Former Indiana guard Jordan Hulls has agreed to play professionally beginning in August for Energa Czarni Slupsk, a member of the Polish Basketball League, and he’s excited about the opportunity.
Hulls, who scored 1,318 points over a four-year career in Bloomington and helped lead Indiana to a Big Ten championship and back-to-back Sweet 16’s, will depart for Poland in August.
“My agent has been working really hard trying to find the best deal for me financially and obviously playing wise,” Hulls told Inside the Hall Tuesday morning. “You want to keep moving your way up when you go overseas and eventually get looked at and then hopefully try to get back over here to play in the NBA. That’s the ultimate goal, obviously.”
Several NBA teams, including the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, had expressed interest in Hulls for summer league opportunities. But with most of those rosters finalized, Hulls will go to Poland and begin to earn a living.
“It doesn’t get much better than that, playing a game for your work,” he said. “I still have a passion for it. I still want to continue to play and get better. So that’s the main thing for me. Making some money out of it doesn’t hurt either. I’m really happy about the opportunity that has presented itself to me.”
Hulls said his agent has given him a good idea of what to expect when he arrives in Poland.
Former Indiana guard Jordan Hulls isn’t anywhere near ready to say goodbye to his basketball career.
Hulls, who earned his Masters Degree in May and exhausted his NCAA eligibility this past season, is in the process of working out for various NBA teams ahead of this month’s draft. Hulls worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Monday and the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
He said he and his agent have three or four more planned for the coming weeks, though he’s not sure when and where those will take place.
“I’m just doing as many workouts as I can and see what happens with that,” Hulls told Inside the Hall on Thursday. “The plan is to try to get on a summer league team. If I’m fortunate enough to have that happen, that would be great. Make a roster, awesome, I get to stay here. But if not, I’ll go overseas and play and make some money that way. Playing basketball is not too bad of a gig in my mind.”
In his interview with Inside the Hall, Hulls also talked about the way last season ended for he and the Hoosiers. Hulls injured his right shoulder in a third round win against Temple, and he struggled in his last collegiate game against Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.
Hulls was held scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting in a 61-50 loss to the Orange, and he was frustrated and disappointed afterward about the way he went out.
On March 30, Inside the Hall reported that Hulls played through a level 1 AC shoulder separation against Syracuse. Speaking about the injury for the first time since the season ended, Hulls admitted he wasn’t nearly himself after the injury.
Hulls (36 games): 9.7 points, 2.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 44.6% FG, 44.7% 3PFG, 77.6% FT in 28.8 minutes per game.
Jordan Hulls began his Indiana career in the fall of 2009 hopeful that he and classmates like Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Maurice Creek could bring a storied program back from the bottom of college basketball.
Four years, 78 wins, two Sweet Sixteen appearances and an outright Big Ten championship later, it’s safe to say Indiana is back to national relevancy.
His career also started with doubters who believed that he, despite a state championship and a Mr. Basketball award at Bloomington South, didn’t have the size or physical makeup to lead a winning program in the Big Ten.
The final tally of Hulls’ numbers while at Indiana say those doubts were unfounded. The Bloomington native leaves as the school’s career leader in games played (135) and with 1,318 career points.
But beyond those numbers and his efficient shooting, Hulls also had a major impact as a guy who was willing to get in the gym and get better on a daily basis, a trait that eventually rubbed off on his Hoosier teammates.
Prior to IU’s home game with Iowa this past season, his father, J.C., told a story about a family vacation where the plan was to take a break from basketball for a week. According to J.C., the break was short lived before Jordan found a court outdoors and got back to work on his game. That work ethic became contagious inside the IU program as guys like Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey joined Hulls in Assembly Hall and Cook Hall and saw their respective games take major leaps forward as a result.
The leadership of Hulls inside the program also became more apparent as his career moved along. The first sign that he had emerged as a leader came in August of 2011, when Elston told reporters that Hulls had kicked a couple of guys out of conditioning. “He is a lot more vocal,” Elston said. “He’s one of those guys that starts screaming now. Conditioning days, if you’re not making it, Jordy’s the first one to tell you. And whether you like the way he’s saying it or not, he’s going to say it. If that doesn’t motivate you, then he’ll get you off the floor.”
In the days leading up to Indiana’s Sweet 16 game with Syracuse at the Verizon Center, much attention was paid to the health of the right shoulder of Jordan Hulls.
And that was with good reason.
After the IU senior was involved in a collision during the first half of IU’s win over Temple, he returned in the second half wearing extra support under his jersey and scored five key points to help the Hoosiers move on to Washington D.C.
In the locker room after that win, Maurice Creek told reporters that Hulls told teammates that he’d “have to cut his legs off to keep him from playing” in the second half.
With three days of rest leading into the Syracuse game and comments on Wednesday from Hulls that he’d be fine to play in the regional semifinal, it appeared that his shoulder injury would not be an issue. Hulls knocked down 3-pointers from all over the court in IU’s open practice on Wednesday and wasn’t wearing any extra support underneath his jersey.
But when the ball tipped against the Orange, Hulls was again wearing the support under his jersey and a source tells Inside the Hall that the IU senior suffered a level 1 AC shoulder separation in the win over Temple.
