The Morning After: Tennessee State

  • 12/04/2007 8:34 am in

rushthecourt1.jpgThere’s not a whole lot to say about this one. Tennesssee State, not unlike Chicago State last year, comprised a bunch of skittish guards and guys who put the small in small forward. (Zing!) Undersized and underskilled, they were never really a challenge to an IU team that didn’t play particularly well, and didn’t have to. So if there’s anything to be learned from a game like this, it doesn’t outweigh what we saw at Southern Illinois on Saturday. Instead, let’s talk about Lance Stemler.

— Before getting into this, let me make myself clear: I’ve got nothing against Lance Stemler. He seems like a nice dude, he plays hard and with effort, and he is genuinely invested in the success of the team. All of these things are positive. That said, I am consistently baffled by the unfettered love he is shown by broadcasters and the occasional sportswriter. Last night, there was one particularly egregious example.

In the second half, after a couple of swung perimeter passes, Stemler overhanded a pass across the zone to an open Jamarcus Ellis. Ellis caught the ball, got around a closing defender, hop-stepped in the lane and made a double-clutched layup from the left side of the hoop. In all, it was an impressive move, the sort of drive Ellis is proficient at. Analyst Rich Zvosic — who either didn’t see Ellis’ play or was just totally nonplussed by it — said “GREAT extra pass by Stemler there.” Huh? Stemler wasn’t at all ready to shoot, and was probably too far behind the three-point line to get a good look anyway; he basically had to pass the ball, and would have failed the possession by doing anything else. And after Ellis finishes an effective, difficult scoring drive … we’re going to credit Stemler?


I’m sure Ellis doesn’t care who gets the credit; that’s not the point here. The point is that, for reasons I don’t quite understand, Stemler gets a ton of credit for very little actual production. The Stemler man-love would be harmless — again, I like Lance — if it didn’t reflect a huge distortion of what we really know about Lance Stemler, which is that he is a thoroughly mediocre, inefficent player who hustles and plays hard. Seeing as everyone on this team plays hard, it might be time to raise our expectations of Lance a little bit.

(And yes, I know he made back-to-back threes last night. That’s sort of beside the point. Plus, remember: Tennessee State. Let’s not get carried away with that.)

— I’m not saying I predicted it, or anything like that, but I was getting worried about the potential for injury before Gordon left the game with a “bruised backside” last night. There were three or four plays prior to Gordon’s injury in which he was hurtling out of control and falling down; D.J. White even did the same thing, ending up on the floor with Gordon one play. (That’s not even mentioning Gordon’s incredibly ambitious missed dunk early in the game; I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gordon jump higher or extend more than on that play. Even though he missed the dunk, it was still sort of breathtaking.) I’m not arguing that Sampson should have removed Eric Gordon from the game to prevent an injury, or anything like that. It’s just unfortunate that the Hoosiers’ best player had to take what is surely a painful injury in a meaningless cupcake of a game. What are you gonna do? To paraphrase Frank Costello — No use cryin’ over bruised backsides.

— Any praise of D.J. White needs to be tempered with the realization that Tennessee State, in both skill and physical size, had no way to stop him. It was like a high school senior playing a bunch of barely pubescent freshmen — of course the senior is going to look like he’s playing at a different level. He is.

Still, D.J. played another solid game. Against taller, more physical defenders — the likes of which he’ll see on Saturday against Kentucky — he’ll have to work harder for his turnaround jumpers, but it looks like D.J.’s soft touch is really locked in right now. Good news.

— Other than the above, there’s not much to take away from the game. I refuse to panic, or get irrationally happy but, as always, your additions are welcomed in the comments.

(Believe it or not, the above photo was not actually taken last night.)

Filed to:

  • Bill

    Where are the links that were on the right side ?

  • Bill

    Where are the links that were on the right side ?

