Fan Report: Hulls or Rivers at PG? Think again.

  • 06/28/2010 5:56 pm in

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 11: Guard Verdell Jones III #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers drives with the ball the Northwestern Wildcats during the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)The Fan Report is Inside the Hall’s version of Letters to the Editor. Submit a Fan Report at this link. Today’s entry was submitted by Joe Moffo.

Upon viewing Inside the Hall today, I noticed the new poll on who the starting PG for next season should be. The two options: Jordan Hulls and Jeremiah Rivers. As I saw this the only thought that came to my head was “None of the Above.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Jordan Hulls, but I don’t think he is going to be next year’s starter and here is why:

– Prior to Hulls’ explosion against Northwestern, Tom Crean decided that Verdell Jones was going to take over the duties as PG. The reasons? Plentiful. Jones is not a consistent threat to shoot the ball from outside like a two-guard or a three can. Also, Maurice Creek or not, Jones is arguably the top threat on the team to drive the lane and create a shot for himself or a teammate, or get to the line (Jones lead the team and was 2nd in conference with 6.1 attempts per game from the line). Also, Jones has the experience and the savvy, he was clearly the only player on the roster willing to step up in the clutch when needed most (see Minnesota game).

– Hulls off the point allows him to work more freely, and thus creates more shot opportunities. And let us all be honest, Hulls contributions are going to come from behind the arc. He doesn’t have the size or athleticism to break down the D and barrel down the lane.

– Rivers is not a good offensive player. He was anything but the calm, experienced leader this team needed. Also, he can’t shoot at all, if you didn’t notice. He’s valuable for his defense off the bench, and of course, blocking weak break-away layups.

Next season is up in the air in my mind. But at this point, I see Crean utilizing a lineup of Jones, Creek, Christian Watford, Derek Elston, and Bobby Capobianco. This team though young, lengthy, athletic, and after watching Elston emerge late, it would have four legitimate scoring threats. It would also take the 3-pointer, allowing the offense to spread the floor the Tom Crean way.

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  • Wait a second, I don't want to known as the guy that made people think Rivers should be the point guard :). That's not what I'm saying.

    I think Rivers is best suited off the bench at this point as a defensive specialist and slasher. Let's not forget, Rivers actually played really well in the Northwestern Big Ten Tourney game in this role.

    I agree with you on what is needed in a point guard out of CTC's offense. I think Hulls is the best option at running the break, he just knows where to go with the ball and finds guys in the right spots, but the problem there is that our defense hasn't been good enough to get us into the break often enough, so Hulls advantage here is minimized a bit.

    I'm with you on VJIII as of right now. IMO until Hulls shows he can create and penetrate in the dribble-drive in the half-court set, he can't be the full-time point guard. He very well could prove this ability next season, I really hope he does because I think IU will be better when Hulls is in charge, we just haven't seen it yet. So, until he shows it, I think you have to go with VJIII.

    I love your idea of just switching the offense we run. I think coaches need to be flexible based on their rosters. It just doesn't make sense to me to run a system because it's “your system” when you don't have the personnel. I'd be very much in favor of a more motion or flex offense that could better take advantage of Hulls abilities, although regardless of the offense, I think he needs to develop or show the ability to penetrate and create.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I agree that Capo will be a solid contributor for four years, ala Brian Butch or any number of big, strong forwards WISC has run out there over the past ten years!

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I say we move CW to the point. It would be like a poor man's Jalen Rose at the point, he can pass, and he wouldn't get ten shots blocked a game!

    Disclaimer: This is only a joke. I'm not serious about moving CW to the point although it wouldn't be a bad idea to have him trigger the offense occasionally to change the set and pace.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    The only thing I'm holding out for is that CTC will have Creek, Watford, and Elston on the floor at the same freaking time!!! All last season I complained and begged to see CW and DE on the floor at the same time only to see CTC alternate the two of them for 4/5 of the season! You can't always have all your best offensive threats on the floor at the same time due to position conflicts but there is no reason why DE and CW can't be on the floor at the same time!!!

  • JerryCT

    Ha ……….Did not mean to scare you …. or make you guilty by associating with me.

