That’s a Wrap: Bobby “The Situation” Capobianco

  • 04/02/2010 2:25 pm in

Welcome 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 (31 games): 2.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 39.7% FG, 31.3% from three.

Bobby Capobianco
was so excited to be a Hoosier that I’m not entirely sure he slept the night before he faxed in his letter of intent. What I do know is that his was the first the IU staff received on the first day of the signing period in late 2008, and his enthusiasm didn’t seem to waiver much after that.

Capobianco, whose nickname, seen above, Chris Korman never adequately explained to me, was as physical a body as the Hoosiers had all year. His willingness to get in the mix down low was rarely a problem — its only shortcomings were that a) it led to plenty of foul trouble and b) it wasn’t infectious enough.

Review game tape, and you’ll see Capobianco was one of the most vocal and demonstrative players Indiana had this season. As the year wore on, more and more of said vocalization seemed laced with frustration, which is understandable. Frankly, IU needed more players like Capobianco and Verdell Jones, not less. It’s only through that kind of demanding attitude this team will ever get better.

Offensively, Capobianco was never really a force, nor was he expected to be. His two best games, oddly enough, were George Mason (seven points, 10 rebounds) and Northwestern (eight points, seven rebounds), two games that could not have had more starkly different impact or meaning for IU as a team. Still, rarely did Capobianco make an appearance and not at least fulfill at least his most basic expectations.

The Bottom Line: Something that occurred to me toward the end of the season about Capobianco seems to fit best right in here — of all six freshmen that made up that heralded class, Capobianco was probably the one whose expectations and results were most congruent.

Maurice Creek was very good, probably better than most of us reasonably expected. Jordan Hulls was solid, but clearly in need of seasoning and size. Christian Watford was productive, but struggled playing not quite in his natural position and against strength. As Ryan rightly pointed out, Derek Elston struggled with consistency. And Bawa Muniru … well, let’s be honest and say that anyone who came into this season with any idea what to expect of Muniru at all was lying to themselves.

But Capobianco, to torture the phrase, was about what we thought he would be. He was tough, if sometimes over-matched simply because juniors and seniors have been lifting weights longer. He was a banger who was unafraid to do the dirty work down low. He wasn’t prolific offensively, he had decent but not outstanding success behind the 3-point line and, like any freshman of his skillset and disposition, he struggled at times to play physically without fouling.

Bobby Capobianco was as advertised, and Indiana could probably have used more players like him.

Filed to:

  • zosterma

    Oops, hit the wrong “reply” button. My bad. The sentiment remains, however.

  • psvirsky

    Well said. I spend tons of time reading sports blogs for my favorite teams (just ask my wife…) and I gravitate towards specific ones for two reasons – either they challenge my thought process or put into words what I can't. While this one does a bit of the first, for the most part this site absolutely hits the money on the second one. I think I have agreed 100% with all of the “Wrap” pieces and have gotten a great sense of closure from reading them.

    Really looking forward to 3 more years of Capo. And not to jack the thread from the get-go, but is there any news on Wilkins? Any idea when he might decide?

  • CutterInChicago

    “The Situation” is an outstanding nickname for our man Bobby C. Agree with psvirsky, these “Wrap” columns are solid.

  • Wish

    Can someone get ahold of his GPA because that's where he's going to be most useful over his career at IU. Hands of stone and feet of lead, he's the right handed version of Pritchard.

    He seems like a hard worker but if he's in your top 8 then you are struggling as a team.

  • JerryCT

    Does anybody agree w me that he seems to run the floor like Luke Harangody ?

    Does the similarity have to end there ?

  • Dirk


  • Druid

    I for one am very happy we have Bobby C. He is someone who is out there to give their all. I couldn't be more proud of frankly, our entire team. Mark my words, they will be very competitive next season and Bobby C. will be a big part of it.

  • MillaRed

    You are absolutely correct, aside from the fact Capo can hit the three, or a jump shot of any kind for that matter, Capo can hit free throws, Capo is a vocal leader, Capo has more upside.

    Actually, he's nothing like Pritchard. Sorry.

    I like Capo. Glad to have him and look forward to him doing some dirty work and polishing his jumper. It will come in handy.

  • paynilia

    Bobby C's problem is clearly confidence, as shown by how rattled he got once he missed a few free throws right when the game was slipping against UK…once he gets some confidence he could be a solid 2nd or 3rd guy off the bench. I still like Elston's potential better, and I agree that regardless, If we have to start either Capo/Pritch, we cannot really compete in the big 10

  • zosterma

    I spent the last season covering Harangody, and I can tell you the similarities between him and Capobianco are nominal at best, at least in this point in Capobianco's career. Harangody was already basically a starter by the end of his freshman season.

