Offseason storylines: What kind of season will Sheehey have?

  • 07/27/2013 3:17 pm in

012413564Welcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Next up, we tackle this question: What kind of senior season will Will Sheehey have?

Will Sheehey has waited his turn, and now it’s his time to lead in Bloomington. Over the last three years, he’s gone from overlooked prospect to role player to the Big Ten’s sixth man of the year.

What will his next role be?

That’s the question as Sheehey prepares for his senior season at Indiana. He’s one of two scholarship seniors on the roster, and he must be one of the Hoosiers’ main leaders this season. Sure, the freshmen will have to fill a major void, and Yogi Ferrell will factor into the team’s leadership, but Indiana’s success this coming season will depend largely on what kind of a season Sheehey has.

When Sheehey is on his game, he has the ability to positively affect the game on both ends of the floor. He was one of the team’s top defenders a year ago, and he has a mid-range game unlike many in college basketball.

But for three years, Sheehey hasn’t been called upon to carry the load offensively or be the team’s leader on defense (that was Victor Oladipo). Sheehey was the energy guy off the bench, a player you could count on for 10 points a game.

The question now is whether Sheehey can move into the starting lineup and be one of Indiana’s primary scoring options. In the past, he didn’t have to be. He might still not even have to be with guys like Noah Vonleh, Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell on the roster.

But will he try to be?

The worst case scenario for Indiana, in my opinion, is if Sheehey becomes a volume shooter in an attempt to be the team’s primary scoring option.

The best case scenario for Indiana is Sheehey recognizes he may not always be the team’s No. 1 offensive option, and leads his teammates in a way that allows them to excel and perform to their potential.

“I think just mentally I’ve become a better player over the summer,” Sheehey said earlier this week. “I’ve learned a lot this summer, not only in the Colorado experience and the Russia experience, but also here, being the oldest guy and learning the nuances.”

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News wrote earlier this week that Sheehey could have a breakout season for the Hoosiers. DeCourcy seems to think Sheehey can and will be Indiana’s primary scoring option next season, writing that Sheehey could score in the mid-teens next season.

I could see that happening, but I don’t think it’s the best for the Hoosiers. It may take awhile for Sheehey to accept it, but he may just be best off continuing to be a role player while also growing into more of a leader. Maybe he comes off the bench as a sixth man at times. Perhaps he stays around his 10 or 11 point per game average. And maybe, just maybe, that’s the best thing for Indiana next season.

Previously: Will Indiana have a stronger bench?

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  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    The best case scenario is for Will to come out of the gate clean, does not create a negative perception of himself during games, leads by example, and stays off the bad side of the officials. If he does this, and stays out of foul trouble (again staying off the bad side of the officials) there is not question this will be his season to remember. He can still be energetic and have fun all while earning points with the refs instead of sinking his own ship. It is time to be a leader, and I believe in him.

    If he does those things all the basketball plays he is capable of will all fall into place. He will see heavy minutes, so without foul trouble his court time will be optimized and he can play free.

  • notfargj

    what will brings is a great deal of intensity. with that, i think he’ll keep on the younger players. it’ll be interesting to see how the new guys respond to his vocal leadership. if they’re not in the right place or giving their all on the court, i can see him jumping on them immediately and i – for one – really like that.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I think Will will probably avg 12-16 pts per game and this in my opinion is a good thing. Will can easily score 6-8 pts a game just on cuts from being left open underneath. He was probably the best on last years team at losing his man and finding that open sport on the floor. So I agree with Justin in that its important Will doesn’t force things, but disagree that it would be a bad thing if he scored more. The pressure will be in that Will has to be more defensive minded, more under control, and look to get a few more rebounds per game if he doesn’t do these things, he will just continue to be a role player who scores 12- 16 pts.

