Film Session: Christian Watford, distributor

  • 11/22/2011 3:36 pm in

In wins over Savannah State and Garnder-Webb, Indiana dished out 35 assists on 57 field goals.

Simply put, this team is moving the ball better and finding the open man.

In the latest edition of Film Session, we’ll look at Christian Watford. Once a recipient of the ball in the post and mostly looking to score, Watford is now finding teammates out of the low block and in the paint.


Cody Zeller has the ball at the top of the key as Christian Watford calls for Remy Abell to come across the court:

Zeller passes it to Verdell Jones on the right wing and Watford comes across to the right block:

Jones dumps it down to Watford as Zeller cuts down to the rim:

Watford makes a move into the lane and spots Zeller:

Zeller scores and gets fouled, later converting the free throw for a three-point play:

Watford could have gone up with the shot. But by passing to Zeller — who’s been absolutely deadly around the rim so far this season — it’s three points for the Hoosiers.



Jones passes back up top to Jordan Hulls:

Against Gardner-Webb’s 1-2-2 zone, Watford flashes to the middle and Hulls passes it to him:

Watford attracts the defense, jumps in the air as if to shoot, then zips it to Zeller:

Who converts for two:

Again, another shot Watford could have probably taken. But by making the extra pass, the Hoosiers get a higher-percentage look from Zeller. This was also reminiscent of Zeller’s high-low pass to Watford against Evansville. But instead of Zeller making the pass to Watford, it was the other way around.



Derek Elston sets a screen for Jones:

Jones dumps it into Watford, as Elston curls to the basket:

Finding two defenders on him, Watford sees Elston’s lane to the hole and passes to him. (Notice Zeller has some space here as well, but Elston is in clearer sight for Watford.):

Elston puts it in for two:

Heady basketball all around here.



Off a Zeller rebound, the Hoosiers are off to the races with Daniel Moore pushing the pace:

Moore passes to Watford:

Watford takes it into the lane, attracts the defense and hits Elston coming off the baseline:

Elston reverses:

And puts it in for two:

A good one to highlight, as Watford is showing the ability to also make strong decisions when the Hoosiers are on the break.


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  • Thanks as always, Ryan.  Great film session.

    This is what was missing during parts of last night’s game.  They were obviously tired, but I feel like the offense stagnates when the ball movement stops.  That makes me optimistic for this season, though, because I remember the offense of old with limited ball movement.  As great as the defense looks, this ball movement will be the key to winning B1G games.

  • Tom S

    Thanks for highlighting Watford in the film session, Ryan.  CW also had several nice interior passes against Gardner-Webb.

    Unfortunately, criticism of CW – much like the criticism of VJIII – often seems to be more a reflexively entered meme rather than being based on an analysis of their play.  CW has played really well for the last three games, and it’s nice to see him get some recognition.

  • Anonymous

    is it me or does CW still look slow and not explosive enough? there have been multiple times where he is beat off the dribble in the last few games that just makes him look bad (part of that might be poor defensive close-out). Still feel like he only plays all out half of the time

  • Anonymous

    It is great to see this team playing team basketball.  Elston said it in the post game press conference.  Last year, guys wanted to stuff their own stat sheet, this year they don’t care as long as IU gets the victory.  If IU wants to make the tournament this year, they have to play team basketball for 40 minutes every game.

  • Anonymous

    Must confess that one of my concerns coming into the season was whether CW and VJ could adapt to roles where they are not the primary scorers. So far it is looking good. This is team basketball and I sure hope we keep it up as it becomes increasingly important as the competition improves. All I want for Christmas is to BEAT kentucky!!!

  • Whoa, I’m not blocked anymore?  Sweet! 

  • Anonymous

    Everybody needs to remember that last yr CW and VJ had to force shots. There was no post presence and when you had rivers/pritch on the floor at the same time, there was no other option. Thanks to CZ and a yr of had work and maturity, we don’t have to do that this yr. Good article. I don’t comment too much on here but I check it 5 times a day. Thanks ITH

  • CoachB

    Its great to see the passing and the options inside.  I like that line up when CZ, CW and DE are in at the same time.  We can match up against much bigger teams this year because of it.

    Something that CW and VJIII will start to see as the team improves is their scoring opportunities will start to increase.  Teams will have to start devoting more and more defenders to CZ which is going to open up opposite post play and jump shooters.  By passing now, they will be the recipients of those return passes later, especially come big 10 time when teams will have great scouting reports on VO, WS and CZ

  • JerryCT

    I have always thought CW lacked a passing gene but last game he was great . I hope this keeps up. IMO he is having a good year overall .

  • Anonymous

    With a CZ, CW, DE frontline I like how we’d be dictating the terms of the game with our size and talent.  Let’s force people to adjust to us, not the other way around.  All three of those guys can shoot away from the basket, so there’s almost always going to be a mismatch on one that we can post up while the other two draw defenders away from the lane. 

    I also agree with the second comment that the season is a marathon and not a sprint.  Everything they’re doing now needs to be building to where they want to be at the end of the season.  In some ways it’s like a football cliche, establish the run so you can open up the pass.  If we can establish VO and WS, for example, as scoring threats it’ll certainly open things up for others down the line when teams have to gameplan for them.

  • Anonymous

    It’s likely that he was told (or knew) he was always the best option to score last year.  I used to get ripped by a coach for passing too much, he’d stop practice to yell about it and I’d get benched if it happened in games.  Sometimes being selfish is what’s best for the team if you’re the best option, especially if you’re sharing the court with two or more non-scorers like he was last year.  

    Now that he doesn’t need to do that I think he’ll continue adjusting and show us more things that we didn’t know he could do.  I was surprised myself at some of his passes the last couple of games.

  • Anonymous

    CW is showing maturity, he has always been weak inside the lane and now he knows to pass it off, and keep taking the 15′ plus shots which he can make but not often as he thinks

  • oregoniu

    I like that line-up as well but would sure like to see VO at point (can he handle that postion?) Will, CZ, DE and CW on the floor at same time.If that would workout, wow, just wow!!