The shoulder blade and collarbone are connected by the acromioclavicular or AC joint, which is held together by the acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments. In a level 1 separation, the AC ligament is partially torn, but the coracoclavicular ligament is not.
Hulls played 27 minutes against Syracuse, finishing scoreless (0-for-6 from the field) with three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
WASHINGTON — Jordan Hulls sat at his locker room in the Verizon Center, tears welling to his eyes when asked questions about the season and about his special senior class.
For four years, Hulls had dreamed of the opportunity he and his teammates had in front of them. They were a No. 1 seed, a favorite to reach the Final Four in Atlanta. All this after beginning from the very bottom with the NCAA Tournament a mere pipe dream.
This wasn’t supposed to end so soon. This was Indiana’s Dream Team, one constructed with so much talent and chemistry, it may never be replicated by Tom Crean and his staff. You can recruit all the top 50 players you want, but you can’t make them like each other and play together the way these guys did. There will never be an Indiana team quite like this again.
Crean and his staff know that, which is what made this one hurt more than most. The Indiana coaching staff remained in the Verizon Center locker room until after 2 a.m., and the team bus didn’t pull out of the arena until 2:21 a.m.
“There are no words to describe how I feel,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said after Indiana’s 61-50 loss to Syracuse in the Sweet 16. “I love playing with these guys. I’ll never forget this team for as long as I live.”
He should remember the good moments from this season. This team has earned that. Wins at Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. A Big Ten outright championship. Two All-Americans. A No. 1 seed. A second straight trip to the Sweet 16.
But, fair or not, the loss to Syracuse will probably always stick to the memories of the Indiana players the most. It was an opportunity missed, it turned an otherwise terrific season into a giant disappointment. The Hoosiers went to the Sweet 16 last year. This year, they needed to go further. They should have gone further.
“It’s over,” Hulls said, his voice cracking. “It’s just tough. We prepared so hard, we just didn’t go out there and execute like we needed to. It’s a terrible way to go out.”
All week long, we talked and heard about the challenge of the Syracuse 2-3 zone. The Hoosiers seemed confident on Wednesday, acting like they were prepared for the unique defense they would see.
But they were not. Twelve turnovers in the first half told you that. As hard as they may have prepared for Jim Boeheim’s team, they didn’t know and never did figure out how to attack and score against the zone.
“They’re length is not really something you can practice against,” Hulls said. “We turned the ball over, didn’t hit shots. We were overthinking, didn’t quite know what we wanted to do at certain times.”
The Hoosiers made a run in the second half — they got it to within six points at one point — but they couldn’t sustain it for a fairly simple reason: They didn’t make shots. To beat the Syracuse zone, you have to make some perimeter shots to loosen it up. Indiana was 3-of-15 from beyond the arc.
WASHINGTON — Indiana saw just about everything imaginable in the Big Ten this season.
But not quite.
“We don’t see a lot of 2-3 zone like this,” guard Jordan Hulls said of Syracuse. “They’re very long, very athletic, they close out to balls a lot faster than what we’ve seen, even on film.”
The Hoosiers will finally get a look at the Syracuse zone that gets talked about so much when they play the Orange in a Sweet 16 game Thursday night at the Verizon Center.
What makes the Syracuse different and more challenging than other zones is the athletes Jim Boeheim recruits to play in it. Brandon Triche (6-foot-4) is the shortest player in the Orange’s starting lineup, and the other four are Michael Carter-Williams (6-foot-6), James Southerland (6-foot-8), C.J. Fair (6-foot-8) and Rakeem Christmas (6-foot-9).
“They’re athletic guys, long guys. They like to get up in your face,” said forward Will Sheehey. “They get out and challenge passing lanes, they don’t kinda pack it in. It’s almost like a pressure 2-3 zone.”
Added point guard Yogi Ferrell: “They have the best zone defense in the country. We’ve been practicing against it, watching a lot of film. It’s going to be a very tough test for us.”
Crean coached against Boeheim and Syracuse twice when he was at Marquette, so the zone won’t be completely new to him when he sees it Thursday night. Plus, Crean had almost four days to prepare for it, so the turnaround wasn’t all that short.
Even so, the Syracuse zone has proven to be one that can add new wrinkles and function in different ways depending on the opponent and the game. Plus, Crean is 0-2 in those two games.
“At Marquette we didn’t necessarily have the ability to score in the low post that maybe we have now,” Crean said Wednesday. “So it was a little bit different attack and we had good guards, people like Jerel McNeal, Wes Matthews, you know Dominic James, Lazar Hayward, so people like that that could make plays but we didn’t necessarily have the low post ability.
“I don’t think you can look at that zone and think you’re going to beat it any one way but I don’t think you can look at the zone and think you can stand around and pass the ball around the perimeter, either. That is a recipe for defeat.”
One thing that will be key to beating the zone is knocking down perimeter shots, especially early in the game. The Hoosiers didn’t shoot particularly well against Temple on Sunday, and that will have to change.
WASHINGTON — Watch and listen to what the IU players had to say inside their locker room of the Verizon Center as they prepared for Thursday’s NCAA Tournament game with Syracuse.
High-definition quality video is available in the embedded media players below: