Final Stats (31 games): 4.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 60.9 % FG, 37.3% FT, 1.1 tpg.
When Tom Pritchard decided on September 17, 2007 that he would join the Indiana basketball program, he likely did so with the understanding that his playing time would be sparse early on.
The Hoosiers, after all, would be returning DeAndre Thomas, Eli Holman and adding Devin Ebanks to the front court.
The expectation, from the point of view of Kelvin Sampson and his staff, was that Pritchard would add depth as a freshman and perhaps challenge for a regular spot in the rotation down the line.
But sometimes, as is the case in all walks of life, things just don’t go as originally planned.
As a freshman, the 6-9 Pritchard was a pleasant surprise in a season of rebuilding. Thrust into a starting role more out of necessity than merit, the Ohio native put up respectable numbers in his rookie campaign: 9.7 ppg and 6.4 rpg in 29 minutes per contest.
With some hard work and improvement, Pritchard was likely on his way to a double figure scoring average and would be a solid contributor up front in Tom Crean’s second season, right?
Not so fast.
Statistically, the lefty regressed in every category as a sophomore, with the exception of field goal percentage.
His minutes decreased at a clip of nearly 10 per game, partly due to performance and partly due to his propensity to pick up unnecessary fouls early and often. His free throw percentage dipped to 37 percent. And he finished fifth in total rebounds after leading the team a season ago.
Over the season’s final four games, Pritchard averaged just 1.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11 minutes per game. He needed just 15 minutes to foul out in IU’s 74-55 loss at Purdue.
Pritchard’s struggles were a surprising development given how well he played as a freshman. Teammates were asked about his performance often throughout the season and the consistent response was that Pritchard’s performances in practice were outstanding.
But sans a bright spot or two (13 and 5 at home against Purdue), the Tom Pritchard of 2008-2009 was missing in action in 2009-2010.
The Bottom Line: The days of Pritchard being penciled into Indiana’s starting lineup are likely over. The improvement of Bobby Capobianco coupled with the continued pursuit of Moses Abraham, Will Yeguete and any other capable big man that will listen means that Pritchard will have to earn every second of playing time, which is exactly how it should be throughout the program. The potential for a bounce back season and emergence as a solid back-up is certainly there, but whether that happens is anybody’s guess.
Filed to: Tom Pritchard