The Inside the Hall Mailbag: July 6

  • 07/06/2015 10:58 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.

Zachary Farmer on Facebook writes: Everyone talks about what Troy (Williams) and James (Blackmon) need to do this off season, but not Robert Johnson. What must he improve this off season besides turnovers?

Fantastic question. Johnson has looked great physically in the offseason workout videos, but skill development is going to be equally important for him to reach his ceiling. His jump shot definitely needs to become more consistent. He was 38.8 on 3s as a freshman, which is very good, but just 29.4 percent on 2-point jump shots.

Johnson was pretty solid finishing at the rim (53.8 percent), but should be able to improve there with an offseason of strength and conditioning work. As you mentioned, the turnovers are really the big piece as his turnover rate (24.2) was the highest mark on the team. And like everyone else on the roster, he must work on doing a better job of containing ball handlers on the perimeter and show more confidence as a defender. – Alex Bozich

lawguyNA on the premium forum writes: Toughest 3 games on this year’s schedule?

At Duke has to be the toughest. The Blue Devils rarely lose at home and have never lost at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The defending national champs in primetime on ESPN in a raucous environment? Go ahead and pencil that in at No. 1.

Some of the Maui games will definitely be tough, but that schedule isn’t out yet, so throw those out for now. For No. 2, I’ll go with at Michigan State. The Spartans are a preseason top 15 team and winning in the Breslin Center is always a difficult task.

For No. 3, Maryland at home. There’s a good chance the Terps will be ranked No. 1 nationally in the preseason and assuming the Hoosiers play to expectations, that should be an electric atmosphere against a great opponent. – Alex Bozich

@LarryMooshaker on Twitter writes: What are the mask the players are wearing I’ve seen in conditioning photos?

They are elevation training masks. You can read more about them here, but my understanding is that the purpose is to simulate training in higher elevations to help with things like lung capacity. – Alex Bozich

Shknqk on the premium forum writes: With Lyonel Anderson’s arrival as strength and conditioning coach, is there any significant difference in the program he runs vs Je’Ney? The snapchat videos have us all pretty pumped up, but is it qualitatively different and if so what’s the reasoning for the change and how might it effect our play over the long haul?

It’s probably best to defer to Anderson’s own words to answer this question. He was asked about this very topic by the media last month and he used phrases like “thinking outside the box” and “different ways to skin a cat.” At the same time, he also referenced a strong relationship with Je’Ney Jackson and mentioned him as an influence on his own career.

More than anything else, Anderson is going to look to put his own stamp on the program while aiming to achieve similar results to Jackson, who did a fantastic job for 4.5 years in Bloomington. He’s going to use different methods, but I’m not sure I’d call it a drastic change in approach overall for the program. Tom Crean was very complimentary of work Jackson did while with the program and I’m sure he has similar expectations for the work Anderson will do. – Alex Bozich

@WolfLike_Me36 on Twitter writes: Do you think the starting front court will consist of Emmitt Holt and Thomas Bryant? Or will Crean play small?

My guess is that Holt and Bryant will not start together, but there’s a good possibility that you’ll see lineups with both players on the floor. Bryant can step out and shoot it some and Holt is also working to improve his shot from the perimeter. Playing Bryant alongside Holt is more likely than playing Hanner Mosquera-Perea with Holt because Mosquera-Perea didn’t have the ball skills to play out on the floor.

That said, the guess here is that Indiana will continue to use smaller lineups to an advantage when it can. Collin Hartman can be a valuable guy at the four as can Troy Williams. When the Hoosiers aren’t going up against a mammoth frontline (like Purdue), it’s certainly reasonable to expect the smaller lineups to continue. – Alex Bozich

11th and Done on the premium forum writes: Is Crean still looking for another player for this season?

Looking? Yes. But as the days and weeks go by, the possibility of another roster addition for next season goes down. Landing Holt late last year was more of the exception than the rule. As Crean said last month, an addition at this point is going to need to be able to help immediately. The grad transfer market is getting very bare and all of the top 2015 names are off of the board. Crean has admitted he never stops recruiting, but right now it’s looking like IU may enter the fall with just 12 scholarship players. – Alex Bozich

@TheBDotB on Twitter writes: New assistant by Wednesday for new evaluation period?

