The Inside the Hall Mailbag: July 11

  • 07/11/2014 8:31 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

kmark22 on the premium forum writes: I know people believe with the loss of Fischer, Jurkin, & Vonleh IU needs big players….is this idea/topic really overblown given how IU plays. Do they really need big men to be successful?

I believe you have to have some sort of presence, even if it’s just mainly for defense and rebounding. However, there are very few offenses in college right now that are based on throwing the ball into the post and letting a guy operate with his back to the basket. It’s a perimeter oriented game with ball screens and pick and roll dominating the landscape. If you can space the floor, make 3s at a reasonably efficient rate, offensive rebound and get to the line, you can win without a big man who scores a lot.

I think the main thing for Indiana next season is going to be finding a combination of players up front that can defensive rebound and defend without fouling, which is something Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis had problems with in limited roles last season. — Alex Bozich

Richard Howenstein on Facebook writes: How do you see Hoetzel fitting in to the lineup? He has length that we need and has an outside shot. Is he a 7th or 8th guy off the bench?

I think he’s got a shot to be a rotation player right away if he’s able to defend adequately. If you look at it on paper, the “sure fire” rotation guys appear to be Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams, Mosquera-Perea and Davis. Beyond that, Nick Zeisloft and Hoetzel are probably right there for the 8th and 9th spots.

We don’t really know enough about where Collin Hartman is physically to say how much he’ll be able to play with any certainty and I’ve never seen Tim Priller or Jeremiah April play, so the foreign trip should give us a gauge on where those two stand. To answer your question, if Hoetzel makes shots and helps space the floor, he’s going to find his way into the rotation in some capacity. — Alex Bozich

@croneleoni on Twitter writes: With so many talented wings and guards at IU, can you give the odds of who could enter the draft next year?

I would think if there’s any candidate to possibly consider a jump, it would be Ferrell. And even that seems like a long shot given that not many 6-foot point guards are leaving early for the NBA. I believe Blackmon Jr. will need a couple of years in college at the least to develop physically before the NBA enters the equation and Williams is another guy who may have the potential one day to play at the next level, but there’s plenty of development that remains before that’s even a discussion. — Alex Bozich

motorcityhoosier on the premium forum writes: I see a lot of forum members predicting that Devin Davis will play minutes at the 5 spot, either sparingly or for significant stretches of each game. Based on size alone (and our limitations therein), I would expect Perea to start at the 5 with April backing him up. Do you really think we’ll see Davis play center, and if so, how many minutes per game?

Considering Davis started at the five and played quite a few minutes there in IU’s narrow loss at Michigan late in the season, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play there for stretches. I’m not buying into the assumption that April is going to be the backup at the five until I actually get a chance to watch him in live action.

Right now I can definitely see Davis operating as the first frontcourt player off the bench, which means if Mosquera-Perea picks up a couple of fouls early, he could be used at the five. I would think there will also be plenty of situations where Davis and Mosquera-Perea are on the floor together, but Davis playing the five is certainly a possibility that exists. — Alex Bozich

Geoff_85 on the premium forum writes: Where should we expect improvements this year in regard to player development? It looks like Devin Davis and Hanner Perea are going to log significant minutes and some people are talking as if Perea may be drastically improved. Do you see this as a possibility given the improvement he showed last year?

The primary thing that most folks will be looking for is improvement in decision making and limiting turnovers. Given that IU is going to be unconventional this season in that it’s not really going to have a deep frontcourt, the ball is going to be on the perimeter quite a bit and IU needs to be efficient there. Obviously, I think you’re going to see improved physiques from several guys on the roster if Je’Ney Jackson’s recent track record in that area is any indication.

As for the possibility of drastic improvement from Mosquera-Perea, I think he’ll continue to get better as he continues to get more reps. He obviously has the physical attributes to grow into a major contributor, but it’s all about how quickly that can happen. This is a big offseason for him as there’s really no obstacle for him growing his role significantly besides himself. It’ll be interesting to see how he embraces the opportunity. — Alex Bozich

madweber on the premium forum writes: Nebraska was a surprise last year in the B1G. Who do you see making similar waves this year given returnees and recruits?

I don’t see any team being picked to finish last to make a jump like Nebraska did last season as that would require a prediction that Rutgers won’t finish last, which is somewhere I can’t go.

I haven’t studied it super closely yet, but I think Illinois is going to be a team to keep an eye on. There’s a solid nucleus returning with Rayvonte Rice, Tracy Abrams, Nnanna Egwu, Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill along with two transfers in Aaron Cosby and Ahmad Starks. Then you’ve got top 40 recruit Leron Black, a name IU fans are familiar with, coming in to help in the frontcourt. The Big Ten is wide open in the middle after Wisconsin, but Illinois is a team that could make a move up in the standings. — Alex Bozich

ajbeatty311 on the premium forum writes: With Yogi taking the priority of the outside shots (or least making the majority of them taken), how does his game expand with the shooting JBJ, RJ and MH bring?