    It is just that you hit the nail on the head by noting the limited dimensions in Hulls game IN THIS OFFENSE. he is a catch and shoot 3pt specialist and a ball handler outside the arc. If he could handle ball screens and rebound and penetrate then we would have something.

    Cully Payne did it to him ( rebound and drive ) I hope he can develop to do it to others.

  • PBrowning

    Good discussion!

    It does not appear that anyone has mentioned team chemistry. Seems to me I have heard past issues of JR not getting alone with teammates – or at least ruffling feathers from time to time. If that is the case, it could put him at a disadvantage over VJIII or Hulls. CTC is all about the TEAM.

  • Kelin Blab

    I am with both of you guys, jerry and bgleas, but it is a matter of priority for me…yes Jordy needs to figure out how to get into the lane and not drift in the corner..but he makes good decisions. J. Rivers is our strongest rebounding point and fastest player that can get the ball up the court to start a break…but he does some dumb stuff with the ball at times….then there is VJ3, who seems to be the happy medium between the two.

    I am a huge fan of Jordan, and most comfortable with the ball in his hands and running whatever Crean chooses to run. He is at his best as Jerry mentioned in something with more structure and less creativity…offensively. If JR can correct some things from last year, IU could be really tough this season

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    With this lineup you are leaving out the team's leading scorer two years running (VJ3) and putting a guy (no pun intended) in the lineup who hasn't seen a single second of D1 let alone B10 basketball (GMM).

    May I ask why?

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    The lineup that played the best at the end of the season (by the end of the season I mean the one win at home against NW) was Hulls, VJ3, Watford, Elston, and Capo. They played really well in that game and I was utterly amazed, while sitting at the Big 10 tournament, that CTC didn't stick with that lineup at all in the rematch against NW in the first round. It would only make sense to insert your best player in that lineup where he goes which would mean this year's lineup would probably be VJ3, Creek, Watford, Elston, Capo.

    Tberry, that lineup never saw time together last year because Creek went down well before Capo or Elston started to get significant minutes and JR was still playing a lot of point when Creek went down.

    In my opinion the name of the game is scoring more points than the other team!!! There's two schools of thought here. First, put the best defensive team on the floor to limit the other team's offensive output. Second, put the best offensive team on the floor and try to outscore them.

    It seems to me that no defense we throw out at this point (with the players returning) is going to shut a decent team down so our best chance at winning is outscoring the other team. So, it only makes sense to put your five best offensive threats on the floor and figure out how to run an offense that will set them up and give them opportunities to score, right?

    I grew up here like most of you and played basketball in high school and I get really confused sometimes about how guys interpret the game. A wise man once told me the name of the game was putting the round ball in the hoop more than the other guys. Whatever lineup does that is the best lineup IU can put out there! It would be nice to have the depth and talent to run multiple units out there who excelled offensively and defensively, but at this point that's not the case, so let's put the five best scorers (whoever they may be) on the floor and run with it and see if we can outscore a few more teams than we did last year!

  • MillaRed

    There is a reason Duke was looking at this kid eh Johnny?

  • MillaRed

    I just read that the chubby kid from Iowa that killed us with those three's is no longer on the team. Academically ineligible. Not huge news but I hated watching that game!

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I hope so man! I do agree, and have posted before, that Jordan Hulls is the type of player to put in more work than anyone else thus narrowing the gap between his athleticism and the next guy's. Intangibles are something that a point guard must have, such as leadership, intelligence, court awareness, court vision, guts, moxie, determination, etc. and Hulls has those. He has always been the type of player to recognize his short comings and improve on them. I've said it before, but I totally expect him to see where he struggled last year (penetrating and getting into the lane) and figure out a way to get better at it. Whether it is strength so guys can't hang on him and he wears them down, or agility training to give him a better burst on his first step, Jordan Hulls will definitely work harder than anyone else and if it's there at all, and by this I mean the God given talent, then he'll figure out a way to maximize it and I HOPE it's there because with his intangibles and work ethic he could be exactly what you're saying he is going to be.

    I just prefer to wait and see rather than step out of faith as you have and predict such a season from Jordy!

  • Sallad

    This whole discussion might change–I just saw Jeremiah on campus on crutches with his ankle taped up. It was just tape, not a boot, but he wasn't putting any weight on it.

    Also saw Crean on the golf cart carting what looked to be two recruits and their dads around. Any idea who is on campus right now?