  • Tsell

    The “Stemler Praise” is merely the psychological effect that exists when you praise that which is most like yourself. White broadcasters are going to praise a white ball-player more often merely because he is the player on the floor that resembles them the most. Especially if he is playing on a team whose only other players who get minutes are black. If you are thinking I am reading racism in where none exists, think of it this way: not racist like using the “n” word; racist like ditching a resume that has the name “Jamarcus” on it. From the post: “And after Ellis finishes an effective, difficult scoring drive … we’re going to credit Stemler?”

  • Tsell

    The “Stemler Praise” is merely the psychological effect that exists when you praise that which is most like yourself. White broadcasters are going to praise a white ball-player more often merely because he is the player on the floor that resembles them the most. Especially if he is playing on a team whose only other players who get minutes are black. If you are thinking I am reading racism in where none exists, think of it this way: not racist like using the “n” word; racist like ditching a resume that has the name “Jamarcus” on it. From the post: “And after Ellis finishes an effective, difficult scoring drive … we’re going to credit Stemler?”

  • Bill,

    Not sure what you’re referring to on the links. Anyone else having any problems with the site? Everything looks good for me in both Mozilla and IE.

  • Bill,

    Not sure what you’re referring to on the links. Anyone else having any problems with the site? Everything looks good for me in both Mozilla and IE.

  • Mike

    Stemler hustles his butt off and makes plays. Leave the guy alone. He’s one of ours, he works hard, and we needed him and his effort last night.

    Stemler doesn’t have the athleticism that some of our other players do. But he made some great plays last night, including the one on the baseline where he ripped the ball out of the guys hands on the baseline and gave it off for an easy deuce. He had a pretty good game last night. Leave him alone.

    Anyways, we learned that this offense revolved around penetrating and kicking the ball out. We had a hobbled Basset who played most of the game and was exhausted, and only one other “guard” (Ellis, who was really a small forward).
    Our three best guys at getting to the basket were out.
    We’ll be allright in two or so weeks.

  • Mike

    Stemler hustles his butt off and makes plays. Leave the guy alone. He’s one of ours, he works hard, and we needed him and his effort last night.

    Stemler doesn’t have the athleticism that some of our other players do. But he made some great plays last night, including the one on the baseline where he ripped the ball out of the guys hands on the baseline and gave it off for an easy deuce. He had a pretty good game last night. Leave him alone.

    Anyways, we learned that this offense revolved around penetrating and kicking the ball out. We had a hobbled Basset who played most of the game and was exhausted, and only one other “guard” (Ellis, who was really a small forward).
    Our three best guys at getting to the basket were out.
    We’ll be allright in two or so weeks.

  • Craig

    I think the bottom line with Stemler is he is fine for what he is: a streaky, slow-footed perimeter shooter. He is too slow defensively to defend at the 3, and too short to defend 4’s. So by my account, if he is your 7th man or so, then he’s fine. The fact that he is our starting power forward is not fine. We are asking him to do more than he is capable of, and therefore are disappointed that he cannot meet these unrealistic expectations.

  • Craig

    I think the bottom line with Stemler is he is fine for what he is: a streaky, slow-footed perimeter shooter. He is too slow defensively to defend at the 3, and too short to defend 4’s. So by my account, if he is your 7th man or so, then he’s fine. The fact that he is our starting power forward is not fine. We are asking him to do more than he is capable of, and therefore are disappointed that he cannot meet these unrealistic expectations.

  • Mike from Atlanta

    I think KS plays and starts players who work hard every day. If you have ever played a team sport you would know how important it is to have a Stemler on your team. He dives for more loose balls than anyone. Watch how many times he hits the floor. Although he doesn’t have quicks to drive the lane or defend a quick player, he is one of the best spot up long range shooters we have. Once we have JC and AJ back, Lance is going to have alot of outside shots. Take his back to back 3’s away in the SIU game, we might not have got the W.
    He wasn’t recruited to be a stud offensive player. KS was lucky to find him that late in the year. I think Lance is a true team player who put the team first, and just as importantly understands his role. Ill take him in my foxhole anyday.

