Even though he moved in and out of the regular rotation last season, Remy Abell proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Hoosiers. The Louisville, Ky. native hit several key shots throughout the year, and he grew into a quiet, fearless leader on the court by the end of his freshman season.
Abell had his standout game of the season at Purdue in February when the then-freshman guard scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a huge 3-pointer that put the game away late in the second half. Abell went back to his smaller role after that game, but he was ready to step up when Verdell Jones III went down with an ACL injury in the Big Ten Tournament.
Outsiders questioned the Hoosiers chances in the NCAA Tournament without their senior guard, but Abell filled in admirably. He played 16 minutes per game in IU’s three tournament games, scoring a total of 14 points and taking some of the ball handling pressure off of Jordan Hulls.
With that experience under his belt, Abell feels ready to contribute even more in his sophomore season.
“I definitely feel like I’m much improved, with my basketball game and with my strength,” Abell said at last Thursday’s media challenge. “It was big getting a lot more playing time, especially on a big stage like that NCAA Tournament. That stage right there was huge. It definitely is gonna help me coming into this season.”
With the addition of point guard Yogi Ferrell, it’s unclear exactly what Abell’s role will be this season — or how many minutes he’ll get. But Abell doesn’t look at Ferrell’s presence as a negative for him. He said all three guards (including Jordan Hulls) have gotten along well, and he believes the additional ball handler will greatly benefit the team.
“We’re doing good, mixing up the back court and doing different things,” Abell said. “We can all handle the ball, so whoever gets it, the other person can just get out and run and try to get easy buckets.”
Indiana sophomore guard Remy Abell met with reporters Thursday at IU’s annual media challenge and talked about a variety of topics including the importance of earning playing time in the NCAA Tournament last season, where he is as a player now versus a year ago, the improvement of his jump shot and much more.
Watch and listen to his comments in the embedded media player below:
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Remy Abell.
Final stats (32 games): 3.0 ppg, 44% FG, 78.6% FT in 8.3 minutes per game.
Coming into the season, few people were talking about Remy Abell. He was the “other” freshman in a class that included the savior in Cody Zeller and Austin Etherington, an Indiana kid. Abell, a Louisville native, wasn’t heavily recruited, and he wasn’t expected to play much during his freshman season.
Abell, though, had higher expectations for himself. He made it clear early on that, regardless of how many minutes he got, he was going to make a difference on the floor.
While he went through stretches where he rarely got off the bench, Abell eventually proved to be an important piece to the Hoosiers’ success. With Verdell Jones sidelined with a shoulder injury, he scored 13 points in 19 minutes at Purdue in early February, including a dagger 3-point that put the Boilermakers away.
Abell would score only six more points over the final seven games of the regular season, but he stayed ready. When Jones tore his ACL against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, Abell got his big opportunity.
His playing time doubled in the three NCAA Tournament games, and he played with a certain fearlessness most freshmen don’t possess. Abell scored 14 points on 50 percent shooting in the three tournament games.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Verdell Jones. After four years of hard work and sacrifice, the senior guard won’t get to play when Indiana opens the NCAA Tournament against New Mexico State on Thursday night.
It’s not fair.
But beyond the sympathy surrounding Jones’ torn ACL, there’s a sizable void left on the Hoosiers roster. Jones not only gave the Hoosiers 7.5 points and 3.2 assists per game off the bench, but he was also one of their most experienced on-court leader.
The Hoosiers don’t lack depth behind Jones, but they do lack experienced depth. Freshman Remy Abell figures to get most of Jones’ minutes in the Big Dance, and senior Daniel Moore is next in line.
While Abell has played well at times this season, he’s occasionally shown freshman inconsistency. His best game came at Purdue in early February when Jones was out with a shoulder injury. In that contest, Abell scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a dagger 3-pointer late that put the Boilermakers away. Abell hasn’t been in double figures in any other game, and he’s averaging only 2.8 points per contest.
Still, the Hoosiers have faith Abell can play a role in their postseason run.
“Remy’s capable, and Verdell’s gotta help him,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said Sunday. “We’re very confident with Remy. You don’t anticipate not having Verdell until the other day, but you figure having depth at the guard spot is gonna be really good for you.”
While Jones won’t be able to help the Hoosiers on the court in the tournament, he can contribute by, as Crean said, helping Abell. Jones and Abell room together for road games, and Jones said he’s in the ear of his understudy as much as possible.
Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and Remy Abell met with the media this evening to discuss Indiana’s draw in the NCAA Tournament — Thursday against No. 13 seed New Mexico State in Portland, Ore. — and more. Watch the videos in the embedded media players below:
Remy Abell, Derek Elston, Tom Pritchard and Christian Watford met with the media following IU’s 79-71 loss to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Watch and listen to postgame reaction in the embedded media players below:
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As a 13-point lead melted to four with 3:27 remaining, this group of Hoosiers found themselves at a crossroads.
Recent history playing away from Assembly Hall in the Big Ten suggested that Purdue had Indiana right where it wanted them. The Hoosiers had not beaten any conference team besides Penn State on the road since the 2007-2008 season.
But as the Paint Crew reached a fever pitch and momentum shifted to the Boilermakers, Indiana took a road they’ve rarely traveled in recent seasons away from Bloomington. The Hoosiers did what they couldn’t do in Lincoln, Madison or Ann Arbor: finish well down the stretch.
First it was a block by Will Sheehey on a shot by Lewis Jackson that would’ve cut the lead to two. And then it was Remy Abell’s 3-pointer from the corner at the 1:27 mark to put the game out of reach.
Both plays were made possible because Indiana put together its most complete effort from start to finish all season on the road. The Hoosiers were basically in control throughout the contest.
“To me, it looked like it meant more to them,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Just right from the start, looking, you can see guys’ facial expressions, you can see guys body language, I thought they were more engaged.”
It hasn’t been that way as of late for Indiana on the road in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers were never able to fully recover in slow starts at Ohio State and Michigan. At Nebraska and Wisconsin, Indiana couldn’t come up with the key plays Sheehey and Abell made in Mackey Arena on Saturday night.
“It’s big for us,” Indiana guard Victor Oladipo said. “It should boost our confidence a little bit. We should do stuff like that. We’re a really good team.”