  • Oldguyy

    JMO, Justin, but I think you’ll be disappointed if you hope Sheehey takes only a modest number of shots. His USG% was 21.6, third on the team last year, just ahead of Watford and exceeded only by Zeller and Oladipo, so he wasn’t shy about shooting then on a team with a lot of shooters. I’d be very surprised if he’s less so this year. I’m just hoping his stellar shooting percentages in the World University Games presage his shooting efficiency this season, because I think there’s little chance that he won’t take his shots.

  • Miamihoosier

    I definitely disagree with this article. Sheehey needs to be a scorer for us this year. We haven’t had a guy with his mid range game since Robert Vaden. That combined with his cutting, improved 3 ball, and knack for catching the defense sleeping should produce 14 ppg or more now that he’ll be a starter. There is absolutely no way he is a 6th man at any point this year. Justin, was Sheehey a jerk to you in a press conference or interview setting?

  • What does the last sentence have to do with anything? Just curious.

  • I tend to agree with you that his usage will be even higher this year. And his eFG percentage, at least last year, suggests that it won’t necessarily be a bad thing for Indiana. One thing we’ll learn fairly quickly is how much the eFG% was a product of being surrounded by great talent. I say that because Sheehey wasn’t often the focus of defenses last season and now he will be.

  • skotchie

    I will not be surprised at all if we continue in the same mold, 5 guys averaging double digit scoring led by Noah, Will, Luke, Yogi, you fill in the last one.

  • Miamihoosier

    Considering Will Sheehey is a top 10 returning player in the Big Ten and our only 4 year Senior, the last paragraph of Justin’s article is dumbfounding. To suggest Will “continue to be a role player” when he hasn’t been a role player for 2 years is hard to understand (ask Coach Crean if Will Sheehey is a role player). I am searching for Justin’s reasoning when he says he doesn’t think “it’s best for the Hoosiers” for Will to take a bigger scoring role despite Will being our leading returning scorer. Outside of Sheehey, we don’t have a single proven scorer on the team. Anyway, I know Will has come off as sarcastic, and maybe even a bit of a jerk to members of the media at times, I was just wondering if, he had offended Justin in some way.

  • skotchie

    It appears his focus is on one sentence from the entire artical.
    I believe Will is going to be a stud this year and open some NBA eyes as Victor did.

  • He wrote his opinion. To suggest that his opinion was formed because of some sort of interaction with Sheehey is a fairly big leap on your part. I think we’ve proven over more than six years here that’s not how we do things, which is why I responded.

  • PDXHoosier

    He definitely got a bad reputation amongst the refs last season. After the Purdont game he started getting cheap fouls quickly. He needs to have fun without pissing off the refs (they DO hold grudges)

  • PDXHoosier

    I would like to see Will’s production go up, not stay the same. He is our only proven scorer (only time will tell what the freshmen will offer), and our senior leader. I don’t know if he has the one-on-one chops to do it, but I think we need him to be a go to guy when we need a bucket.

  • ufo3

    Will, Noah, Troy, Yogi, Hollowell, Luke could all score above or near double figures. I think the Freshmen this season will have a greater impact than most on here believe.

  • Gregory Spera

    I agree, totally. I don’t see how Sheehey having a “breakout season” might NOT be the best thing for the Hoosiers. Heaven forbid he becomes an All-American. That doesn’t make sense to me. He needs to be much more than just a “role player.”

  • HoosierKen73

    I don’t know how one could say Will wasn’t a ‘role player’ last season. His role was coming off the bench and igniting things when it was needed. He certainly was not the number one scoring option, in my opinion. I always felt he was kind of a ‘streaky’ shooter. As I recall he had one game where he set an IU record hitting something like 11 field goal attempts and not missing one. I though he finally had his shot where it needs to be. But the next game he cooled off considerably. He was kind of streaky at this summer’s University Games as well. He did have one very good game. But, in several of the games I watched, the US really needed a basket and he’d come down and throw up a three only to miss. I recall, thinking gosh, I wish he’d hit those… I agree with the article. I think IU will be best served if one of the newbies (or Hollowell or Perea..) steps up and becomes a real force. Anyway, did you see Noah’s tweet yesterday? He tweeted, “Man I love my team”. I thought that was great. He called it “my team”, whether intended as accepting a leadership role was the intent or not, gotta like that attitude. With feelings like that, one would think there’d be no problem getting Goodluck in here with him next year… Can’t wait for this year though to see just who our ‘go to’ guys will be.