  • Mike from Atlanta

    I think KS plays and starts players who work hard every day. If you have ever played a team sport you would know how important it is to have a Stemler on your team. He dives for more loose balls than anyone. Watch how many times he hits the floor. Although he doesn’t have quicks to drive the lane or defend a quick player, he is one of the best spot up long range shooters we have. Once we have JC and AJ back, Lance is going to have alot of outside shots. Take his back to back 3’s away in the SIU game, we might not have got the W.
    He wasn’t recruited to be a stud offensive player. KS was lucky to find him that late in the year. I think Lance is a true team player who put the team first, and just as importantly understands his role. Ill take him in my foxhole anyday.

  • Ryan

    T Bill’s explanation of what the announcers said last night is WAY off base. I think PostMan E’s analysis misconstrued what the commentators were trying to relay. This has NOTHING to do with the broadcasters associating best with Stemler because he is “the player on the floor that resembles them the most.” All that was said was that Stemler made a nice extra pass, and I agree with that analysis. It was obvious in my eyes, as it should have been in anyone’s (who knows anything about basketball) that the play was made by Ellis. But that doesn’t mean that the commentators have to give commentary on that move NOR does it have anything to do with color, race, ethnicity, eye color, hair color (you get the point). Did you watch the game? Did you hear the announcers singing Ellis’ praise for the final 15 min of the game for keeping IU on track? Sure, we aren’t terribly high on Stemler right now, but comm’on, lets not misconstrue one comment from an announcer. That’s idiocy.

  • Ryan

    T Bill’s explanation of what the announcers said last night is WAY off base. I think PostMan E’s analysis misconstrued what the commentators were trying to relay. This has NOTHING to do with the broadcasters associating best with Stemler because he is “the player on the floor that resembles them the most.” All that was said was that Stemler made a nice extra pass, and I agree with that analysis. It was obvious in my eyes, as it should have been in anyone’s (who knows anything about basketball) that the play was made by Ellis. But that doesn’t mean that the commentators have to give commentary on that move NOR does it have anything to do with color, race, ethnicity, eye color, hair color (you get the point). Did you watch the game? Did you hear the announcers singing Ellis’ praise for the final 15 min of the game for keeping IU on track? Sure, we aren’t terribly high on Stemler right now, but comm’on, lets not misconstrue one comment from an announcer. That’s idiocy.

  • MikeyD

    Dang E…those Wheaties taste a little tart this morning? “Stemler sucks…DJ is overrated…other media types are goofy”. I’ll take the W. I’ll take Stemler in my “foxhole” any day(Mike in Atl). And, you guys gotta “talk” about somethin’.

    Whether it’s good bad or otherwise, the media has this strange fixation with Stemler. Some love him, while others couldn’t see him making the JV squad at their sons’ high schools. He is as important a part to the puzzle this team is as Keith Smart was to the ’87 team. Without Stemler, the complexion of this team changes dramatically.

    As far as DJ goes…when somebody “gets it done”, give ’em credit. Remember all the praise EJ was getting during all the other cupcakes earlier? I rather think DJ is getting into his groove and trying to get his game established going into B10 play. I hope he and Stemler keep it up and continue to set extremely important examples for this otherwise young team. Maybe try a Sunshine Skillet tomorrow.

  • MikeyD

    Dang E…those Wheaties taste a little tart this morning? “Stemler sucks…DJ is overrated…other media types are goofy”. I’ll take the W. I’ll take Stemler in my “foxhole” any day(Mike in Atl). And, you guys gotta “talk” about somethin’.

    Whether it’s good bad or otherwise, the media has this strange fixation with Stemler. Some love him, while others couldn’t see him making the JV squad at their sons’ high schools. He is as important a part to the puzzle this team is as Keith Smart was to the ’87 team. Without Stemler, the complexion of this team changes dramatically.