  • iubase

    I hope Jordan can do what everyone expects and if so he would be the starting PG. If however he is not able to pull off the Mark Price imitation then I feel JR is our best bet. His outside shooting and confidence need to improve. If JR can hit the 15-20 footer consistently then he could provide the skills that would make others around him better. He is a ball mover and with Mo and Elston running with him the TO's should decrease significantly. Hopefully we can find someone to bang with the bigs and get rebounds in a crowd. Capobianco and Pitch (please be in shape) can get it done – and maybe some of the additions can help – but knowing what we know at present – the easiest solution is JR finding a jump shot….

  • Indiana Red

    Crean just Tweeted that Rivers has a “bad ankle sprain”. Without further details, it's pretty hard to speculate, but losing workout days can't help regardless. Here's to a speedy recovery.

    Not sure about the recruits, Sallad.


    agree but i guess we will have to wait to see if Mo has it in him and honestly dont want to see more pt for JR unless he develops a jump shot and can hit FTs with any kind of consistency

  • Outoftheloop

    I like Hulls at PG and I like Jones at PG. I do not think that IU needs a 40 min/game PG. Start Jones with Guy, Elston, Watford and Creek and see how it goes. Then put in Hulls for the one out of the four who is not scoring. Then remove Hulls if he can not hold his own defensively. Rotate in Capo and Pritchard. Check out Roth's 3 pt shot. Go with a tough pressing, running group including Rivers, Sheehey and Oladipo. These changes will occur in every game and multiple times each game. IU needs 2 real NBA prospects ( I think these will be Creek and Watford but Jones and Elston may surprise us) plus 8-10 good college players.

  • Outoftheloop

    Thanks, that was really good information. I think that if you re-read my posts I did not claim any knowledge of Nash's athleticism, only his NBA basketball ability. I just wanted some information to justify the “very athletic” assertion. You have just given me some in this post and I am thankful. I enjoy learning more and there are lots of people out there with experiences and information that I do not have.

  • FWHoosier

    With regards to the “system”, the coach's system is also geared toward recruiting. I think we would see more success with a different system geared toward these player, but I understand that CTC is trying to build a program. If he changes his system, he risks losing out on players that fit the system that he really wants to run. It may actually be better to expose an obvious need in our lineup and then go to a recruit and say you can fill that hole right away and be the difference maker.

    In year three, I think the Hoosiers have many more players that fit the system than two years ago and Crean has displayed his excitement about that. Several of the recruits on the horizon will complete that picture in 2012. The trick will be getting enough quality wins this year to keep those recruits coming while playing with players that don't necessarily fit the system. It is a catch-22.

  • Outoftheloop

    See my post above, start Jones, then Hulls, then Rivers in spurts with Sheehey and Oladipo. Whichever one has the best game going versus that particular opponent and matchup is good for me. But we will need big scoring from Creek, Watford, Jones and Elston in every game to win.

  • DowningV

    Osterman is 4guards.

  • JerryCT

    good points FW

  • Johnny

    Jerry CT
    Please go to an open gym……… will be able to see more from Hulls. Did you see him in high school? He is more very much more than a 3 point shooter. In fact, Crean didn’t even realize what a great 3 point shooter he was until practice started last year. I believe it took awhile for Hulls to get with the speed of the game this year. Actually, most freshmen have a huge learning curve along with having to learn the speed of the game. If anyone is going to improve from last year to this it will be Hulls. He can do so many more things then showed last year. If you look at it, he had to make some adjustments himself when creek went down. He went from being a ball distributor to a shooter very quickly. His role changed. Some may not see that, but it did. He had to be more of a scorer because we didn’t have anyone else. He did a good job and should have shot the ball more. If we would actually run an offense instead of standing and hoping that the ball handler can break his defender down and get to the basket. Once getting to the basket, it was rare that JR finished, or for that matter even made a good decision with the ball. You say Hulls is limited dimensions in his offense…………..tell me what rivers can do offensively? The problem with him is that other teams don’t guard him and leave him wide open clogging the lane even more. At least Hulls stretches the defense with his shooting. JR is a nice kid and all, but a 5th year senior…….and we are hoping he works on his outside shot. I would say it is really tooooo late for that wouldn’t you? If you can’t do it now, you are not going to be able to do it, especially in a high caliber game. When Hulls or VJ shoot, they expect it to go in……….hoping it goes in is a middle school trait. I would say the kids that work on their game the most will see the time otherwise they will see the pine.

