The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 6

  • 02/06/2015 10:46 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, 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.

Anderson-Kitchel on the premium forum writes: TC constantly talks about this team needing to play through all 5 positions on the court. Do you have any feeling for when Hartman/Holt/Hanner will get touches in the paint? Ball movement around the perimeter and handing off to a teammate outside the arc is really exciting to watch, but it limits offensive effectiveness when they virtually eliminate drives/kicks to open shooters.

Of the issues this team has, and there are some significant ones, offense is not on the list. Indiana ranks sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency in the country. The Hoosiers just scored 1.20 points per possession on the best team in the Big Ten on the road. They’re the best 3-point shooting team in Big Ten play and are second in effective field goal percentage. Offense, quite simply, is this team’s strength and outside of the Michigan State and Purdue game, IU really hasn’t struggled to score against anyone in league play.

It would be counterintuitive to throw the ball into the post with any regularity when you have one of the best perimeter groups in the country that can hit 10 to 15 3s on a given night and also get to the basket. – Alex Bozich

Clint Unger via email writes: Do you see IU signing a big man in the 2015 class? Do you think they need one? I’ve heard Thon Maker and Thomas Bryant’s names thrown around, but is that even realistic?

IU is still recruiting Bryant and if Maker reclassifies, which looks like it’ll happen, he’ll be the most coveted player in the country this spring. Bryant is down to Syracuse, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, but hasn’t really been tipping his hand on which direction he’s leaning. He has visited Indiana and obviously would be a major add for next year’s frontcourt.

As for whether Indiana needs a big man, I think the frontcourt situation next year should be solid with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Devin Davis, Juwan Morgan and Emmitt Holt. Adding Bryant would make it an even better rotation, but I think the frontcourt next season will be improved with the return of Davis, the addition of Morgan and an offseason of improvement from Mosquera-Perea and Holt. – Alex Bozich

Mark Elliott on Facebook writes: When will Hanner Mosquera-Perea be back?

The original target date was the Feb. 15 game against Minnesota, but based on comments during the TV and radio broadcasts during the Wisconsin game, it sounds like he could make it back before then. He jogged onto the court with the team for the last home game and I understand he’s been doing some light work on the court already. – Alex Bozich

JerryCT on the premium forum writes: What level of confidence do you think the IU coaching staff has in the development of Jeremiah April? We seem to be focusing recruiting on forwards-guards. Is this an indication that we are fine with our big situation?

Given the fact that he hasn’t played at all in the Big Ten schedule, I would say the confidence isn’t high. April clearly isn’t ready to contribute at this level or he’d be playing. Tom Crean made comments on his radio show last month that April needs to work harder. I’ve heard from others that April’s motor simply isn’t where it needs to be to contribute right now. Can a work ethic and a motor be developed over time? Yes, to an extent. But the player ultimately has to want to work and play hard.

As for the big situation moving forward, as I wrote in a previous question, adding Davis and Morgan to the mix next year should help things. – Alex Bozich

GregorySpera on the premium forum writes: I have never toured the basketball facilities of elite programs like Kentucky, Duke, or Kansas. I have never even been to an away game at Michigan State, Ohio State, or Wisconsin. So my question is this: how do Indiana University’s basketball facilities stack up with the very best programs in the country? Not just the arena, but I’m talking everything, from the assistant coaches offices to the athletic dorms, from the food service to the training room. Are we on par with the best of the best?

Great question, Gregory, and of the schools that you listed, I’ve only been to games at Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State and have not toured the practice facilities at any of them. As far as Cook Hall goes, it stacks up favorably with many of the top facilities in the country according to folks I know who have been in some of the top facilities.

As for the food service, Zach Osterman had some details on that in this story in the preseason. The coaching offices in Cook Hall are obviously fairly new. I believe most of the freshmen live in dorms near Assembly and Cook Hall, most of which have been renovated in recent years. Assembly Hall is about to undergo a major overhaul. The facilities arms race is a fascinating one in college athletics and I think IU has done quite a bit in recent years to make up ground in that regard, but it’s a race that never ends. – Alex Bozich

MissouriHoosier on the premium forum writes: The Hoosiers’ defense is unbelievably bad and is clearly the biggest thing holding this team back from enjoying more success. Can we reasonably expect to see improvement yet this year or must we wait until next year?

It’s February 6. At this point of the season, I wouldn’t expect to see major improvement. Enough games have been played and the data is what it is. Indiana is a below average defensive team and while incremental improvement or a solid defensive performance here or there isn’t out of the question, this group isn’t morphing into a lockdown unit. So to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t reasonably expect to see major improvement this season. – Alex Bozich

mdtreat on the premium forum writes: Do you think Purdue will be able to sustain their recent success? Have they really grown that much since their non-conference performance?

