That’s A Wrap: Devan Dumes

  • 03/23/2010 7:30 am in

Jimmy V ClassicWelcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on.

Final Stats (30 games): 17.8 mpg, 6.6 ppg, 2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 33.3% FG, 1.8 tpg.

It certainly wasn’t a banner year for Devan Dumes. Early-season injury woes lost him his starting spot, Maurice Creek’s emergence meant he stayed on the bench and for most of the season, Dumes was nothing more than an empty suit who liked to shoot the ball. After averaging 12.7 points per game last season, Dumes only broke double figures in 10 of 30 games this year. He did not start once.

Dumes was, fairly so, a disappointment to many fans, who had hoped that the unregulated emotion he let control his actions at times in his first season at Indiana would translate into fiery senior leadership this year, for a team that really could have used some. With the right mentality, it was supposed, Dumes could be the “edge” guy, the senior with enough personality and desire to force the same out of his teammates on a consistent basis.

Instead, Dumes was relegated to a) a lot of bench time and b) a lot of griping from fans who complained that he hadn’t matured and that he shot too much. (Which he did.)

The problem was, that disappointment did gloss over some serious high points. It’s easy to forget that Dumes had 11 points in Indiana’s home win over Michigan, including some lights-out shooting early that, at least in part, set the tone. In fact, in the Hoosiers’ four Big Ten wins, Dumes averaged better than 10 points per game.

However, the inconsistency cannot be overlooked. Why was it so easy on those nights? Why, if his points bore at least some correlation to sustained success, could Dumes not find ways to make more nights like them? And where was the emotional, sometimes almost inspired, player that scored 11 points in the narrowest of losses over Illinois, making perhaps the play of the season when he stole the ball from D.J. Richardson near halfcourt, tracked it down and threw in a prayer as the first half expired?

The bottom line: I’ll admit, I tacitly admired what Dumes brought to the Hoosiers last season. The flying elbows aside, there wasn’t enough fire on that team, not enough people just willing to grab the game by the collar and start making demands. Honestly, there wasn’t enough of that this year either, and while I thought Dumes could/would provide it, he rarely did.

I got the chance to sit with Dumes for a few minutes following IU’s season-ending Big Ten Tournament loss to Northwestern two weeks ago. I would absolutely relate to you the primary highlights of that conversation if I had realized before now that my recorder was dead. My kingdom for a AAA battery!

The general summary was this: Dumes was thoughtful, probably to the point of being pensive. He looked like someone who had been hit simultaneously by the reality of his career ending, the frustration of his final year, the enjoyment of being able to say he played basketball at Indiana and just the sheer lunacy of a four-year ride that began Ypsilanti, Mich., and ended at Conseco Fieldhouse, just a stone’s throw from Decatur Central, where he played in high school.

Maybe it was none of those things. Maybe it was all of those things. But in my brief but decently-traveled sports reporting career, I’m not sure I’ve ever spent five more honest minutes with a player than I did in that locker room two weeks ago. Don’t ask me why, because I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Overall, Devan Dumes is a footnote. He was a stopgap measure pulled in from a dimly-lit corner of the college basketball world, and he’ll likely never be remembered by IU fans for anything other than his impressive use of the more pointed limbs on his body. And that’s fair, but not at the same time, you know?

I’m told Dumes has a small but perhaps budding rap career, which, if it ever came to fruition, would probably be the most amazing thing ever to happen to IU basketball. What’s that? Oh wait, no, you’re right, that’s not at all fair to Flo Blitz.

Dumes will, like Kyle Taber and Bret Finkelmeier, likely fade into obscurity, a face you can’t remember at the mall. It was a disappointing end to a tumultuous career, but you have to admit: Devan Dumes was rarely boring.

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