  • HoosNation

    VJ never put a move on somebody with the ball, crossover or behind the back or whatever, to get into the lane. the reason he was in the lane is because they ran that “around the world double screen” that took 20 seconds to pan out that ended with him getting a jumper from the elbow. which I feel is his game. Not as a ball handler. the reason he was the PG last year is because of the season circumstances. VJ is definately one of the top 5 players on the team, but he's not the #1 guy at any position. His role should be the best 6th man in the BigTen and to provide instant offense when he checks in. I'm not saying hes not good enough to start, skill wise, but his skill set doesn't warrant the start for this team next year. I am a huge VJ fan and he carried us last season, we all agree, but MC is back and obviously gets the start in the slot VJ best fits. Gotta score more than the other team, but you can't when the other team gets more shots(no D), possessions(TO's), and second chance points(TP's man). There is a lot of other aspects to improve on for us to win than just picking a PG.

    This could be one of the most passionate topics to date. Great posts guys!!!

  • HoosNation

    Sure. Thanks AFKA_A07. The thought behind starting Guy is simply for rebounds, blocks, put backs and the alley-ooooooop! The reason VJ was the leading scorer the last two years is bc last year Creek went down and so did the game plan for the season. VJ stepped up, but he was surrounded by freshman. Circumstances forced him to be the leading scorer. As for the previous year, well saying he was the best of the worst really isn't saying much at all. I understand numbers don't lie, but you can definately put an asterick beside his leading scorer title. I think that he will be outscored by Creek, Watford and Elston this year when it's all said and done. I believe he will be a strong contributor to the team and we NEED him, but he has to take a lesser role this year. I feel like I could go on but I hope that gives you an idea as to what I was thinking.

  • Definitely great posts and a great discussion. I love the ITH crew.

    I have to disagree with you regarding VJIII not breaking anyone down with the ball. I mean this guy was the leading scorer (minus Creek – only 11 games) on a team that ran an offense called the dribble-drive that had no point guard and no post presence. You really think he not once put a move on somebody? The offense is nearly solely based on breaking your man down and he led the team in scoring at 15ppg?!?!

    Remember the Minnesota game? Although he nearly lost the game for us, he also won it for us almost by himself.

    I do agree with you that his best role is as a 6th man, like you said it's not that he can't start, but his game is almost tailored as an instant offensive guy off the bench. And if VJIII is coming off the bench that means someone beat him out, which in turn means we're really developing guys and building depth.

    So with that said, I'd love for Hulls to beat out VJIII and be the point guard and leader of this team, but I firmly believe he and the team will be better off if he earns is on the court and is not handed the role like many fans want him to be.

    I can almost envision VJIII as the PG to begin the season with the team improving, but not taking off. Meanwhile Hulls is slowly building confidence and proving that he can run the team, then all of a sudden maybe 10 games in it clicks for Hulls as far as how to really take command of this offense and from there on Hulls and the team takes off, with VJIII being highest scoring bench player in the Big Ten. I think it could be a program changing moment, but I think Hulls has to prove it in the games and on the court, not just in practice or by the fans that desperately want it to happen.

  • Sorry everyone. I've been toggling between BGleas and Brian Gleason in this thread. For some reason on some computers I'm logged in through Disqus and on others I'm logged in through Twitter. Hopefully everyone realized it was the same person. I'll get it fixed 🙂

  • marcusgresham

    I said at one time, and I wasn't joking, that I would strongly consider having him play the point on a 1-2-2 zone defense. That's a lot of arm to throw passes through, and he's quick enough to cover some ground. Watford on the point, Rivers/Oladipo/Creek/Sheehey (some combination of that group,) on the wings, and two big guys down low. I wouldn't run it the whole game, but I think you'd befuddle some teams if you used that in spurts.

  • marcusgresham

    Home ec must not be a class at Iowa, 'cause I bet that fat boy can grill some ribs.