Purdue’s Big Ten schedule is backloaded with road games – trips to Minnesota, Rutgers, Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State are still to come – and the Boilermakers are currently forecasted to finish 19-12 and 11-7 in the league by Ken Pomeroy. I think Purdue has grown since the non-conference season and the play of A.J. Hammons is a big reason for that. When he’s engaged, he’s a fantastic player.

Purdue has won 5 of 6 and I’m not sure I see them continuing to win at that good of a clip the rest of the way, but if the Boilermakers can get to 19 or 20 wins heading to the Big Ten tournament, this is a team that should be in the mix for a NCAA tournament berth. The losses to North Florida and Gardner-Webb are going to sting for seeding purposes, but 11 or 12 Big Ten wins would be a nice accomplishment and hard for the selection committee to ignore. – Alex Bozich

JordanB on the premium forum writes: What’s it gonna take for Indiana to make decent run in the NCAA tourney? Clearly defensive issues will be there until the end, but are there other small areas of improvement that will get us to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond?

Not to oversimplify things, but if IU makes the NCAA tournament, the chances of advancing will be dependent on getting favorable matchups. This team isn’t well equipped to handle an opponent that makes its living in the paint, but if the Hoosiers take care of the ball relatively well and make 3s at near their season average, they’ll be able to play with a lot of teams.

Ultimately, the tournament is about getting hot at the right time and there’s really no way to forecast how a team is going to be playing in an event that is more than a month away, but Indiana’s elite offense gives it a chance to make some noise. – Alex Bozich

OleMan on the premium forum writes: IU needs to finish in the top four in conference to get a “double pass” into Friday’s quarterfinals. With the tournament starting on Wednesday this year, that is very big – otherwise, a team might have to play five games if they make it to the finals. In your opinion, is this team capable of doing that – finishing in the top four, and will they?

I think there’s a good chance that tiebreakers are going to determine fourth place in the league and there’s really no way to say how that’s going to turn out at the midway point of the season. Is IU capable of finishing in the top four? Sure. The Hoosiers have five of their final eight games at Assembly Hall. Will they? Impossible to say right now. Still way too many games to be played and too many teams grouped near the top of the standings. – Alex Bozich

?@Silk_the_Worm on Twitter writes: Any idea on when they’ll announce the game time for the Michigan St. game on 3/7?

I’d expect an announcement no later than two weeks before the game. Looking at the schedule of games that day, a noon tip seems most likely, but don’t quote me. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • Drew

    Thon or Bryant? Is there a realistic chance we could land one or the other? I sure hope so. We’ve had bad luck with big guys since 2013 (Fischer transferring, Vonleh leaving, recruiting misses such as Goodluck Okonoboh).

  • Gregory Spera

    It depends on what you would call “realistic.” The chances are very small, IMHO. As it stands now, Morgan and Anunoby will give us additional depth on the front line, if not increased size. So next year, at least we won’t be one injury away from starting Hartman at center, again.

  • Real American

    Morgan will be a nice addition. Holt and Perea should improve. I don’t know that we can count on Devin Davis returning or returning at a high level. Regardless, these guys are all 6’8″

  • SCHoosier

    I am as happy for D Davis’ recovery as anybody. But I think we have to be very careful “counting on him” next year. The kid was a 6-7 warrior who could board and run the court. His offensive game and ability to defend in open space were limited as a freshmen. Now he’s missed a year and so has his development as a b-ball player. What a wonderful story it is if DD just gets back on the court!!. To expect too much too quickly (unless he’s grown three inches) is just a wishin’ and a hopin’ at this point IMO. Re: a player who doesn’t “have the motor” to contribute..I can only say I had a car like that once..and traded it for another model.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    If I were making recommendations to Bryant, I would scratch Syracuse off the list with the NCAA review looming. That leaves it down to IU, KY & Missouri —- If he is drawn to deep basketball roots, down to IU & KY — then who knows? Regardless, they will be deeper next year.

    TM, if reclassified and at IU + the core starters return next year = potential final four discussions

  • Mack

    Good questions and good responses, Alex. Concerns about the front court and D, as ever on this forum with this team. Defense and big men seem critical in the BIG, which we all know. Our situation as far as lacking a big man couldn’t really be avoided with Davis, Vonleh, and Fischer. But D is another matter. I’d like to know, just how does Coach Crean go about working on it. And who among his assistants really, really works at it with the team and with each individual players. Learning to play defense is a skill that a player learns both as individual and as a player on the court with five guys. It’s a skill that becomes ingrained over time, because it depends on learned habits not just athleticism. Coach talks very intelligently about positioning and help defense but how is it actually put into the training of this team from day one and through out the season?

