Sheehey continuing to adjust to new role

  • 12/13/2013 9:24 am in

Indiana coach Tom Crean knows he is asking for a lot from Will Sheehey.

In the Hoosiers’ first 10 games of the 2013-2014 season, Crean has bestowed the role of starter, leader, defender, scorer and rebounder on a player who has typically come off the bench for much of his career as a sixth man.

Through those 10 games, the results have been mixed. But nonetheless, Crean wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t think Sheehey would be capable of it.

“You don’t ask anybody to do anything they’re not capable of,” he said on Monday. “Will’s capable of a lot.”

His role change started right when this season did, as he arrived in practice to a team that lost four starters, its three seniors and two of its three juniors on scholarship from last season’s squad. Sheehey was the only returning upperclassman on scholarship, and he was expected to play in a starting role from day one.

But with a team that also has eight freshmen and another six sophomores, Crean has needed Sheehey to take on a leadership role, as well. In fact, Crean thinks of Sheehey as an extension of the coach on the floor, where Sheehey has been assigned the role of making sure sets are run correctly, making sure the freshmen are in the right place on the court.

“Yeah, you know, with our team, during practice he explains things that he’s done in the past, and he kind of makes sure that we run it right,” senior transfer Evan Gordon said. “And if we don’t, even if we get a stop on the defensive side, we’ll have to run it again. And he’s done a great job with that.”

In addition to his new role, Sheehey has also been asked to maintain what he has done both offensively and defensively. In his past two seasons, he has had an effective field goal percentage of higher than 54. In that same span, he came off the bench to provide energy and a spark for the Hoosiers, defending some of the best offensive players each opponent had.

For Crean, he wants Sheehey to be Indiana’s epitome of a team leader.

“It’s a demanding position because there are so many young guys, but that’s the hand we’re dealt and that’s the hand he’s dealt right now,” Crean said on Monday. “And the more he does with that, the better he’ll be. But don’t get me wrong, he’s doing a very good job. It’s just the expectations and demands on him are very high because he’s capable of it.”

But it hasn’t been an easy transition. His offensive numbers have taken a significant turn downward in the early portions of this season. His effective field goal percentage is down to 46.2. He is only shooting 20.8 percent on 3-point attempts. His rebounding rates are down. And one of the biggest worries Crean has is making sure that leadership is consistent, that Sheehey can’t afford to have lapses.

Certainly when you’re trying to expand your game and expand your role like he’s doing, it’s another challenge in the sense that really making sure that your teammates know where they need to be, what they need to do on the court,” Crean said. “And really I think the biggest thing is, when things get tight, can they look to him as not only a voice of reason, but a picture of confidence? I think that’s exactly what you want an upperclassmen that’s been down the line to be.”

In the Hoosiers’ most recent game on Tuesday against Oakland, Sheehey struggled from the field and went 0-for-5, only his third time in the past two seasons he went an entire 40 minutes without making a shot. The shooting confidence might not be there, but he had his best rebounding game (3 offensive, 5 defensive) since the season opener against Chicago State and also held the nation’s top 3-point scorer, Travis Bader, to an 0-for-10 clip from 3.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but Sheehey is continuing to adjust to his new role. Though perhaps he has not found consistency on offense yet, Crean knows Sheehey is capable of it. After all, his defensive and leadership performance has already been impressive, in his eyes.

“Those are the things that we need,” Crean said. “The offense will come for guys. It’s when they’re putting their effort and concentration into so many other areas that really make the difference for us.”

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  • Outoftheloop

    I love Will Sheehey, as a player, as a student, as a representative of IU Basketball. He is pushing himself hard right now and is playing tight. I re-looked at his 5 shots against Oakland and he hits 4 of them in 9 out of 10 games. Will and Victor are the models for new IU players of the Crean Era: elite gifted athletes, very smart, driven to be great, great work ethic, total TEAM guys, etc. I know that you have a lot of responsibilities on this team Will, but relax and have FUN! This will be a great year.

  • Michael Whelan

    Sheehy is not the problem, I think Coach Crean has not tried different starting lineups to find the best team. We have gone thru 10 games and He has started the same guys in all but one game. We need more of Davis, Gordon and Fischer.

  • mk

    Funny because when Evan Gordon had a slow start to the season many were calling for him to be off the floor. Its just how we are as fans. I disagree that Will’s lack of production hasn’t been a problem. Were a better team if he can hit a few jumpers and finish at the rim.

  • MillaRed

    Totally agree. I have no problems if Will hits the shots we have seen him make from day 1. Goes to show how young these guys are. Will’s a tough kid but he’s not right in his head so far this season.

