, Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Stanford Robinson.

A theme of our Montreal rewind series has been Indiana’s retooled backcourt and the most important piece of it showed in Canada that he’s ready to be a major contributor as a freshman.

James Blackmon Jr., who committed to Indiana before his freshman season of high school, later de-committed and then committed again last fall, stepped into a Hoosier uniform for the first time and immediately began doing what he does best: scoring.

Lauded as one of the top shooters in the country, Blackmon Jr. averaged a team-high 18.8 points in IU’s five-game tour of Canada.

Efficiency was a big part of his game on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit and at Marion and his first performances as a college player were no different. The 6-foot-4 guard posted an effective field goal percentage of 65.3 and hit 13 of his 15 free throw attempts.

Most impressive about how Blackmon Jr. played on the trip was the variety of ways in which he scored and the fact that he didn’t force many shots. He hit nine 3-pointers over the five games, showed a solid midrange game and floater and also got to the basket in the halfcourt and in transition.

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Big Ten announces 2014-2015 basketball schedule

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The Big Ten Conference on Thursday evening announced its 2014-2015 men’s basketball schedule, which includes the conference’s new additions Rutgers and Maryland.

Indiana’s 18-game slate opens on New Year’s Eve at Nebraska and includes home and away bouts with both the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins, along with Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue. The Hoosiers face Maryland for the first time on January 22 in Bloomington, and Rutgers for the first time on January 31 in Bloomington. The Hoosiers’ two games against the Boilermakers are on January 28 in West Lafayette and on February 19 at Assembly Hall.

Road-only opponents outside of Nebraska include Wisconsin, who the Hoosiers will play on February 3 during ESPN Super Tuesday, and Illinois on January 18. Home-only opponents include Michigan on February 8 and Iowa on March 3, with the game being broadcast on ESPN, as well.

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Montreal rewind: Stanford Robinson

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Welcome to “Montreal rewind,” our player-by-player recap from Indiana’s five-game tour of Canada. Today: Stanford Robinson. Previously: Nick Zeisloft, Devin Davis, Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson.

While much of the focus and discussion up in Canada was on IU’s retooled backcourt  featuring a pair of freshman sharpshooters in James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson, sophomore guard Stanford Robinson quietly put together a strong trip north of the border.

In five games as a reserve, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 12 points, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals in 17 minutes per game. He shot the ball well (59.7 eFG%) and got to the foul line a team-high 28 times.

And he also unveiled a new wrinkle in his game: He is now shooting right-handed. After struggling with his perimeter shot as a freshman, Robinson has been working on making the switch this offseason and in IU’s loss to Ottawa, he took and made his first right-handed 3-point attempt.

“It’s something he’s been working on,” Tom Crean explained. “It’s a little more natural for him. He’s a little but more of a naturally right-handed player. If you look at it, it’s much smoother coming off his guide hand. It’s all about his guide hand.

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Indiana lands ‘hidden gem’ in Emmitt Holt

When college coaches watched the Albany City Rocks in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, Emmitt Holt wasn’t the first player who jumped out in the layup line.

He’s not flashy, he’s not as tall as some of his AAU teammates and coming from a small suburban high school near Rochester (N.Y.), wasn’t a household name in recruiting circles.

But if you examined a statsheet at the end of an EYBL contest, it’s hard to dispute Holt’s production.

Through three EYBL sessions, he led the league in shot blocking and his final numbers suggest he belongs at the highest level of college basketball: 11.6 points (60.2 FG%), 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

“He was our most important player,” Jimmy Hart, the director of the Albany City Rocks, told Inside the Hall. “At the end of every game, if someone asked our guys who the MVP of the team was, everyone would vote for Emmitt.”

That type of endorsement stands out, especially when you consider that the City Rocks feature several guys who are already committed to high-major programs like 2015 forwards Tyler Lydon (Syracuse) and Elijah Burns (Notre Dame).

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Christian Watford signs non-guaranteed deal with Boston Celtics

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Former Indiana forward Christian Watford has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Boston Celtics, he told Inside the Hall early Thursday morning.

Players on non-guaranteed contracts are typically invited to training camp with a chance to make the team’s roster, but can also be cut at any time.

Watford, a 2013 IU graduate, played last season with Hapoel Eilat in Israel and had multiple NBA Summer League stints last month, with the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors.

In 37 games for Eilat, the 6-foot-9 Watford averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and posted an effective field goal percentage of 61.1.

With the Pistons in Orlando, Watford averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and averaged 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game with the Warriors in Las Vegas.

Watford finished his IU career with 1,730 points — ranking ninth in school history — and a 42.4 career 3-point shooting percentage — also ninth in school history.

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