Adding two guards like Blackmon Jr. and Johnson should help take some of the pressure off of Ferrell to score and allow him to beat guys off the dribble and find shooters on the perimeter or guys via cuts or lobs like Mosquera-Perea or Williams.

The good thing about Blackmon Jr. is that he’s not just a spot up shooter. He can catch the ball, size up his man and then make a play, whether it be a jab step to create space or simply beating his man going to the basket. He’s not going to be a guy that you can cheat off of and provide help on Ferrell. The same goes for Johnson.

One problem last year with IU’s offense is that there were too many instances where there were players on the floor who weren’t a threat to score. That’s going to be less of a problem this year which should help eliminate some of the possessions where IU wasn’t going to get a shot unless Ferrell created one on his own. — Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • Bballpop

    This off-season is going WAY TOO SLOW! Can’t wait to see how they do in Canada.

  • Kyl470

    Anyone know if there will be online streaming of any of the games in Canada?

  • Hoosier Pride

    What are the dates of the Canada trip and Alex- will you be posting after each game with analysis, box score, etc?

  • OhioHoosier

    We can only hope lol

  • IUDan

    Regarding Max H … I have a feeling he may surprise us with his contributions this season … Outside of JBJ and RJ he seems the most “college ready” given the high level of competition he played against in prep school. It’d be great to have him as a versatile player in the rotation at the 3 or 4

  • ForeverIU

    Everything I’ve read says no, but maybe our man Don Fischer can at least have an audio stream.

  • N71

    I’m not sure I see some other team making a “leap” as much of a threat as I do Maryland joining the Big Ten. Rutger will surely struggle but Maryland is on par with our top 5 or 6 programs, similar to Illinois I’d say. Ahead of them I’d put MSU, OSU, IU, UM, and UW. The addition of Rutger and Maryland in football is near meaningless, Maryland basketball on the other hand is news worthy in my opinion. They also draw from one of our recruiting regions DC/Baltimore/Richmond. While I hate to admit it I bet we’re forced to take notice in the not-to-distant future.

  • ForeverIU

    Regardless of the rotations we will have, I think our number 1 priority should be to build on the experience from last year, so the idea of Devin and Hanner putting in major minutes is encouraging (in addition to all the other “veterans”: Yogi, Stan, Troy). Despite the woes of last year, of the ten ranked teams we played, we won four times (including wins against an eventual Final Four team and an Elite Eight team), lost by a point to the national champs, and gave MSU and UM a run for their money on their home courts. Now that’s a battle-tested team with elite experience, at least for the players who remain with us, which is why we should utilize them to the fullest.

    BTW, that Wisconsin game at home last year looks like a model for what spacing and opening up the driving lanes could look like? It’s also the game that Wisconsin eventually seemed to adopt in their tournament run.

  • Arch Puddington

    I can’t decide if last year’s team was a really good bad team that beat top competition, or a really bad good team that lost to weak competition. What I am sure of is this: dribbling and shooting are the two major skills in basketball, and we had only two players who could do either. This year we will have lots who can, and that will make us better. We also seem to have a more cohesive and hard working bunch, although that is speculation based on pretty superficial evidence.

    Yes, we are likely to get steamrolled by teams with dominant bigs, but there aren’t many of those around. If Troy and Stan have added to their games at all since last year, and if Hanner can be even a semi-competent defender, I think we win 20+ games and make the tourney.

  • shknqk

    From an article on ESPN top passing teams – something we need to continually emphasize as Alex has – it’s possible to have success without depth or height in the post.

    “Last season, the Wildcats had assists on 60.4 percent of their made field goals. They also shot a ton of 3s — 44.8 percent of their overall field goals, in fact. This was perfect for Wright’s personnel, which was short on true big men. Just one rotation player, center Daniel Ochefu, was listed as taller than 6-foot-7. Everyone else in the ostensible frontcourt — especially James Bell, Darrun Hilliard and Josh Hart — was carved from the “tweener swingman” mold. These guys guarded and rebounded, sure, but they were also comfortable with the ball in their hands on the perimeter.

  • ForeverIU

    Just to be clear, I’m not even trying to spin on last season. Just saying that we have players who played against top notch competition and competed and won or came close, and that somewhere in their DNA we hope this kind of elitism got imprinted as a permanent memory. In other words, they experienced the big wins, not a luxury many players have. Oh, and did I count the Syracuse first half? LOL.

  • ForeverIU

    In an extended off-season interview CTC said the passing game is a main priority for the coming year.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    ‘…players on the floor who weren’t a threat to score’. Amen to that! How often did we look at the lineups and wonder where the heck the points would come from! That team was streaky at best, and i don’t even want to talk about them at their worst (cough! northwestern cough! cough!).

    maybe this year’s record won’t end up much different, and i’m afraid we’re going to get beat up in the paint, but they’ll be able to score, and in a lot of different ways. personally, i can’t see how our slashers, like TW and especially SR benefit from having multiple lights-out shooters in the rotation. i hope they open up the lanes, because with likely struggles with offensive rebounding, they’re going to need to get to the foul line early and often!

  • ForeverIU

    Maybe we should flood BTN with mail begging for it.

  • Arch Puddington

    Nice find. To follow up, I looked at Villanova’s defensive ranking from last season, and it is even more encouraging: according to Kenpom, Villanova had the 16th best defense in the nation. I believe we will score well and probably even rebound adequately despite a thin front court, but like many I wonder how well we will defend. Villanova’s experience guarantees nothing, but it does show that it is entirely possible for a team like ours to succeed. And while Hanner will have to step up in order for that to happen, he does not have to be dominant. Ochefu, the one guy the article mentioned as being taller than 6′-7″, only played 21 minutes per game and averaged 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. I believe Hanner has that much in him, and if he does, we are in business.

  • ForeverIU

    Three of our “lights-out shooters” are still untested freshmen. I would bet on JBJ but not anyone else until I see them raining threes come the preseason.

  • Greg Anderson

    Yogi-Blackmon-TWilliams-DDavis-Perea = projected starters. what everyone think ? or should we go with smaller lineup and removed DDavis and put In SRobinson or RJohnson to add another shooter.

  • VAHoosier

    I personally prefer Stan starting over Devin. That gives us our best 5 on the floor, and we need DD’s size and rebounding coming off the bench.

  • SCHoosier

    Two of my worst memories from last year involved the clock running down. The ball got into Gordon’s hands..and with 5 sec or so left..and a good look on the wing…he passed to ball to a “non-shooter” in the corner. One shot was an air-ball..the other a clank . Wrong guys taking the shots they couldn’t’ make at the wrong time and TO’s will mark that team forever. Just too much poor decision making. When TC recently told a group that IU’s guard play last year was poor..he wasn’t kidding…or making excuses.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Yeah, Villanova’s one kryptonite was great outside shooting (as evidenced by their implosions to Creighton last year). They were a good team to watch. Hard nosed and intelligent.

  • SCHoosier

    “Raining” may be an issue at times..but an all out drought won’t be a problem!!

  • ForeverIU

    Like Alex said, I think Davis and Perea sub for each other. We will need to give a third guard major minutes (Stan, Robert, and now Nick), if one of our strengths is going to be the back-court.

  • Shawn Congo

    I couldn’t agree more. Stan in, DD out.

  • SCHoosier

    I agree passing should be a target area…sharing the ball..getting it quickly to the right person at the right time. sSo TC is right. Then again…its a DRIBBLE drive offense….passing not encouraged to be the first option??? UM can do both..not sure why IU can’t.

  • IUBizmark

    With all the shooting, we have a “punchers chance” to win most, if not all, games this season. That’s something we didn’t have last year…and even if we did, we lost because of turnovers.
    Perea won’t be leading us to many victories, but he certainly isn’t going to prevent us from getting there either. He’s now a Junior, albeit a Junior who missed all of his Freshman preseason campaign and a few games last year as well. Most guys take until their Junior year to start being consistent and showing some flashes of greatness. Hanner is going to be just fine this year and we’ll be able to rely on, arguably, the best freshman shooting class to fill it up in most games.

  • Greg Anderson

    wow all I can say is that is such a small lineup. I understand why we might do it but we could get killed inside by other teams. We have HPerea at what 6.9 tall and TWilliams at 6.6 tall as our bigs starting.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Alex, was YF double teamed regularly last year? (when teams could cheat off another guy and help)? Was there a lot of help defense on him?

  • Greg Anderson

    I like Stanford robinson also as he was majorly improved the second half of the season but he is more of a slasher and great defender then a shooter. With that starting lineup we only have Yogi and Blackmon as the shooters on the team because Troy Williams also is just a slasher and not a very good shooter. I think starting Robert Johnson over SRobinson be better in my opinion. I know he is our backup point guard but have to start the best starting five and R Johnson is a great shooter. With a small starting lineup it is so much more important to be able to spread the floor and have great spot up shooters since we don’t have great big inside.

