Stanford Robinson Archive
After losing a lottery pick, a senior who scored more than 1,000 career points and several players via transfer, Indiana is going to look much different this winter.
And given that 60 percent of the roster is new and the Hoosiers are without a true post presence, much of the team’s offense is going to originate on the perimeter.
But change isn’t always a bad thing and in IU’s case, the roster turnover should allow Crean to avoid situations like last season when he was forced to put guys on the floor who couldn’t shoot or score with any consistency.
“Very few times do people (in the Big Ten) put players on the court that can’t make shots or aren’t bringing something to the table,” Crean said yesterday at Big Ten media day in Rosemont, Illinois. “There’s very few places to hide a guy.”
With guys like Austin Etherington, Evan Gordon and Jeremy Hollowell being replaced by James Blackmon Jr., Nick Zeisloft and Robert Johnson, the Hoosiers shouldn’t run into many scenarios where they won’t have a capable and confident shooter on the floor to go along with Yogi Ferrell, a first team all-Big Ten selection in the preseason.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Stanford Robinson.
If there was one way of defining Stanford Robinson’s value as a freshman last season, it came in his free throw numbers.
The 6-foot-4 guard got to the free throw line as much as anyone on Indiana’s roster during Big Ten action last season, outside of Yogi Ferrell, as Robinson proved to be effective in getting to the rim and causing opponent foul trouble.
Heading into this season, Robinson will continue to hold value in that role, especially on a team that plans on moving the ball quickly and effectively, with the ball moving in and out of the paint. And over the offseason, Indiana coach Tom Crean said Robinson is becoming more reliable in that role.
“Stan’s gaining a level of consistency that he has not had,” Crean said on July 15. “His body’s different. His conditioning and energy are different and it’s not because he’s doing more. It’s because he’s smarter.”
During Indiana’s preseason trip to Canada, Robinson led the Hoosiers in free-throw attempts, suggesting he was aggressive as anyone in trying to get to the basket.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The story goes Kevin Ferrell’s mom nicknamed him “Yogi” as a child as an ode to Yogi Bear, the Hannah-Barbera character with a similar voracious appetite. He certainly lived up to the nickname last season, eating up 25 percent of Indiana’s possessions in a year the team starved for any kind of offensive production.
But as the preseason first team All-Big Ten selection enters his junior year as the team’s longest-tenured leader, he’s due for a reinterpretation of the nickname and a role change on a squad with more shooting and playmakers. The root word of Yogi is yoke, which means “to unite” or “join together”. After a disappointing 2012-2013 season where the Indiana Culture struggled at times, Ferrell is in line to do just that for these Hoosiers.
“That’s how I feel like I have to start off each game, being more of a facilitator,” Ferrell said late Thursday morning. “I feel a lot more comfortable, I feel like now I can balance my game out a lot more. So I’m definitely going to try and find these guys more. And once they take them away, I’m going to try and score myself.
“What I want to focus on is not turning the ball over so much. I want my assist-turnover ratio to be a lot higher. I want to have one of the highest ones in the league. So watching some film, seeing what I do here wrong. Not making jump passes. Not trying to force.”
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.
Due to FIBA rules, a 24-second shot clock and a whirlwind set of five games, drawing concrete conclusions about these 2014-2015 Hoosiers isn’t wise.
Still, the vibe is decidedly different from the disappointment of a year ago. New faces are in place. They’re hanging out a lot — and even staying present with each other during bus rides home instead of staring at their smartphones.
And so if a theme emerged from the Montréal trip, it’s this: Trust is building — both on the court and off it. On offense, no longer does Yogi Ferrell have to do it all. There are better ball handlers, playmakers and 3-point shooters up and down this roster. Move the ball, make the extra pass, play together and for each other. That’s the key. Because the potential for offense variety is vast; this group of perimeter players can mix and match all over the court.
In a special Montréal edition of Film Session thanks to the livestream against McGill, we’ll look at all this starting to take shape:
After a Robert Johnson missed 3-pointer from the right wing, Troy Williams blows past the McGill defenders to grab the rebound, going from the weak to strong side to grab the board:
Williams throws a hesitation dribble at the McGill defender:
MONTREAL — Thoughts on a 96-69 win over McGill University:
Unlike Sunday afternoon in Saint-Lambert, Quebec and Monday evening in Ottawa, Ontario, Indiana received little in terms of a test as it returned to Montreal for the fourth game of its Canadian tour.
The Hoosiers, who came into Love Competition Hall on the campus of McGill sporting a 2-1 record on their trip, dominated the Redmen, who lacked the athleticism to contain IU’s array of perimeter options.
From a team perspective, there was plenty to like in this performance from Indiana. The offense wasn’t nearly as good as what we witnessed Monday night against Carleton, but it was still quite solid. The Hoosiers scored 1.10 points per possession with an effective field goal percentage of 54, while limiting the Redmen to .85 points per trip and an eFG percentage of just 43.3.
Indiana also did a solid job grabbing the shots that it did miss as evidenced by its offensive rebounding percentage of 46.1. And while the free throw rate (FTA/FGA) wasn’t as high as Tom Crean would like at just 21.3 percent, the Hoosiers did make 15 of their 16 attempts at the stripe.
On the downside of things, Indiana was sloppy with the ball quite often this evening and turned it over 23 times for a turnover percentage of 27.2. Crean said afterward that many of those were unforced and a film session with this young group will show far too many occasions where a ball handler went airborne without anywhere to go. These are the types of mistakes that haunted Indiana a season ago and are exactly the kind of mishaps that can be the difference in tight games when the regular season rolls around.
OTTAWA, Ontario — Thoughts on a 95-85 win over Carleton University:
Prior to departing for Canada, Indiana coach Tom Crean warned of potential stumbling blocks for his young team on its five-game tour. And Monday night’s opponent, Carleton University, which entered tonight’s game with a 294-12 record over its last 306 games along with 10 of the last 12 CIS championships, was the first team Crean mentioned.
The Ravens, after all, beat Wisconsin handily last August and took Syracuse to overtime. Canadian basketball isn’t just about the players like Andrew Wiggins, Steve Nash and other who have defected to the United States to play collegiately. Led by strong grassroots programs and university programs like Carleton, the sport is on the rise in the country.
So as Indiana entered the Ravens Nest, as it’s called here on campus, the test was a legitimate one despite the fact that Carleton was missing its best player and coach. This was the closest thing the Hoosiers will have to a true road game on this tour and not only did Indiana past the test, it did so decisively.
After falling behind in its first two games, Indiana never left any doubt in this game. The Hoosiers led wire-to-wire and when the going got tough late, Indiana answered the call.