  • marcusgresham

    Not sure which PG will start, but I have a pretty good idea of which will end the game. If IU's down, it's going to be Rivers for defensive purposes. If they're winning I'd hope Hulls & Jones are both in the game, because they've both shown the ability to hit free throws. None of them are perfect, but at least there are options depending on scenarios.

  • HoosNation

    I can also see that happening BG. I just hope it doesn't take that long if that's the scenario. WE ALL hope for the best for the Hoos, and all these posts are our ideas to better the team. I don't feel like one lineup is going to absolutely kill the team and another is going to go undefeated by any means. What we can all agree on is the fact that we are a different team next year and to be able to debate with 130+ posts which players make us better means we have some talented kids!

  • MillaRed

    I really can't see how it's possible to determine any of this at this point in time. I think Capo showed more competitiveness and courage than the majority of the team last year. For the last two years, we have been throwing these freshmen to the wolves and acting as if that is normal for a Big Ten Program. Meanwhile seniors to be like McCamey, Lucas etc are coming back with 5 times the experience.

    Fact is, everyone but TP and VIII have a single year of experience. Let's give them another one or two before we decide who sits and who doesn't.

  • MillaRed

    The reality may be the win-loss record will be the same anyway. Under the circumstances, I like the idea of the starting line-up changing from game to game. We all saw how JR was all bent out of shape when he got benched last year for good reason.

    I don't think we have 5 players that have separated themselves from the next five at this point. Hopefully by the Big Ten opener we have a better idea of what works best for this group of kids.

    Could VO be one of those starters? That would be interesting eh?

  • MillaRed

    No way Verdell sits. It just isn't going to happen. If anyone on this team has earned anything its VIII. And it started when he jilted Bruce Weber to become a Hoosier. It may be a year away, but with the right people around him, VIII can go for 18-5-4 a game and will continue to get Big Ten honors.

    Like many have mentioned, at this point in time, he may be our best PG OPTION. Yes he has deficiencies, but we are not better with Jordy on the floor instead of VIII. Jordy cannot create his own shot and Verdell is top 5 in the conference in that category. Deadly mid-range game with a hand in his face.

  • MillaRed

    Nicely done. Furthermore, he was a sophomore on a pretty terrible team. Another case of working with a team that has played together for a single season. As the talent and experience level rises, the better the stats and more importantly the wins will follow.

  • MillaRed

    Think about this for a minute. How many games did Creek play in the Big Ten? Zilch! Derek and Bobby got their playing time late in the season. You saw this many times? I don't think it was even many minutes.

    Let the kids mature a little bit and play together for a while.

  • Outoftheloop


  • HoosNation

    I can see this team doing away with the pigeonhole 1,2, and 3 label and being able to get out and run and whoever gets the ball between the guards will have the ability to continue the fastbreak or secondary break. This style of play is not typical BIG ten play, but TC might just be at the forefront of something in this conference. I wish we could see the future…………….

  • OldTimer

    I like this starting five, but not for the reason HoosNation suggested. Offensively, Hulls is our best true point guard. He is however, only 6 foot, and not the best defensive guard around, hence Guy at center to intimidate those taking Jordy down low. Derek and Christian make a pair of formidable forwards for a team to match up against, and Mo, well if he's at or close to 100%, he's the man.
    And VJIII? There's the beauty of it. We finally have a legitimate threat coming off the bench. One that can come in for 4 of the 5 starters without us missing a beat. Jordy needs a rest? VJIII replaces him straight up. Mo? Same thing. Christian? Mo moves to the 3, VJIII to the 2.
    Derek? Christian to 4, Mo to 3, VJIII to 2. This could also keep the opposing coach guessing, making the opposing team react to us for a change.
    It also takes some pressure off of TP, which would hopefully have him coming back to the player we saw flashes of the 1st half of his freshman season.
    Now if Guy doesn't pan out…..none of this works!
    But for IU to be good this season (I'm talking .500 or a little better) Guy, TP, or Cap have to step up and play solid, solid not great, in the middle.
    Sigh…I can see this team winning as few as 12 games, or as many as 18 or 19. Still too many questions, not enough answers!

  • MillaRed

    I think there is a lot of man-love out there for Jordy. I'll start taking
    bets now on the “VIII comes off the bench” theory starting right now……..

  • hoosierclarion

    I still prefer Hulls. VJ should be sixth man off the bench.