  • Outoftheloop

    Goodluck has done little so far this season, same for Lee at OSU. Great Bigs are very rare outside of KY!

  • Outoftheloop

    If you are not an immediate top 10 draft guy coming out of HS, and Bryant is NOT (but Thon might be), you are much better off at IU over any other program, especially KY. Lee at KY would be a top 10 draft guy if he were playing at IU (30 min/game with a solid double/double average on a top 10 team). As it is at KY he is the 5th best Big at KY, and KY has 4 good guards as well! His stats are minimal.

  • Hoosierkamp

    his mom seems really turned off by IU with all the offseason stuff. Hopefully she has changed her mind though. We need him and badly. I know the guys help, but we still no one we can post up for a bucket next year at this rate.

  • MDHoosier

    Totally agree. IU needs someone at least 6’10” to man the inside. Holt, O.G., Morgan & Perea aren’t going to be able to hold down the inside. O.G. and Morgan are wing players, Emmitt is a 4, and Perea can’t seem to get more points than fouls. What frustrates me is that CTC gets a guy with size, April, and the kid can’t get off the bench. If he doesn’t have the motor to play, what’s the point of recruiting a kid like this? This isn’t the first time he’s had a big that’s relegated to the end of the bench taking up a scholarship.

  • Michael Crawley

    It seems that CTC does not like playing with a traditional center. You think two forwards at 6′ 8 or 6′ 9 a versatile wing at 6′ 7 two gurads at 6’4 is kind of his ideal team.

  • Michael Crawley

    Great point

  • INUnivHoosier

    His mom seems turned off by everyone but Syracuse.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Good point . Hope the latest news rules Syracuse out

  • Michael Crawley

    If we land Thon with the core guys we have then we will win the BIG and yes Final 4 talks are definitely gonna happen.

  • Ole Man

    Goodluck started slow, but has come on as of late; and by recent reports is doing well for his freshman year.

  • Yes, Goodluck was a miss, but not a real bad ‘miss’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s like in the 6′ 9″ range.. very long arms if I recall, but doesn’t carry much weight.. I’m not too sure he’s that much, if any, better than what we have already.. Apparently he is pretty mobile, and in that respect he would have fit into Crean’s style of play.. I’d much rather have Maker or Bryant, if that is possible…
    Between those two, though, I think Thon could be a real difference Maker.

  • Outoftheloop

    What is your source?

  • Outoftheloop

    Crean missed the chance of seeing if Jeremiah has a motor or not with 10 minutes to go against WI and Kaminiski! Jeremiah could not have played worse than our other players trying to guard Kaminiski and nothing Jeremiah could do would change the L we were staring at! I dislike that cowardice, not even trying!

  • Jeff Johnston

    That would have been an opportune time to see what they could do. Good thinking. On the other hand, we did end up beating the spread.

  • Zach

    I see what you did there. Well played sir

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree completely! I can’t figure out why guys like Trey Lyles back out of their commitments to other schools to end up playing half the minutes at pUKe they’d get at other big time schools? Coach Calipayoff has only had success sending players to the NBA because of his success recruiting blue chip locks. When’s the last time Cal has had a Victor Oladipo type player who was a good recruit that he developed into a stud?

    It seems to me being the star at IU, UCLA, MSU, etc. is as good or better than being the 8th man in the rotation at pUKe . . . that is unless they’re just drawn to the bags of cash Cal’s handing out?

  • Lance76

    So many issues go into recruiting. Sometimes it works (Oladipo) and sometimes it doesn’t ( fill in the blank). Skill, size,basketball IQ, tenacity and most importantly work ethic. In all fairness, I wonder what this board would say if CTC held a scholly?

  • Ole Man

    Their web site and some AP stories. He’s avg. 5 pts and more importantly 5 boards a game; along with 3 blocks per game. A decent freshman year.

  • TomJameson

    You know you have a point about Calipayoff (I like that name 🙂 developing players. You’ve seen the debates about if CTC can develop bigs or if they are already good enough to be drafted that high. But UK has the real-deal 5 star players actually sitting on the bench. Does he develop them for the draft, or are they already talented enough? I think UK is just a conduit, not much development going on. Gotta give credit for getting them to play together though.

  • enickman

    Awesome question!

