A player-by-player breakdown halfway through the Big Ten season

  • 02/05/2014 11:31 am in

The first half of IU’s Big Ten schedule is complete and the Hoosiers are 4-5 heading into Saturday’s game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Here’s a player-by-player look at how each Hoosier performed in the first half of the Big Ten schedule:

Yogi Ferrell – 19.2 ppg, 53.8 eFG%, 46.3 3PFG%, 85.2 FT%, 3.7 apg, 2.2 rpg in 35.6 mpg

Through nine league games, Ferrell is clearly Indiana’s best player and is one of the top three players in the conference along with Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Michigan State’s Gary Harris. He’s second in scoring in Big Ten games and has been incredibly efficient as he’s among the league leaders in both effective field goal percentage and 3-point shooting percentage.

Defensively, he’s routinely taking on the challenge of guarding some of the league’s best players. On Sunday, Ferrell proved he can be elite in that area by shutting down Stauskas in IU’s win over No. 10 Michigan.

Will Sheehey – 8.6 ppg, 41.9 eFG%, 4.4 rpg in 32.1 mpg 

Despite playing 10 more minutes per game, Sheehey’s scoring average in Big Ten games is up by just 0.9 points and his effective field goal percentage is down by nearly eight percent. Over the past two seasons, Sheehey was a beneficiary of a supporting cast that included four 1,000-point scorers, a luxury he doesn’t have as a senior.

The intangibles he brings, like captaining IU’s defensive plan against Michigan, don’t show up on the statsheet, but there’s no doubt that Sheehey is less efficient than he was the past two seasons.

Noah Vonleh – 11.2 ppg, 57.2 eFG%, 75.0 3PFG%, 47.8 FTR, 9.2 rpg in 29.9 mpg

IU’s star freshman has avoided hitting the wall in league play as he’s had six games with nine or more rebounds and six games scoring in double figures. Vonleh has found success stepping out onto the perimeter, where he’s knocked down 9-of-12 shots from behind the 3-point line. Those numbers have given a significant boost to his effective field goal percentage as Vonleh is only hitting 45.4 percent of his 2s.

Vonleh’s usage of just 20.6 percent in Big Ten games is modest given his efficiency, but he’s already one of the league’s best bigs and is on pace to lead the conference in rebounding.

Stanford Robinson – 8.2 ppg, 45.8 eFG%, 3.2 rpg in 22.7 mpg

Robinson has emerged as Indiana’s third best scoring option in conference play and he’s doing nearly all of his damage off the dribble. The freshman southpaw is sticking to what he’s best at, which is driving the ball and not settling from the perimeter. After earning limited minutes in the non-conference portion of IU’s schedule, Robinson was inserted into the starting lineup for the sixth conference game and should remain there for the foreseeable future.

Evan Gordon – 5.0 ppg, 40.2 eFG% in 22.1 mpg

Gordon has had games where he’s played fantastic (at Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan) and then he’s had games where he hasn’t been much of a factor (both Michigan State games and Illinois at home). His 3-point shooting has been poor at just 27.8 percent, but on Sunday, we saw Gordon at his best as he simply went to the rim against a Michigan defense that didn’t body him up.

The emergence of Robinson probably means a bench role for Gordon moving forward. That, however, is not necessarily a bad thing as having an experienced contributor capable of getting six to eight points as a reserve is a plus.

Troy Williams – 4.7 ppg, 43.2 eFG%, 4.4 rpg in 18.6 mpg

Williams has been limited offensively in Big Ten play as the freedom he had to drive to the basket in non-conference games is no longer there against better defense. Conference foes have dared Williams to shoot from the perimeter and he’s 0-of-7 from distance compared to 16-of-30 on 2s.

One part of his game that figures to loom large as his career moves along is his work on the offensive boards. He’s currently 17th in conference play in offensive rebounding percentage at 8.9 and further improvement in that area could easily net a bucket or two more per game.

Austin Etherington – 3.3 ppg, 53.3 eFG%, 2.3 rpg in 14.8 mpg

Etherington has emerged from an afterthought in the non-conference schedule to a legitimate bench contributor. He’s not much of an offensive threat — he’s only taken 15 shots in nine games — but he hit a timely 3 in State College and also had a big first half in IU’s win over Illinois at Assembly Hall. Every team needs players who embrace a role and stick to it and that’s exactly what Etherington has been for the Hoosiers in league play so far.

Jeremy Hollowell – 2.8 ppg, 28.9 eFG%, 2.8 rpg in 13.5 mpg

Once thought of as a breakout candidate as a sophomore, Hollowell played poorly in IU’s first two league games, was out for three due to a “lack of focus” and hasn’t contributed significantly since. His effective field goal percentage is easily the lowest among IU’s regulars and there isn’t much of a case for increasing his role during the second half of the Big Ten slate.

Jeff Howard – 1.0 ppg, 25.0 eFG% in 7.8 mpg

Howard earning more minutes in Big Ten play than Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis has been surprising, but when you consider that he’s been less mistake prone and that Tom Crean trusts him defensively, it could be a trend that continues in the second half of the conference schedule.

Hanner Mosquera-Perea – 1.8 ppg, 41.7 eFG% in 7.6 mpg

Mosquera-Perea has registered double figure minutes in just two Big Ten games and as the season moves along, it’s become clear that he still has a long way to go in order to become a regular contributor. In a total of 68 minutes in Big Ten play, he’s got nearly as many turnovers (10) as shot attempts (12).