No updates to report there other than what Tom Crean said early last month at Huber Winery, which is that he’s close to making a hire. Even if there isn’t an announcement, current director of basketball operations Rob Judson can continue to fill that fourth spot on the recruiting trial during the three July evaluation periods. – Alex Bozich

cdub76 on the premium forum writes: What is the breakdown of time the coaches can spend with the players in the offseason? I think there is a set amount of time for instruction/skills aside from conditioning/working out.

It’s eight hours per week for a total of eight weeks (they don’t have to be consecutive weeks) with no more than two hours per week on skill instruction. The full bylaw is below:

“In men’s basketball, a student-athlete who is enrolled in summer school may engage in required weight-training, conditioning and skill-related instruction for up to eight weeks (not required to be consecutive weeks). Participation in such activities shall be limited to a maximum of eight hours per week with not more than two hours per week spent on skill-related instruction. An individual who is not eligible to use the exception to summer school enrollment (Bylaw may participate only during the period of the institution’s summer term or terms (opening day of classes through last day of final exams) in which he is enrolled.” – Alex Bozich

madweber on the premium forum writes: We all recognize IU’s defense is going to need improvement this upcoming year. Which facet do you think is the most important – stopping dribble penetration, help side rotation, closing out on the 3, defending the post, or all of the above?

I’ll take all of the above, but if I had to pick a couple of those to focus on, I’d go with stopping/containing dribble penetration and defending the post, which bleeds into defensive rebounding.

Not to say the others weren’t issues, but the dribble penetration is obviously a major issue. A lot of it comes down to the individual rather than some type of schematic adjustment. Are guys going to dig in and keep the ball in front of them or just let guys take the ball wherever they want? Last season was more of the latter and it has to change.

As for defending the post, Bryant obviously helps, but IU has to improve on the defensive glass, too. The Hoosiers ranked a pedestrian 188th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, which isn’t going to get it done. The Big Ten is going to be very good in the post next season and allowing second-chance points with regularity is a recipe to lose to teams like Michigan State, Purdue and Maryland. – Alex Bozich

THowenstine on the premium forum writes: The key to winning the Big 10 is being able to win on the road. As you look at this year’s team compared to last years, and looking at this year’s schedule how do you think we will perform on the road and who will be our biggest challenges and why?

IU got a favorable Big Ten schedule next season. Here’s the breakdown of road games and home games:

· Big Ten home games: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin
· Big Ten road games: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers and Wisconsin

Avoiding Maryland, Purdue and Ohio State on the road is a positive. The Hoosiers also get, on paper, the four weakest teams in the conference on the road schedule in Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Rutgers. To win the league, those are games that need to be won along with stealing a few of the other road contests. Of course, this assumes taking care of business at home and IU went just 6-3 last season at home in Big Ten play. The biggest challenges on the road schedule are definitely Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. The Hawkeyes won’t be a top 25 team, but Carver Hawkeye Arena is always tough and Fran McCaffery returns four starters. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • hoosier93

    And so do other teams. Indiana isn’t the only one.

  • hoosier93

    Illinois brings back Hill, Nunn, Black and Tate. Abrams comes back from injury. They also bring in a big man grad transfer from Charlotte. They should be pretty good.

  • hoosier93

    He’s not a 4. He should never be used as a 4. You can’t just throw the defensive end. He can’t play the 4 because he can’t defend 4’s. In the NBA he’ll be a 3 and maybe a 2. But most likely will only see time at the 3. And even then he’s going to have to gain about 20 pounds.

  • Ole Man

    Mich will be top five. Don’t sleep on ILL this year.

  • Ole Man

    Exactly. People are really overlooking and underestimating them.

  • SilentBob

    Oh every body blamed everybody. You seem to think I’m blaming Hanner. I’m blaming everybody.

  • hoosier93

    I like then. They’re going to compete. I like Hill a lot. Getting Tracy Abrams back is big.