  • TomJameson

    I think we’ll be a good team with the recruits coming in and the returning core, but TM would be a great addition because he can run the floor and isn’t locked down into one spot near the basket. Since he can run he’d fit right into CTCs system,

  • pedro4

    Went to the MSU-IU game with a former MSU player who works for me. That arena is like an NBA venue. They have a waiting area outside the locker rooms dedicated to Mateen Cleaves mother. Everything is first class. When we left Coach Izzo was headed into a high tech boardroom to meet with his staff. Tough game for a Hoosier grad, but everything MSU does is first class. The players leaving the locker were carrying little Ceasar’s pizza’s. So they might need an upgrade there, but I believe that is a big sponsor for MSU.

  • KmanCRK

    She’s just a Syracuse being a long time fan. They live very close and most everyone in upstate NY is a Syracuse fan.

  • KmanCRK

    But not that different than HMP if you really think about it.

  • KmanCRK

    I honestly don’t get why everyone thinks DD will really help at the 5 spot next yr. I love the way the kid plays, but in the end he’s only 6-7. He is very similar to Holt in all reality. Morgan doesn’t add much in terms of bulk either. We still need a true big for next year.

  • KmanCRK

    Does anybody know if Crean coaches the tried-and-true method of “See Ball, See Man” ? I am so sick and tired of watching our guys take their eyes off of the ball and/or their man. I love Yogi, but he consistently turns his back to the basketball. Are they coached to do this? I believe this simple fundamental we learned in 5th grade would drastically improve our perimeter and help-side defense.

  • marcusgresham

    Hopefully she’ll also be turned off by Syracuse admitting wrongdoing by banishing themselves from the tournament (that they weren’t going to make in the first place.)

  • marcusgresham

    Thon also opens the door a little wider to get his younger brother, who isn’t necessarily as good but is still pretty good and will probably be around multiple seasons.

  • marcusgresham

    If AJ Moye were 6’11” he’d have been Bill Russell with better size!

  • Now that would be a real coup.. Get Thon.. then he probably goes to the NBA in one year and get his little brother.. Good thinking bro’…

  • Outoftheloop

    But Goodluck is still not more effective than Holt plus Hoetzel for IU: Goodluck 26.2 min/game, 5.2 pts, 5.1 reb, 58 blks. 7 steals, .494 % FG, .321 % FT; Holt plus Hoetzel 21.5 min/game, 7.1 pts, 4.6 reb, 19 blks, 8 steals, .674 and .449 % FG, .588 and .700 % FT. No “miss” there, just 3 pretty good freshmen.

  • marcusgresham

    The thing with help defense at this point is that there isn’t really adequate size to do it. When Hanner was healthy there was some threat of a guy protecting the rim, but not now. The back-line guys are afraid to come off their guys to help because that leaves their guys open for a wide-open monster dunk (and rarely does that spring off the back of the rim like Kaminsky’s did the other night.) In the grand scheme of things, it’s almost better to give up the driving lay-up. Both are worth two points but a lay-up doesn’t tend to rile the crowd like a dunk does.

  • marcusgresham

    It needs to all be first-class inside the arena up there, because you sure as hell don’t want to spend any time outside in East Lansing for about ten months of the year.
    You’d think they’d have Domino’s. Mike Ilytch must be a Michigan man.

  • Outoftheloop

    Hanner’s stats, 20.9 min (only 16 games), 7.4 pts, 5.0 reb, 25 blks, 5 steals, .620 % FG, .588% FT.

  • dwdkc

    Disagree. The place to see a motor is practice. If April isn’t doing the work, he shouldn’t get rewarded with playing time. If he was, then yes I agree that he should get some game reps. The other thing is, you don’t put someone in when you know the outcome will be terrible, as that can set the person back more with loss of confidence. Looks like April is a project that might pay by his junior year only, or if he doesn’t show what the coaches want to see in practice, he’ll be giving up his scholarship.

  • kaponya44

    Devin was said to be the strongest guy on the team.If he eventually makes a full recovery how can you understate the value of strength especially in the B1G.If he gets granted another year that strength will have time plus kids grow sometimes.He could be a taller player next fall.Just saying…

    I fully agree a player approaching 7ft tall who can run and protect the rim would be ideal for this team and Crean’s system.If we end up with less than ideal height I would gladly trade that for a stronger heavier player @ 250lbs or more who could completely seal the post and block out .lol

  • KmanCRK

    In no way am I trying to belittle DD. I love the way he played at the end of last season in spurts. I just can’t think of very many good teams in recent memory with a 6-7 center. He’s a great 4 though. I just hate we are relying or counting on a 6-7 kid to play center in the Big Ten.