Jordan Hulls Archive
THE GOOD: RESOLVE.
Oh baby, what a win. With Mo Creek out for the season, and Indiana fans a bit down, a bit defeated, IU proved this afternoon inside Assembly Hall that your leading scorer does not an entire team make. Sure, Michigan isn’t that great a squad right now, and some dumb fouling kept Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims off the court for some time, but when Harris was in the game, Jeremiah Rivers did a good job keeping him in check.
Devan Dumes filled in great for Creek in the first half, hitting 3-of-5 threes for nine points, and flashing some defense as well. He was a big reason IU lead at half. Jay Bilas had the line of the afternoon when giving Dumes props for his first-half performance: “Sometimes a kid just needs to be needed.” Incredibly fitting for a player like Dumes.
And then there was everyone else filling in their roles as well: Verdell Jones continues to be a rock, and hit some big shots in both halves when IU needed them. He finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He played with purpose. He wanted this game. Bad. And Watford was right there with him, as he went 7-for-12 for 19 points this afternoon. If those two, along with Dumes can continue to lead the way on offense with guys like Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Rivers picking their spots and contributing as well, IU might be OK.
THE GOOD: KEEPING IT CLOSE, RESERVE PLAY.
Hmmm, where to begin. Let’s take some baby steps here. Save for the last few minutes where it all unraveled, Indiana hung right with Maryland, and during several stretches, outplayed and outworked the Terrapins – a tournament team last season. A team that was ranked earlier this year. IU had a lead with 9:44 to go. It led for a good stretch in the first half. As much as we want expectations to be higher and wins to be a result, at this juncture in the season it’s progress.
The Puerto Rico incarnation of these Hoosiers likely doesn’t keep it this close for this long, or look as poised and as polished as IU did for stretches tonight.
About the only other thing I want to point out here is one key difference this year as opposed to last, and that’s IU actually having viable options off the bench. When Jeremiah Rivers went down with his injury early in the first half after that nifty layup– I worry his trashing style of play might lead to more scary moments like that later in the season — Jordan Hulls filled in without skipping a beat. He hit a three, and had a dazzling no-look pass to Christian Watford under the bucket. Watford scored, was fouled and hit the free throw. Having two capable point guards will be huge as the season progresses. Derek Elston also showed some spark off the bench, too. He didn’t have a good shooting night, but he had nine boards in 20 minutes. He continues to make the most out of his time on the court.
THE BAD: LOOOOONG SCORING DROUGHTS.
IU still seems to be figuring things out in the half court. When they got out in transition in the first half, they made some heady decisions. But when they were forced into half-court sets, there still seems to be a lot of indecision, and it’s clear this is still a facet of the their game that’s a work in progress. However, there was good ball movement in stretches.
GOOD: VAST IMPROVEMENT.
Yes, Indiana lost, and ended up 0-3 in Puerto Rico. But the Hoosiers looked much better against George Mason this morning than they did against Ole Miss and Boston University.
Guys like Bobby Capobianco — seven points, 10 boards (five offensive) and Jordan Hulls — eight points — played the best games of their young careers. Bobby C. might not have a ton of polish, but he did the dirty work on the boards and finished around the rim. It’s exactly the kind of play Tom Crean is looking for from him off the bench. Hulls played with poise, and I think did a better job of orchestrating the offense today than Rivers had done in the previous two games in this tourney. Crean recognized that, and when both Hulls and Rivers were in the ball game, it was Hulls bringing the ball up.The box score only reads 13 minutes for Hulls, but he played so well when he was in there, it seemed like much more.
Hulls lacks athleticism and when you couple that with his size, it can create some matchup problems. But he’s solid, doesn’t make many mistakes and has great basketball IQ. And he flashed some range today with two threes. If the Hoosiers would have gotten a chance to get a three off to tie the game instead of Mason fouling so they had no chance to pop, Hulls was the guy I wanted shooting the ball.
IU seemed more under control, and their 15 turnovers came less off trying to do too much or getting out of control on the break, and more off some passing problems. On the offensive end, they looked more mature, looked more confident. But they just weren’t knocking down shots (20-of-57 for 35 percent shooting), and missed a lot of bunnies around the rim. It proved quite costly.
Perhaps most important in this loss was the way IU closed out the game. It wasn’t an implosion like we saw against Boston University. They didn’t wilt. They scored when they needed to. And with the game tied and Mason looking for a go-ahead bucket, IU played terrific defense and forced Cam Long into a desperation three with the shot clock winding down and a few Hoosier hands in his face. He just happened to hit that desperation three. On a bank shot. A bank he most certainly didn’t call. Tough way to lose, especially for a young team looking for confidence.
The Hoosiers also hit 21-of-28 from the line, good for 75 percent. Lets hope those early free-throw woes are a thing of the past.
The season is almost here which means it’s time for video features from our friends at UWire (formerly The Palestra). Casey Richards has the story on the backcourt competition and the new up-tempo Hoosiers below:
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: Jordan Hulls.
Indiana’s point guard play a season ago was, for the most part, a disaster. A quick scan of Ken Pomeroy’s rankings shows the Hoosiers ranked 342 out of 344 DI teams in turnover percentage.
Turnover percentage, for those of you unfamiliar with it in Pomeroy terms, is simply the number of turnovers a team commits divided by its number of possessions. Indiana’s number was 26.4%. Only Arkansas Pine Bluff and the NJ Institute of Technology were worse. Yikes.
And while he will likely begin the season as the backup to junior transfer Jeremiah Rivers, the arrival of Jordan Hulls to the backcourt should help bring relief to IU’s turnover problem. At first glance, nothing about Hulls screams Big Ten caliber point guard. Perhaps that’s why he was regarded as a mid-major prospect before emerging onto the national scene in the spring of 2008.
Given the situation inherited, the argument can be made that the 2009 recruiting haul made by Tom Crean and his staff was as impressive as any class in the country.
Before ever coaching a game at Indiana, Crean held on to a verbal commitment by Derek Elston given to the previous coaching staff and received commitments from five other players. Three of those players, Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, were ranked among the top 50 prospects nationally by Scout.com.
When it was all said and done, IU signed a consensus top ten class last November in the aftermath of major violations less than a year before.
So it should be no surprise that Crean would sing the praises of the young men that he believes will, collectively, be the cornerstone of the rebuilding process in Bloomington. And last night, Crean did just that in these comments released by IU Media Relations:
“That kid never accepted that he wasn’t a college player, or that he might be a Division II player, and that he might be a low-major player, and that he might be a mid-major player. I don’t think he ever accepted that. Something’s telling me that kid always had his sights set pretty high.”
“The other guy that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention nationally is Derek Elston. That guy is one of those people, if he hadn’t been injured out on that AAU circuit, there would have been a lot more things written about him. He’s good, he’s tough. And he wants to be really good.”