  • greerhouse

    If Indiana is to be a contender in 2013-2014, Sheehey will need to be all Big 10. I’m confident he can do it. He and Victor had similar stats in freshmen and sophmore years. Vic – shot better in freshmen year but Will did better in sophmore year. Vic had a breakout year his junior year. No reason to believe that Will can’t do the same in his senior year. Great athlete. Runs the floor well. Jumps out of the gym. Nice form on his jump shot. Hoping he has spent the summer working on his free throw shooting. No question he should be one of the leaders and leading scorers on the team. Not worried at all about his relationship with the refs – needs to play with an edge to help win games.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Alex I think everyone knows the ITH writers are the some of the best in the business and that’s why we repeatedly come hear for our Indiana basketball information. However, I can see Miamihoosiers point. Will could have started the last two years and probably should have last year. For him to to a back seat again wouldn’t be either good for the team or the right thing for someone who has put in so much hard work and effort into his team. I think this is just a classic case of a Hoosier fan coming to the defense of one of its players who plays hard for the team and fans.

  • Miamihoosier

    You are right about that. You guys have always remained in the realm of professional journalism, leaving us to make the more passionate claims, and you have in my opinion, always erred on the side of caution when it comes to writing anything negative about the players or coaches. I guess it comes down to whether or not you feel this piece is negative towards Sheehey. I read it that way, but considering it would be the first one I’ve read in 6 years, you probably right, I should just agree that Justin and I are seeing two completely different things on the court.

  • ScoopGeoff

    I think it’s possible that both Perea and Gordon could flirt with double figures as well. Obviously we won’t have 8 guys at 10+ ppg, but I could see:

    Will – 13
    Noah – 12
    Hollowell – 11
    Yogi – 11
    Luke – 9
    Troy – 9
    Gordon – 8
    Perea – 7

    And then guys like Stan, Devin, and Austin chipping in for 4-6 ppg. As a team that puts us between 80-90, which I certainly hope is the case.

  • I don’t think it was anything negative. He just has a different opinion. It’s not like he said anything bad about Sheehey, just maybe sees it playing out differently than others are projecting (including me, to an extent).

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I hope your right but I have a feeling at times this team will struggle scoring 60 points a game. I’m not saying that will always be the case, but I just feel as young as IU is that they won’t be near the scoring team we saw last year. Maybe by the end of the season the will start to gel and that will change but I think Indiana better be a good defensive / rebounding team or its going to be a long season. We’ve lost a ton of firepower its time to dig in to the trenches and play some hustle ball, which is fun to watch any way.

  • WisconHoosier

    I agree with you. Yet, I wonder how WS will react if one of the freshmen hits a three pointer, then runs back down court goofing around, playing to the crowd, and pointing three fingers at his head.

    How that will look to Will, now that he’s a senior?

  • ScoopGeoff

    I’m sure as they get into B1G play that numbers will come down…

  • notfargj

    hahahahahahahaha. great point. quite frankly, i don’t think he’ll take issue with another guy being flashy. in fact, i wouldn’t put it past him to encourage those behaviors. what i do see him doing is holding his teammates accountable when it comes to overall effort. were a younger player not playing hard, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw will get into the other guys face.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I may be reading too much into CTC’s comments and Justin’s articles, but I believe that Troy Williams and Devin Davis will have more productive, better years than Jeremy Hollowell. He acknowledged feeling “lost” at times last year. I hope he finds his game and a little enthusiasm over the Summer–otherwise, his chair on the sidelines awaits.