    As far as DJ goes…when somebody “gets it done”, give ’em credit. Remember all the praise EJ was getting during all the other cupcakes earlier? I rather think DJ is getting into his groove and trying to get his game established going into B10 play. I hope he and Stemler keep it up and continue to set extremely important examples for this otherwise young team. Maybe try a Sunshine Skillet tomorrow.

  • Tom

    could not disagree more with the racist thing.

    lance gets the “rudy” treatment because he’s not a good player but does try hard. anything he does well is a bonus so it might excite people a little more. he’s still a garbage time only player, though. ks plays him too much.

  • Tom

    could not disagree more with the racist thing.

    lance gets the “rudy” treatment because he’s not a good player but does try hard. anything he does well is a bonus so it might excite people a little more. he’s still a garbage time only player, though. ks plays him too much.

  • MikeyD

    Tsell is just trying to get a reaction. Sorry T…not worthy.

  • MikeyD

    Tsell is just trying to get a reaction. Sorry T…not worthy.

  • David

    Damn, Stemler sure is becoming a favorite to kick around. I’ll never understand the fascination people have with continually finding ways to take a shot at Stemler. The opening statement on Stemler was completely unnecessary.

    As for DJ, he’s played cupcakes before and he hasn’t scored that many. With Gordon out of the lineup, DJ had to shoulder most of the load and he did a great job (against obviously inferior talent). I agree with MikeyD – give the man credit.

  • David

    Damn, Stemler sure is becoming a favorite to kick around. I’ll never understand the fascination people have with continually finding ways to take a shot at Stemler. The opening statement on Stemler was completely unnecessary.

    As for DJ, he’s played cupcakes before and he hasn’t scored that many. With Gordon out of the lineup, DJ had to shoulder most of the load and he did a great job (against obviously inferior talent). I agree with MikeyD – give the man credit.

  • Tom

    There’s no doubt Stemler lacks the athletism of others, however he has a common-sense towards the game I admire. He is willing to take a charge when others give it the matador wave.He doesn’t do the AAU fancy stuff when it isn’t needed. You might be surprised by him if he were playing for a Butler-like team. With I.U., he fits in best when two other bigs are playing and we play zone to cover some of his deficiencies as well others on the team. He appears to be a good kid and deserves our support as an I.U. team member.

  • Tom

    There’s no doubt Stemler lacks the athletism of others, however he has a common-sense towards the game I admire. He is willing to take a charge when others give it the matador wave.He doesn’t do the AAU fancy stuff when it isn’t needed. You might be surprised by him if he were playing for a Butler-like team. With I.U., he fits in best when two other bigs are playing and we play zone to cover some of his deficiencies as well others on the team. He appears to be a good kid and deserves our support as an I.U. team member.

  • MKH

    Free Eli Holman!

  • MKH

    Free Eli Holman!

  • Like I said in the post, I wasn’t trying to diss Stemler at all, simply the media fascination that can credit him for making an obvious pass, while ignoring a considerably more difficult play by Ellis. It’s been said before, but I think Lance is good for what he is, and I’ve learned to temper my expectations.

    I guess my point is that I’ve yet to see anyone on this team not play hard, or not work hard, so praising Stemler for that at the exclusion of the rest of the team — or for the example I wrote about — just seems silly to me.

  • Like I said in the post, I wasn’t trying to diss Stemler at all, simply the media fascination that can credit him for making an obvious pass, while ignoring a considerably more difficult play by Ellis. It’s been said before, but I think Lance is good for what he is, and I’ve learned to temper my expectations.

    I guess my point is that I’ve yet to see anyone on this team not play hard, or not work hard, so praising Stemler for that at the exclusion of the rest of the team — or for the example I wrote about — just seems silly to me.

  • Kevin Q

    Let’s keep in mind that aside from Laskowski (where was he?), the people hired at the BTN are not the best in the business; far from it. They have been and are going to make a lot of silly statements. I wish there a was a way to sync up the radio with the TV so I could listen to Dandy Don.

