Inside the Hall Twitter Mailbag: January 6

  • 01/06/2011 9:33 pm in

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens/J. Scott Photography)

The Inside the Hall Twitter mailbag is a weekly collection of questions tweeted to us via our Twitter account, @insidethehall. Tweet us your questions each week and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward …

@adamnussb writes: what is timetable on gary harris decision and where do you see him committing to?

Alex Bozich: This is a question we receive often, whether it be via Twitter, e-mail or during a live chat, so let’s discuss, shall we? There is no timetable for Gary Harris to make a decision. He told our own Joe Eberhardt as much in a video interview earlier this week. Harris, of course, is the the last piece that could solidify the 2012 class as the best in the country so the buzz is understandable.

Once the Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell decisions passed, the attention naturally shifted to Harris. This is just my opinion, but I believe Harris will choose either Indiana or Michigan State. His list of schools is still lengthy, but those are the two schools that I believe to be standing above the rest.

@RFSchaffner writes: assuming the worst at Minn and NW, is Michigan a “must win”?

Alex Bozich: As you can see, the mailbag got a bit delayed this week, but I’ll tackle this nonetheless. I would consider Michigan a must win if Indiana hopes to surpass its win total year-over-year in the Big Ten. (I would also consider it a must win if IU hopes to make the NIT or the CBI.) The Hoosiers won four in the conference a season ago and beat Michigan at home last year. So this is a game you circle on the calendar as a good possibility for IU. But as we saw with Penn State, nothing is for certain, especially with how tough the Big Ten is this season and IU’s inability thus far to put together a full 40 minutes of stellar play.

@iu77bu81 writes: If IU were to add another 2011 recruit, who are potential options and what position do they play?

Alex Bozich: This discussion must begin and end with a big man. I know, I know, IU has struggled at point guard. But the reality is that they’ve been far worse in the post. Tom Pritchard’s confidence has all but disappeared. Bobby Capobianco’s minutes have dipped. And let’s face it, Derek Elston is not a traditional post player. He’s a 6-9 forward that can hit from the perimeter and also slash a little bit towards the basket. I think we saw that’s where he excels best in the Northern Iowa game in Las Vegas.

The post play will get a boost when Cody Zeller arrives. And from what I’ve seen, he’s going to slide right in at the four. But he’s not a five. What Indiana needs to find is a semi-athletic post player that lives and breathes rebounding and defense. In other words, a player that isn’t afraid to mix it up and do the things that don’t always show up in the box score. To answer your question on the potential options, this is something that will likely be fluid as we move into the spring. Walter Pitchford is a name that’s been tossed around, so we’ll see where that goes, but I’m sure other names will also surface as the days move along.

@AndyBottoms writes: With all the talk of Creek’s recovery and struggles, was any consideration ever given to redshirting him this year?

Alex Bozich: I don’t believe this is something that was given much, if any, consideration. Creek was ruled healthy enough by doctors to return and it’s obvious he wanted to play this season. As Tom Crean said earlier this week on the Big Ten’s coaches conference call, it’s a process for Creek right now and he must continue to trust that the hard work that he’s putting in will eventually pay major dividends.

He’s clearly not the same player that he was prior to his injury but this could actually turn out to be a positive next year when conference play rolls around. Had Creek redshirted, he would have entered the 2011-2012 season without playing in a single Big Ten game. Sure, he’s struggling right now, but I think Indiana and Creek stand to benefit more next year by getting him that experience now.

@rick_park writes: Where, roughly, will Nebraska’s basketball team rank when they join the Big Ten next year?

Alex Bozich: In the bottom third, no question. The last time Nebraska made the NCAA Tournament was 1998. They’ve started this season 12-2, but it’s been against a cream puff schedule (324th nationally according to Pomeroy). Nebraska was brought into the Big Ten for one reason: football. Fun (but totally unrelated to your question) fact: One-time Kelvin Sampson recruit Eshaunte Jones is a sophomore this season for the Cornhuskers.

Filed to:

  • Kelin Blab

    I have a slightly good feeling about Northwestern, not overly athletic, not a ton of match up problems….could be a win….could.

  • Anonymous

    What? Nebraska wasn’t brought in for women’s volleyball?

  • Kelin Blab

    I know Shurna is playing hurt….

  • Anonymous

    Northwestern is going to be as desperate as IU is for a win. The Wildcats consider themselves to be a bubble team (I don’t see it) and a week that saw them get blown out at Illinois and lose at home to our Hoosiers would be very damaging.