  • Corey M

    I think that’s pretty crazy to think that 2 freshmen will have better seasons than Hollowell… When you look at Hollowell, you have to overlook the demeanor and attitude and think about the size, skill level, and athleticism this kid has. Now that he has been through a season, been on campus for a full off-season, and most important gotten comfortable being a player on a top college b-ball team, I think the sky is the limit for Hollowell. He is a quiet, laid back kid but don’t take it as he doesn’t care. He could be an absolute star if he could put it all together because he can do it all!

  • jmfriedman

    I think as long as Will stays disciplined and lets the game come to him, he will do quite well. He gets into trouble when he forces it, which is common to all players. His skill set and improvement will allow him to do more, but he cannot force it. I hear his passing has improved greatly as well and that is what I am most excited about. Let’s get him into that role where defenses key on him and have him dish it off efficiently and I see really good things for Will.


    I think the article covered an area that most of us have either commented about or at the very least have thought a lot about as far as next year goes. To me the article was just as you said, his opinion, which was plainly stated as such by Justin. To me it did not seem to be derogatory in any way towards Will. Judging by the amount of discussion it has already created, I’d say the article did just what it was supposed to do, address an issue that is on a lot of IU bball fans’ minds, create discussion and cause people to comment. Mission accomplished.

  • dtfreed

    it could be a contrast in styles between Will and EG. If EG is a more in tune to how to be a senior leader, which he was last year, then the total leadership role doesn’t fall on Will. I think EG will be the one coming off the bench and helping with the second unit like Will did last year. Realistically, if a multi-star player needs hand holding on how hard to work, they will be riding the bench while they figure it out.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    The Year of Will Sheehey

  • Mr. Mitchell

    Sheehey is ready for this chance.
    – the other half of Sheeladipo
    – the crowd taunter
    – can make big shots
    – just check his Wikipedia page and you will see for yourself

  • Jim Byers

    I think Will Sheehey just needs to be Will Sheehey. He’s smart enough to know trying to be something other than what he is could hurt his game.

  • hoosier1158

    IU would have been a much better team, better record and would have gone further in the NCAA tournament had Will started last, which he should have. Jordy, Vic, Will, Watford and Cody would have been the best starting five in the nation.

  • Mooks

    Jeremy has the same demeanor as Cody Zeller, humble and quiet. He won’t react to BS easily.

  • Devout Hoosier

    One thing I would like to see mentioned is that I expect Will to be the spark away from Assembly Hall where our greatest challenge will lie. Will has the experience, talent, and attitude to shine there. For our young team to make the post season and really succeed in the Big Ten we need some road wins. Will can prepare the team’s expectations and then take it to our opponents to lead and remove the reluctances of the new players. When I hear leadership talked about I hope it means Will attacks on offense and disrupts on defense.

  • Red Ramaker

    This article is just plain odd. Coach constantly referred to Will as a sixth starter last year. Four of those six starters left so Will and Yogi return as the only clear starters. They are also the players that require the least amount of improvement in order to play major roles for next year’s team. Will has the most experience of any returning player, he has the ability to get to the rim and dunk, get to the line, can hit mid-range jumpers and the 3 ball. He also brings a lot of energy on D. Why would it be best for a player like that to “remain a role player”? In order for Will Sheehey to remain the 6th best player on the team, 4 freshmen or sophomores would have to contribute at the same level as Cody, Victor, Jordy and CWat. Out of last year’s highly touted recruiting class there was one player that did that, Yogi. I expect improvement from Jeremy and Hanner. Etherington might return from injury. E Gordon brings some nice experience to a young backcourt. I like what I saw on tape from Vonleh, Williams, Luke and the 3 other freshmen. But that is AAU and High School ball. I think its extremely unrealistic to think 4 players out of this group are going to consistently outplay Will Sheehey. If it happens great for IU because they would be matching the play that won an outright B1G championship and got to the Sweet 16. I think if we get that far this year it will be because of the support these other players give to the 2 players that lead the team, Yogi and Will.