    P.S. No problems with this site for me.

  • Kevin Q

    Let’s keep in mind that aside from Laskowski (where was he?), the people hired at the BTN are not the best in the business; far from it. They have been and are going to make a lot of silly statements. I wish there a was a way to sync up the radio with the TV so I could listen to Dandy Don.

    P.S. No problems with this site for me.

  • ccmoney

    Mike in ATL – Stemler hit 1 three at SIU, and we won by 13. HIs back to back 3’s were big against GT.
    He COULD be a good outside shooter, but has yet to show it. Just like Hornsby in his senior year – you’ve got to have confidence and Davis ruined his, Lance is still looking for his. 8-22 this year is adequate, but 38-115 last year was weak, and I know all about the injury excuse. Gordon, Bassett, Ratliff, maybe even Ellis and McGee have a better permieter shot, right now. That could change, I hope, because Lance will get his minutes.

  • ccmoney

    Mike in ATL – Stemler hit 1 three at SIU, and we won by 13. HIs back to back 3’s were big against GT.
    He COULD be a good outside shooter, but has yet to show it. Just like Hornsby in his senior year – you’ve got to have confidence and Davis ruined his, Lance is still looking for his. 8-22 this year is adequate, but 38-115 last year was weak, and I know all about the injury excuse. Gordon, Bassett, Ratliff, maybe even Ellis and McGee have a better permieter shot, right now. That could change, I hope, because Lance will get his minutes.

  • Mike

    Please quit criticizing Lance all the time. He does what he is supposed to do and is a good compliment to our TEAM! Also, since when did Laskowski become one of the best in the business! He is about as exciting as watching paint dry! If he never did another IU game the rest of his life it would be OK with me!

  • Mike

    Please quit criticizing Lance all the time. He does what he is supposed to do and is a good compliment to our TEAM! Also, since when did Laskowski become one of the best in the business! He is about as exciting as watching paint dry! If he never did another IU game the rest of his life it would be OK with me!

  • Mike from Atlanta

    You ‘re right CC. It was the GT game. Nevertheless those were 2 needed scores. Even last night, the lead was down to 7 and back to back Stemler 3’s put the game out of reach. Once we have all 5 guards in the rotation, I think you will see alot of 3’s from Stemler.

  • Mike from Atlanta

    You ‘re right CC. It was the GT game. Nevertheless those were 2 needed scores. Even last night, the lead was down to 7 and back to back Stemler 3’s put the game out of reach. Once we have all 5 guards in the rotation, I think you will see alot of 3’s from Stemler.

  • MKM from Indy

    I agree with TSELL. There is way too much love for a guy who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn last year. He certainly had nothing to offer against Xavier. That’s how basketball is these days. The white dude is the hustler and a “smart” ball player, and the black dude has the god-given athleticism. It is a racist and more broadcaster should temper their statements.

  • MKM from Indy

    I agree with TSELL. There is way too much love for a guy who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn last year. He certainly had nothing to offer against Xavier. That’s how basketball is these days. The white dude is the hustler and a “smart” ball player, and the black dude has the god-given athleticism. It is a racist and more broadcaster should temper their statements.

  • David

    It was one broadcaster making one single statement and people are blowing it all out of proportion to suit their own arguments.

    Some see it as racist, some see it as a slight against Ellis, some see it as unnecessary adulation for Stemler.

    See for it what you will but this is getting out of hand.

  • David

    It was one broadcaster making one single statement and people are blowing it all out of proportion to suit their own arguments.

    Some see it as racist, some see it as a slight against Ellis, some see it as unnecessary adulation for Stemler.

    See for it what you will but this is getting out of hand.

  • Hoosier Hound

    Here is some good advice to keep you from getting worked up about the ruminations of moronic tv announcers:

    MUTE BUTTON

    Then you can put Fish on the radio.