  • zosterma

    Oops, hit the wrong “reply” button. My bad. The sentiment remains, however.

  • walton

    Its definitely obvious that Indiana is struggling right now, but it isn't necessarily because Capo is in the top 8 of the lineup. Put seven all americans before him in the line up and I doubt it is a struggling team. Capo brings a toughness that is needed no matter how much better talent there is on the team. I think he is one of those perfect puzzle piece type of players you need on every team. He works hard and makes practice that much better for the rest of the team. I don't see him as a player that is going to get a bad attitude if he isn't playing much, but going to give all he has when he is on the floor. He dives for balls, he puts bodies on people, will get some rebounds, and maybe even score a couple points here and there. I really feel every team needs these types of players to play 10-15 minutes a game. Capo is not IU's problem.

    Great article by the way.

  • Indiana_Knight

    I think Capo has shown some potential, but I don't expect his contributions to grow much next year disregarding the extra minutes he'll likely see. I think his ability to shoot from three and make free throws might help him prove me wrong though if things fall his way a bit. I did note that he played with intensity, like Elston, and that might become more infectious once he and Elston are able to prove it a bit more on the court.

    Also, I'd like to add that this is an excellent feature and that the staff has done a great job on it. These pieces have really offered a great breakdown of what specific players did and didn't do well and has been terrifically entertaining. I'm really looking forward to seeing Verdell's wrap-up; he improved so much coming into this year and I literally cannot wait to see him as a slightly-less-scrawny, battle-tested junior.

  • BFowler

    If someone knows more of the story than I, please feel free to correct me, but I believe the nickname came from Don Fischer during a broadcast and Korman and the gang over at the H-T ran with it. It has something to do with somebody on “Jersey Shore” (although I have never seen the show, so I do not really know).

    I also want to agree with the throng of supporters for this series of posts. Keep up the good work.

  • Luke72

    Nice article! His skill set has a ways to go but in the tradition of Fife, AJ Moye and a host of others his effort made him a favorite this season! The put it all out there on the floor attitude hopefully will catch on with how our Hoosiers play the game!

  • Taskmaster75

    I think the picture reflects Bobby's reaction to his nickname…

    “Uhhh, my nickname is what?”

  • BaseballBuc

    I agree with Milla here, except for the fact that Capo can hit free throws. Because he can't. They were both around 40% I believe.

  • marcusgresham

    He's our “Wisconsin”-type guy. Not the most athletic, but strong, determined, and willing to beat the ever-lovin' Hell out of you for 40 minutes.

  • Gene Keady would kill to have had Capo in 1988

  • JerryCT

    Z….its Easter……not in the mood for miracles ?

  • aceman07

    I disagree if that is his role, the 5th starter that is . . . I watch Wisconsin compete every year with guys like that in their starting lineup. By “like that” I mean bruisers who go out there, rebound, play solid defense, score when the ball is thrown to them when they are wide open, and play with high energy!

    That's the type player that you can win in the Big 10 with! Unfortunately, that doesn't translate well into the more athletic NCAA tournament as we saw this year with WISC.

  • Wish

    I meant that if they tried to play catch with each other they'd struggle to catch the ball and a 90 ft race would between the two would be the most exciting two minutes in sports.

    Capo shot 40% from the field, 31% from three and 46% from the free throw line this season. To say he's good at any of those tasks would really be a stretch. I don't think he's even as good as Pritchard seeing as Pritchard hit 61% from the field, but I didn't want to dog the kid too much.

  • I think its important to note that when Coach K first got hired at Duke it took him a long time to have a winning season. Now look what he has build at Duke 11 final fours, 3 national championships, and maybe a 4th one though I am for Butler. The point being made for those who are ready to get rid of Crean, I think would be the worse mistake for Indiana. As Indiana fans we got to give Crean time because that is what it takes to rebuild a program. It paid off for Duke hopefully it will pay off for Indiana. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  • MillaRed

    Well, I guess it depends how you look at it. From where I see it, Capo looks much more comfortable and confident than TP at this point. I think he is the best big prospect we have right now. That may not be saying much to some based on the current roster. But Capo just looks like a winner and I am looking forward to him contributing next season.

    You mention TPs shooting percentage. In this particular case, if you think that statistic suggests TPs a better player, I just don't see it. Capo had a much better year than Pritchard. He played all of the significant minutes at the end of the season.