  • HoosierTrav

    I think Will is going to be our spark plug and vocal leader. I don’t think for one second that he will lead us in scoring though. Noah Vonleh will be our best player and most likely lead us in scoring. If Hollowell plays to his potential I could see him being up there challenging for that spot. He’s a pure scorer by nature. I really hope Will can learn to handle the ball and create a little more for himself off of the pick and roll. He looks so stiff when he tries to handle the ball. If he can learn to do this, I believe he may have a shot at being a late draft selection.

  • CallawayMan

    Because Sheehey will obviously be playing more minutes, he is going to have to score and rebound a lot more to make up for his defense. He goes under screens he should go over and over screens he should go under. He leaves shooters and gets lost staring at the ball. I’m as big an IU fan as anyone, but am just stating a fact. He is a basketball specimen, but just doesn’t have a complete game that a star needs.

  • kewaynes

    I think Yogi will average more than Sheehey

  • Earl Scheib

    Best case scenario is Will has a break out season a la his ex-roommate and lights up the scoreboard and spurs on the rest of the team to also reach new levels of performance. Worst case scenario is he remains a role player. I doubt very highly that the role player thing could ever be an advantage. This is an intense guy who’s watched two of his teammates go top 5. If that doesn’t drive him on to turn it up five notches, what will? Crazy for you to think the best thing for Indiana bball would be for him to remain a role player. I don’t get that at all. Will’s got game. I look for him to have a kickass season and for us to win 20-plus and go from there.

  • WNHoosier

    I agree with the fact that we would have won a few more games and probably went deeper in the NCAA but the starting line-up should have been Yogi, Vic, Will, Watford, and Cody…Jordy is a great shooter and leader and he should have been our spark off the bench he was still just too much of a defensive liability

  • SCHoosier

    I think more than anything Will needs to be a “leader”..and that can require a number of things. I agree that the worst scenario is for him (or Yogi) to think they HAVE to take every shot they have open. Will can score multiple ways and if he lets the game come to his strengths he could lead the team in scoring. If he throws up every three he gets a look at ..IU is in trouble. Sheheey also needs to improve his defense..rebounding and FT shooting. I’ll bet he’s missed a ton of first shots on the 1+1 one in his career. Somebody’s got to take over VO’s board total..might as well be Will. He has the potential to be the Hoosier MVP next season…WITHOUT leader the team in scoring. This team has a lot of athletes and moving the ball for the best show will be important. Unfortunately this does not look like a good FT shooting team which could change TC’s offensive options at key times..

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    “The worst case scenario for Indiana, in my opinion, is if Sheehey becomes a volume shooter in an attempt to be the team’s primary scoring option.”
    Couldn’t agree more. There’s been a lot of discussion on this thread, but really, I think the whole issue boils down to the sentence above.
    Will is a very good player and I don’t think anyone is saying anything to the contrary. We need him to score for us to be successful. But there were definitely quite a few times last year at critical moments when he tried to force the issue, took bad shots, and hampered the flow of our offense.
    On the other hand, there were some times when our offense was really struggling, Will came in, took what was given to him in the flow of the game, and brought us back to life.
    Lucky for us, we’ve got a great coach who gets paid to help his players understand their role and what is needed out of each of them to ensure the Indiana Hoosiers win as many games as possible……

  • hoosier1158

    You don’t sit a 4 year starter in favor of a good freshman. Yogi still would have logged many minutes, just in a back up role. Of course he would get the start at PG this year.

  • Red Ramaker

    I looked up World Game Team stats. Will average 5 minutes less than he did for IU last year (17 vs 22) but he scored 1 point a game more, his rebounds, assists, turnovers and steals were the same and he shot better fg% and 3 point%. The only stat that wasn’t as good was FT%. Despite averaging only the 8th most minute per game he was #3 in scoring, #7 in rebounds per game and had the best 3%. Very efficient. Next year I expect his minutes will increase to about 29 pg and his scoring should be about 12-15 pg.