    Just play your game Will. Sometimes you just have to go out there and play!

  • Mooks

    and Stan. Love the way he drives.

  • TheDirtyHoos

    I’m hoping that Sheehey’s seeming offensive funk is temporary. His D against Oakland was beautiful, and I think he can do a lot if he shows the comfort he had last season on the other end of the court. Our team this year is full of slashers, and outside of Yogi and maybe Evan (fingers crossed), is not dangerous from behind the line. Will’s ability to hit the midrange jumper can make defenses pay for clogging the lane. On a team with questionable shooting, I think Will has an incredible opportunity to expand our scoring threat.


    The thing that surprises me the most is that he has not finished strong at the rim, not even once, as far as I can remember. That has always been a solid part of his game in the past. I can easily see where with everything that Will has been asked to do this year it could throw a wrench into his general offensive flow, but I wouldn’t think going to the rim with authority would be a part that would be affected by that. If anything it would seem like he would go to the rim with even more authority as a way to release some frustration from the way things have went for him so far this year, I keep thinking that just like a player getting his field goals to start dropping by seeing the ball go through the goal on a free throw or two maybe him going to the rim and throwing it down would do the same as well as relieve some frustration. Take it out on the rim with authority Will !! If you break it or the backboard we’ve got more.

  • sarge

    WS is gonna dominate Grant if he gets the assignment. As always it starts with defense and leads to easy offense… go get em #0!

  • Walton

    He doesn’t seem to be his same brash self this year. At times in the past he seemed to be a little too brash then he backed off some and now it doesn’t seem like he is playing with any of it. Maybe he should go back to his old self. Who cares? Go out with a bang!

  • PDXHoosier

    I’m not surprised that his rebounding numbers are lower. We are a much better rebounding team this year compared to last year with the new guys. As long as he plays solid D and throws down some dunks on people I’ll be happy. His shot should normalize.

  • PDXHoosier

    Toward the end of last year he seemed more tame on the court, and I think it’s because he was being targeted by the refs and getting cheap fouls. I wonder if he tries to stay more in control on the court now?

  • TheDirtyHoos

    Will has seemed pretty timid, he used to love throwing down nasty dunks. Multiple times he has had the opportunity to do so but seems to hesitate and then throw an easy layup

  • PDXHoosier

    As a senior leader, he’s starting to see things from the coaches’ perspective. In some ways that is good, but it also makes it more difficult to let go and just play ball like the freshmen do. Hopefully he can have some fun his senior year. And beat Purdue.

  • Hoosier gal in Iowa

    I love Will and have since day 1. I have faith he will come through for us. Maybe he needs a hug (I’ll volunteer if needed)!! 🙂

  • CheesyHoosier

    I feel like Will has been wearing out the shot-fake in the last few games.. Needs to shoot it a bit more. Sheehey will play well this season, he seems to just be Watford-ing a bit. If he had a breakout game against ND, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  • mk

    Whoever down voted my comment has the right to do so, but to say that Will playing better isn’t better for our team is asinine.

  • Will Sheehey #0

    Lay it on me!

  • Will Sheehey #0

    I love you too, man.

  • Will Sheehey #0

    I’m going to get him.

  • Outoftheloop

    He is always aggressive and hustling-never “Watford-ing”.

  • Outoftheloop

    and Hanner, he is playing some good ball and hitting his FT”s

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    30% of the season is done..the competition is about to ramp up big time..the B1G stars are 2s and 3s the road is tough ,,,I need the old Will back.

  • Alford Bailey

    Gettin a little warm in here!

  • Wow, now that is a real sacrifice for the team… What a trooper…lol..

  • drewheck

    I wish will would finish hard at the rim every time a he gets fouled or b he gets the bucket it’s like he’s driving looking to get fouled and getting it rejected mist times

  • drewheck


  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree. I think both Hanner and Luke have shown that when they’re on the floor they will go hard after balls coming off the glass and will hit their FT’s if fouled. I would like to see a few more minutes for each of them before we get to the B1G season to see for sure if we have 1 or 2 good options after Noah for a grinding season. You know Noah will get in some foul trouble once IU hits the B1G season with it’s crazy home court favoring officials!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    He had a nasty 2-handed dunk a couple games ago. I was surprised to see him go up weak against Oakland and get stuffed though. Where’s the Will who dunked over the guy named after horseraddish sauce (Wasabe I think) from Iowa a couple years ago?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I would still love to see him become that guy you love as a teammate and hate as an opponent again!

  • b_side

    I recall some pretty strong finishes vs. Wash and UConn. But since that Cuse where they stuffed him multiple times, it’s clearly impacted his confidence.