    This Sunday could be a very nice win for IU but they are going to have to play well for 40 minutes to get the job done. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a complete effort from this team?

  • Kelin Blab

    I know right now Pitchford is on IU’s radar and they are high on him, however isn’t he more Watford than the type of big banging rebounding guy IU needs? He is very athletic and very very skilled from what I have read but is he the guy down low IU wants/needs. Just found a great hot off the press article about him and apparently IU is ‘really’ recruiting him.

    I do like the rebounding at the top of the square part.

  • I’m trying not to be too hopeful, but with the intensity we’ve shown the last two games, I’m hoping this team has learned what it takes to compete in the Big 10, and as a result hoping we can turn things around and win 3 of the next 4…@NW, vs. Mich and @Iowa…I know, it’s crazy, but a guy can hope, right?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    IU only has a chance at NW if we carry over the defensive improvement from Tuesday and stop the three point shot! They can shoot and that little pest Thompson has always killed IU!

    If we can limit his contributions and limit the number of made threes I think IU has a chance.

  • floridahoosier1

    I believe we can beat NW, Mich & Iowa, but CW has to get off his feet and quit getting his shot blocked by shorter guys. VJIII needs to quit driving into crowds and losing the ball. all our bigs need to learn to jump and quit thinking it’s high school where they were bigger than most and just stood there for RB’s. Jordy needs to at least double his shot attempts. Will & VO need at least 25 a piece on the court together, and we need to set up with picks and screens our shooters when things clog up inside. IMO

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Look at the strength in Gary Harris’ body! That kid looks college ready.

  • Anonymous

    Carmody said after the game last night that Shurna may not be healthy for 3 more weeks. He barely played in the 2nd half, though the game was over by halftime…

  • InTheMtns

    I don’t really have any insights, but I’ve wondered that, too. He started at Marquette, where he had an injury-plagued freshman season. After CTC left Marquette, Mbakwe transferred to Miami-Dade Junior College for the 2008-09 season. That transfer seemed to surprise everyone, but maybe he did it because of grades or maybe because he knew he wanted to leave Marquette and didn’t want to have to sit out a year for transferring. He did well at the JC — was rated among the top junior college players in the country for that season.

    Then he transferred to Minnesota. Don’t know if he looked at Indiana or not or if they looked at him or not. But, he didn’t play for Minny during the 2009-10 season because of a university suspension stemming from a felony assault charge against a woman in Florida in April, 2009. Mbakwe maintained his innocence, claiming a case of mistaken identity. He missed the entire season, largely because of delays in his court date.

    During that time he began looking to transfer again because the university couldn’t/wouldn’t assure him that his suspension would be lifted if the case continued into 2010-11 season. He visited the University of Memphis, but I’m not sure if he had other visits or not. In August 2010, the case was settled in a pretrial program and he stuck with the Gophers.

    Mbakwe transferred a lot in high school, presumably to get better coaches or playing situations and by 2009 had had 2 college coaches. Maybe he liked Crean but following a coach isn’t his thing or maybe he had limited experience with Crean since he played so little his freshman year. Crean speaks highly of him and seems to imply he still has a connection with him. Maybe he wanted to transfer to IU after JC, but Crean wouldn’t/couldn’t look at him because of the pending assault case. Don’no, but I was curious, too.

  • Anonymous

    Alex, this may be a factor of a motto that “you’re only as good as your last game,” but I don’t see how Pritchard’s confidence “has all but disappeared.”

    If anything, he just played his best game of the season (vs. real competition). We’ve discussed in other threads how instrumental he was in making that 1st half run with 4 wings on the floor. The reverse layup was huge and came naturally. And anyone who previously shot 1-10 from the FT line and then proceeds to knock down 2 in a row is clearly practicing hard (much like VO).

    It’s all about baby steps with Pritch in order to get him back to Freshman year’s level of confidence. He is the big, rugged body that we need next year at the 5 in order to play Cody and Watford at their natural positions. The only way Pritch can stay on the floor and remain effective is if we have guards who can deny dribble penetration.

    That being said if Pitchford is the only option as a big, then I’d prefer Amayo….seems like a great option as a big point guard to relieve VJ3 of his duties as well as replacing JR’s athleticism.

    If anything, I’d say Elston is the one struggling with confidence…no surprise there considering the short leash Crean ties around his neck.