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    I agree, you know that every time he gets out on the court he is playing with 100% intensity. Even if it's plays that don't have much impact on a game, like leveling a Purdue player with a pick, BobbyC likes to play with some fire

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    A little off-topic from talking about Capo, but I have to agree with you. A lot of people are expecting immediate results when they don't realize how decimated our program was after Sampson left. Let Crean do his thing for 5 years, then people can decide whether or not he is fit to be the head coach for Indiana.

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    I was a little surprised that Capo didn't shoot the three more. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought he was advertised as the “Ohio Assassin” or something similar and was supposed to be lethal from 3 point land

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    I agree, you know that every time he gets out on the court he is playing with 100% intensity. Even if it's plays that don't have much impact on a game, like leveling a Purdue player with a pick, BobbyC likes to play with some fire

  • billsummers

    i think indiana can win at least 9 games next year.crean is looking at 4 more guards to bring in the next 2 years.

  • MillaRed

    No disrepect Wish, but if you think that TP has the same outlook as Capo right now, we are in different galaxies. I saw two completely different players at the end of the year.

    I am “hoping” TP can get better. And I am “looking forward” to watching Capo develop.

  • Wish

    If TP had better stats than Capo, played more minutes than Capo and started more games than Capo then how did he have a better season? TP even had a better PER than Capo. I don't think Capo is a better prospect than Elston and I'm not sure his upside is even better than Bawa's. He's certainly not the best big man prospect on the Bloomington campus right now.

    I don't know, maybe it's the buzz cut that makes him look like a winner to you because I'm not seeing anything else right now that makes me think that. I saw VJIII, Hulls and Rivers giving him a lot of dirty looks because of dropped passes….that I saw a lot.

  • MillaRed

    Nicely done sir.

  • MillaRed

    Five years? I dunno man. I would be concerned for him if has a similar season as he did in 2009-2010. I don't see any reason why IU should not be much improved next season.

  • Wish

    In my galaxy both players would transfer or just redirect their efforts towards undergrad degrees. The only reason I wouldn't want them to transfer is because it would leave IU short on the front line and a warm body is better than no body.

    I agree, TP was on 'the outs' at the end of the year and Capo played more but his development went from 'deer in headlights' to 'walking mummy' while on the floor.

    Neither player is bound to make much of an impact over the next two or three years in the B10.

  • MillaRed

    The “warm body is better than no body” is the whole point. Were there 20 other bigs I wish would have signed with IU? Sure. But the reality is, at this point in time, Capo is an important cog for IU. Especially with the decline of TP and the huge question mark in Bawa.

    The two of these guys just are not transferring. TP? Not sure maybe.

    But yes I agree there are better prospects throughout the land but Capo is on the IU roster and there are zero bigs signed through 2011. That makes me a Capo fan.

    In terms of “impact” I really don't think he was brought in to average double-doubles. He's a role player. I'm sure every team in the Sweet 16 has a few handfuls of players that were not major impacts in the box score but helped them get to the dance.

  • NevoGamer

    One fundamental difference between TP and “The Situation”… Bobby C got better as his freshman year wore on. IMHO, TP has been sliding the wrong way since the Big 10 season in 2009.

  • Wish

    But after that nearly two year slide TP is still putting up better #'s than Capo. That doesn't say much for the kid, does it?

  • Taskmaster75

    I would give him 5 years. The dude did sign a 10 year contract yeah? The buyout would be immense. Plus, I am still convinced he is the correct guy for the job.

  • MillaRed

    I'm not going to disagree with you guys. He was left a downright mess. My question is, five years until what? An NCAA appearance (now with 96 teams)? A Sweet 16? I'm curious to see what is acceptable in year 5.

    Let me ask you this, can we agree this team did not improve in the second half of last season? If so, what if in 2010-2011 we continue to struggle and end up with the same overall record?

    No worries, I am in the Crean camp. But there has to be some pressure to imrove next season, doesn't there?

  • Taskmaster75

    Well, with the new NCAA bracket. I would say getting past the first round would be a successful venture. If he made the tourney with like a 18-14 record, that might be grounds, but I don't think we will have that dilemma.

    “If so, what if in 2010-2011 we continue to struggle and end up with the same overall record?”

    Mmmm, tough question. I would be disappointed, but I wouldn't be shocked. This group still has fundamental mistakes they make. They still have to reincorporate their leading scorer into the mix, etc. It would suck, to be frank, but I would still set the deadline rather than see gradual improvement.

    In other words, if I were the AD, I would tell Crean when I hired him that I would give him 5 years, and for those 5 years he can do things his way, but by that point, he would have to reach certain perimeters, or his job security would be at risk.

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