  • Alford Bailey

    As Alex said there will be no cheating off guys like JBJ, RJ and MH on the perimeter. But, will our much improved perimeter offense be negated by the lack a legit guy in the post? Nobody more critical of Creans ability to land a quality big than me but I will take 3-4 legit threats on the perimeter this year over NV being triple teamed with Yogi being the only outside threat last year.I think we are much better this coming year but recruiting needs to improve because you gotta have both to get the program back to where it should consistently be.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Alford, I’m thinking that IU can survive if they isolate JBJ and TW to play 2 man ball with YF the weak side finisher/bail out guy. I’m assuming TW has improved his mid range jumper. However it plays out, I agree with CTC that passing needs to improve (lots) over last year’s efforts. And in my view for that to happen, half court player movement needs to increase. The more active our 5 offensive guys are the less we need a legit post guy. All that said, they’ll not win games against good teams with legit post players unless there has been significant improvements or the new guys (April?) are big surprises.

  • ForeverIU

    I think most of us here are resigned to the fact that we will have to milk the resources of our small but very talented line-up. The starting line-up will be more symbolic I think, considering our propensity for larger rotations and subbing (not being critical or sarcastic). We will bring in the bigger line-up on demand, although this may be more the exception than the rule.

  • VAHoosier

    Last year’s team was the worst team I have ever seen regarding moving and sharing the ball. The question is whether CTC can actually coach his guys to pass and to pass well. His style does not emphasize ball movement.

  • VAHoosier

    Agreed, that is an encouraging comparison. At least our guards — with the exception of Yogi — have decent size, generally 6’3″-4″ and up.

  • Greg Anderson

    well since we go with smaller starting lineup obviously it is going to hurt us on the defensive end of the floor but on the offensive end of the floor it could be to our advantage if we use it right which all starts with great passing.
    1) Spreading the floor and making there big guys come out and guard our smaller guys provides ability to drive right around them.
    2) mid range and outside shooting will be huge key also if they don’t bring out there big guys to guard us.
    3) Lastly and most important will be our fast break up tempo offense beating them down the court since they have big guys that wont be able to keep up with smaller lineup.

  • kaponya44

    I believe it wad the latter more than the former .From a talent angle it was the latter .From a fundamental perspective it seemed to be the opposite .IU will likely be similar this season.However experiences are “make” to be drawn from and any team can adapt to playing to it’s strengths once those become established .The trip should be most beneficial in that regard .The freshmen stand to benefit most and I hope their opponents present contrasting styles of play.At least one should exclusively play a zone defense.

  • From what I understand, no. Not unless it comes from one of the schools up there hosting.

  • The dates are August 8-13. There’s an off day on the 9th, but it’s five games in six days. And to answer the second part of the question, yes.

  • VanPastorMan

    Sometimes I wonder if Fischer is kicking himself in the head. He would have had plenty of playing time this yr if he had stayed. Now he has a new coach and a lot of ????? in Marquette.

  • ForeverIU

    Alex you put the optimism charm on us today. How did you manage that? You deserve a medal, as you do also for everything else you’ve done. LOL.

  • Hoosierfan88

    Smaller lineup removing DDavis and starting Stan.

  • dontfiretomcrean

    From what I’ve seen over the last couple years in terms of player development and in-game coaching I seriously think Tom Crean deserves another contract extension. I think he’s the perfect man for the job and we’re privilaged to have someone like him. We should whatever it takes to keep him.

  • Gregory Spera

    Considering the fact that Tom Crean’s previous eight year extension with IU already runs to 2020, any additional extension would would just about make it a lifetime contract. Ha!

  • kyle jenkins

    Stan and Rob

  • IUDan

    It certainly looks that way on the perimeter . . . but the point is right that alot of these guys need to be taught defense, so hopefully that is something that is stressed early on, and we can develop a couple interior defenders.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Dude, do you work??? Lol

  • CreamandCrimson

    I still can’t believe that last year’s team was the one that broke through and finally beat Wisconsin (and in fairly convincing fashion)….I absolutely loved it and the entire team (and coaches) earned that win but looking back at it today, that’s a game that made zero sense (and that’s okay, making zero sense is all a part of college sports).

  • ForeverIU

    Lol, I’m addicted. Hey, I’m a big fan of Hanner, so you should be happy.

  • skotchie

    Soph 5.9 ppg 3.1 rpg JR 5.5 ppg 3.9 rpg SR 10 ppg 6.4 rpg

    If Devin Davis can become like AJ he’ll be long remembered
    as a fan favorite. He already reminds me of AJ.

  • PDXHoosier

    It will be nice if Yogi doesn’t have to be a volume scorer this year. I have no problem with him racking up assists instead of shot attempts

  • ForeverIU

    I ask myself sometimes, would I have rather won the games we were supposed to win and lost the ones we weren’t supposed to, and be conventionally mediocre, or the other way around, and be unconventionally mediocre? I think I prefer unconventionally mediocre, ha.