  • PBzeer

    Be hard not to improve on defense, since we couldn’t have been much worse, title talk though assumes not just improvement, but a quantum leap of improvement. Frankly, I don’t see that happening.

    Yes, we should be better, no question. But all indications thus far are simply playing TB in place of Hanner with the same basic offense and defense as last season. I don’t have any solid reason not to believe that’s what we’ll see, nor to think that will put us over the top.

    I’d like to be wrong, but I can only go by what is known, not what is hoped for.

  • hoosier93

    Except the Warriors were the best defensive team in the NBA.

  • hoosier93

    I think Michigan State can push Maryland this year for the B1G title but I still have Maryland finishing 1st and Michigan State 2nd. I have Purdue 3rd, Wisconsin 4th, Indiana 5th, Illinois 6th, Michigan 7th, Ohio State 8th, Iowa 9th, Minnesota 10th, Northwestern 11th, Penn State 12th, Nebraska 13th, Rutgers 14th.

  • TomJameson

    First of all I’m not talking about titles just yet. I’ll wait till into the B1G season before I’ll think of that. LOL There will be a lot of title talk before I jump in the fray.

    I don’t see how anyone can think that “all indications thus far” point to everything being the same other than the exchange of TB for HMP. That exchange alone will be an impact on both sides of the floor.

    That thought would be ignoring the years growth of the existing players, their work, their focus on defense, and their other two recruits who will impact the game as well.

    I would say that all indications show the team will be improved and the results will be much better.

    You are actually ignoring all that is known, and are working with last years factors. Not much sense in that … at least not IMO.

  • Hoosier89

    He played the 4 all last season. He can play and defend the 4 in college. The only 4’s he cannot guard are the large bruiser types, which are becoming more and more rare in college basketball.


    Exactly and just like a lot of people think we were just one player away from being able to be a whole lot better team defensively. I’ll believe that we make can make the jump, defensively, that a lot think we can when I see it happen. Rarely, if ever, does a team make the jump from around a defensive ranking of around 200 up to 60, give or take ten, in a single season and/or by adding one player predicted to help defensively, like some are so sure we will.

  • hoosier93

    Using him at the 4 last year was not successful. Which means he can’t play the 4. He’s too small for any 4 in CBB unless another team is putting a guard in that spot.

  • Hoosier89

    I think you’re confusing what “can’t” means.

    In any case, we did not lose games last year because Troy was getting dominated by power forwards.

  • hoosier93

    I’d say Branden Dawson more than handled Troy. Remember that game in East Lansing? Troy’s great 0 point and 3 rebound effort as Dawson went for 14 and 13 in a 20 point win for MSU.

  • hoosier93

    Last year was not a success. You scrap last year. Throw it in the trash. It was an embarrassment of a season.

  • PBzeer

    “You are actually ignoring all that is known, and are working with last years factors.”

    How much they’ve grown and/or improved, at this point is speculation, not fact. It’s hoped for, it’s expected, and it should happen, but until it’s actually demonstrated, it’s not a known quantity. Indications are simply indications, not results.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    While some may blame the player for whatever, I believe the buck stops with the coach. How does the team depreciate defensively over the season vs. improve? They were not held accountable on defense nor coached in-game to gain their commitment to improving it. Nuff sed

  • TomJameson

    Okay … first you back up your opinion that there will be no improvements at all by saying you can only go by what is known … now you’re saying everything I say is all speculation at this point. Well, it really sounds like you’re saying that what everybody else says is speculation, but you are magically speaking fact. Hahahahaha Man, read your own posts. LOL

  • PBzeer

    I haven’t said there’ll be no improvements, I’m simply not accepting them as facts at this point. I fully expect them to be better, how much better is still unknown. For the title talk that many post though, I do think it’s going to take more improvement than is probable. It’s not impossible, and we could peak at just the right time (though history doesn’t support it), get a favorable draw, while dodging some bad matchups, and make it to the Final Four. Love to see it happen. I’m just not getting giddy about it, as some are.