Devin Davis – .4 ppg, 25.0 eFG% in 5.9 mpg

Davis has fallen behind Howard on the depth chart and the freshman from Indianapolis has just a total of three points in eight Big Ten games.

Editor’s note: Only players with 20 or more minutes logged were included.

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  • Blair McKee

    Will Sheehey is the HEART of this team. His energy, intensity, effort and passion are worth a few ugly (and they are ugly) turnovers.

  • WindyCityHoosier

    Why Will’s offensive #’s down/flat…. I agree that the burden of having to lead the defensive sets and getting players into the right position has taken a toll on his offensive concentration. Its not a coincedence (to me at least) that as Will’s leadership/coaching role has needed to increase, his offensive efficiency has decreased. Given our offensive struggles, I wish he would spend less energy coaching on the floor or correcting teammates mistakes as its taking away from his own game.
    We are all comfounded by his TO’s but the bottom line is that this team is going to go only as far as Will takes them. He is undoubtly the leader of this team. He has to start scoring more without a drop-off on the defensive end. Less talk… more action

  • Outoftheloop

    Bill Parcells is out of football and his last 3 jobs in football were “busts”! Furthermore, he was obviously referring to the “team” not to a single player, so the quote has no relevance to a discussion of Will Sheehey. As to the “team” I agree that “you are what your record says you are”.

  • Outoftheloop

    No. It is just all the data that we have!

  • Rie

    Apparently I do need to type less, so people do not mistake the content of what I am writing… and here I thought it was just a lack of critical reading, evidenced by a total lack of understanding of my points. That is all I have to say on this anymore. On to the next topic.

  • Outoftheloop

    Actually many NBA stats are expressed as 40 minute extrapolations. I agree that it is not totally accurate, but it does give some method of comparing players who get only limited minutes to players who get many minutes.

  • Haha, I love your avatar CreanFaithful. It’s so funny seeing that randomly pop up places. Best piece of Photoshop work I ever did. 🙂

  • Outoftheloop

    The only way to look at rebounds is rebounds per minute! You seriously want to compare total rebounds of a guy with 713 minutes (Yogi) to a guy with 181 minutes (Hanner) or 173 minutes (Devin)? I am stunned!

  • Blair, agreed. This team needs Will on the floor and his positive value exceeds his mistakes. But it would make him even more valuable if he had a bit better recognition of his strengths and weaknesses on offense and played more to the former than the latter. (Easy to say from 1,000 miles away, right?)

  • Blair McKee

    Yes, And I feel the same way when I yell at my TV from Florida.

  • Outoftheloop

    That’s easy…you just hate it when he BEATS you! Who was the Purdue guard a few years ago that had less talent than Craft but even more hustle? It is a very respectful hatred!

  • INUnivHoosier

    And so comparing the two leads to very specious inferences.

  • Ole Man


  • Ole Man

    Long time ago. LOL.
    We expect the players and coaches to grow.
    We also have to grow as fans.

  • CreanFaithful

    LOL! Obviously I don’t think Yogi is a better rebounder. But please show me a rating service that ranks players on REB/MIN. That is NOT the way to do it. The leading rebounders in the country are judged on per game numbers.

    Based on your theory, we could throw a sub in for 1 min at the end of a blowout vs lesser competition and if they came down with a rebound, they have potential for 40 per game if we had played them the whole game.

    I know what you are doing is not nearly that extreme of an example, but it too is flawed logic to assume those numbers remain consistent with more playing time.

  • CreanFaithful

    Have an upvote sir! I’ve made good use of it…

  • Guyton25

    He’s behind Howard in the depth chart, lol. I think that says it all. He was rated 93 as a recruit (Yogi was 96), Yogi, Hanner, and Noah should be our best 3. I figured he and Yogi would have breakout seasons this year, but they went in opposite directions of each other. Just sayin I know Hanner is capable of great things. Maybe Crean just needs to give him some more minutes and see what happens.

  • OhioHoosier

    Now I agree with that statement, I would love to see his minutes rise. But every time he is in the game I feel like he plays hard which is why I questioned the original post.

  • Guyton25

    If he were to get 24 minutes he’d be averaging 9 pt ,6.6 reb, 1.2 b, but 2.4 to. He’d be our 3rd best statistically.

  • Geometry Hoosier

    There are too many variables for your stats to be legit. That would be like me saying that I would have hit 64.8 home runs my jr year of high school if I would have played a major league schedule. Was I on pace for that, yes, but is that realistic to believe, no.

  • HoosierFan76

    I get what you mean, but it’s a lot easier to hear something and understand what you need to do than it is to actually go out there and do it. I would imagine that Will took DWade’s advice to heart and worked on that aspect of his game, but he just didn’t progress at the same rate that Vic did.

    It’s natural to compare them to a certain extent, because when Will and Vic came to Bloomington they seemed nearly interchangeable in terms of what they brought to the team (Sheeladipo, anyone?), but Vic transformed his game far beyond the scope of what Will can currently do.

    Do I think that Will didn’t work on his game or heed the advice of others? Not for one second. Two different guys, two different outcomes. They both worked (and continue to work) incredibly hard, but only one of them went on to be a superstar. That’s what makes a guy like Vic so incredibly rare – most guys don’t go from such a raw start at the beginning in year one of college to being the #2 pick in the draft after the third year, no matter how much work they put into it.