  • Hoosier Hound

    Here is some good advice to keep you from getting worked up about the ruminations of moronic tv announcers:

    MUTE BUTTON

    Then you can put Fish on the radio.

  • Hound:

    Pretty excellent point. Fish is so great; it’s too bad I can’t get him on over the air here in Chicago.

    David:

    I know it’s just one broadcaster and one statement, but it is a perfect example of a larger problem I think is worth looking into. I don’t think this is getting out of hand; on the contrary, I think this is healthy discussion. It’s good to question why we say the things we do from time to time, and why perceptions are perceptions even if they don’t seem all that accurate.

  • Hound:

    Pretty excellent point. Fish is so great; it’s too bad I can’t get him on over the air here in Chicago.

    David:

    I know it’s just one broadcaster and one statement, but it is a perfect example of a larger problem I think is worth looking into. I don’t think this is getting out of hand; on the contrary, I think this is healthy discussion. It’s good to question why we say the things we do from time to time, and why perceptions are perceptions even if they don’t seem all that accurate.

  • McD

    Echo David on that one, this is really getting out of hand with the race card and man crushes. PostmanE – I think you are reading way too much into the analyst’s commentary and he was just filling dead air. Everyone can see that Jamarcus made the play happen.

    I happened to be at the game last night and Assembly Hall rose to their feet more times because of the play of Lance Stemler than any other person on the court. What a turn around from the 1st game of the year. Also, not sure if it made BTN, but the big screen showed a fan holding a sign that read: “If you have Insight, you can’t read this.” The place erupted with laughter.

    I think in general it is easy for the fans to identify with Stemler because he plays with heart all the time, which is different than playing hard. And I would argue that the whole team does not play hard all the time – go back and watch the Xavier tape and see some of the transition defense and blocking out and help-side rotation efforts.

    A couple of other thoughts:

    Where would this team be without Mike White the last couple of games with his production and a needed extra body?

    This team gets immediately better on defense and rebounding with the return of AJ Ratliff on Dec 15. He gives us another excellent on the ball defender with shot blocking ability and goes to the glass well.

  • McD

    Echo David on that one, this is really getting out of hand with the race card and man crushes. PostmanE – I think you are reading way too much into the analyst’s commentary and he was just filling dead air. Everyone can see that Jamarcus made the play happen.

    I happened to be at the game last night and Assembly Hall rose to their feet more times because of the play of Lance Stemler than any other person on the court. What a turn around from the 1st game of the year. Also, not sure if it made BTN, but the big screen showed a fan holding a sign that read: “If you have Insight, you can’t read this.” The place erupted with laughter.

    I think in general it is easy for the fans to identify with Stemler because he plays with heart all the time, which is different than playing hard. And I would argue that the whole team does not play hard all the time – go back and watch the Xavier tape and see some of the transition defense and blocking out and help-side rotation efforts.

    A couple of other thoughts:

    Where would this team be without Mike White the last couple of games with his production and a needed extra body?

    This team gets immediately better on defense and rebounding with the return of AJ Ratliff on Dec 15. He gives us another excellent on the ball defender with shot blocking ability and goes to the glass well.

  • casey

    I am getting REALLY burnt out with all of this negative Stemler talk. KS feels that Stemler is the best choice, the players feel that he is the best choice. Leave it alone. There is a lot more worthwile conversation that we could be having.

  • casey

    I am getting REALLY burnt out with all of this negative Stemler talk. KS feels that Stemler is the best choice, the players feel that he is the best choice. Leave it alone. There is a lot more worthwile conversation that we could be having.

  • sizeless

    TSell and MKM….. go peddle ur racist b.s. to al sharpton or jesse jackson…. noone on here is gonna
    take the bait.

  • sizeless

    TSell and MKM….. go peddle ur racist b.s. to al sharpton or jesse jackson…. noone on here is gonna
    take the bait.