The Inside the Hall Mailbag: September 10

  • 09/10/2015 12:31 pm 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.

Maedhros on the premium forum writes: With Crean sending out the challenge, who do you believe will step up to become the leader(s) on this year’s Indiana team?

Good question, but it’s one I’m afraid cannot be answered. In fact, as you sort of alluded to, Tom Crean was asked about it a couple of weeks ago and was blunt in saying that if he had a leader, he would have named him by now.

Leadership is a word that is thrown around so often in sports and can mean so many different things. In Indiana’s case, I think what’s needed is a locker room presence that can set expectations and then hold guys accountable to those expectations from the player perspective. The coaching staff can’t hold the hands of the players 24 hours a day, but it’s clear that to this point, some of the players have no problem letting each other down off the court and that must change. – Alex Bozich

@PaulAynilian on Twitter writes: Based on that EH dismissal, what do you expect Max Bielfeldt’s role to be? Just spelling TB, or playing alongside him?

Max Bielfeldt will be in Indiana’s rotation and the dismissal of Emmitt Holt probably only strengthened that fact. I think he could play with Bryant at times and I’m not sure that would have been the case with some of the dismissed players (Hanner Mosquera-Perea comes to mind). He could also play some minutes at the five, although I’m not sure he’s suited for major minutes there. – Alex Bozich

Coop_ThereItIs on the premium forum writes: Are the last two years of off the court transgression a topic of conversation among recruits, AAU circuit?

I’m sure other programs are trying to use it to negatively recruit against Indiana, but from talking to recruits, it doesn’t seem to be a major discussion point. In fact, the father of Curtis Jones went out of his way in a recent interview with us to praise the IU coaching staff and how the program is run. And this was in the midst of the issue during welcome week.

Indiana still has plenty to sell on the recruiting trail, but ultimately the program needs to win a lot of games to maximize potential there. The reality is this: If the program hadn’t lost to Syracuse in the Sweet 16, missed the tournament two years ago and limped in last year, the off of the court stuff wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Winning fixes a lot of things and Indiana simply hasn’t won enough the last two years and so these issues are pushed to the forefront. – Alex Bozich

MDGC on the premium forum writes: Alex, with Holt, Hanner, and Davis now gone, do we totally junk going to going to a 2 bigs lineup, forcing to play small ball again?

I don’t believe it will be totally junked as I believe there will be lineups with Bryant and Bielfeldt or Juwan Morgan on the floor at the same time. And for the purposes of this roster, Bielfeldt and Morgan should be considered to be bigs. But it certainly could be less prevalent than it would have been before the dismissals. I still don’t have a huge issue with Troy Williams playing a lot of minutes at the four given how well he rebounded last season, but there are definitely situations that will arise that warrant having two “bigs” on the floor together. – Alex Bozich

@tucdaddy on Twitter writes: What’s the chances IU signs another McD AA in 16?

IU is in the mix with several top 40-ish players, so there’s a legit possibility. This is going to be a loaded McDonald’s Class, so there’s a good chance that plenty of deserving guys will be left out. A year ago at this time, most probably believed that the streak of signing a McDonald’s All-American would end, but IU landed Thomas Bryant in the spring. I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point. – Alex Bozich

mmardsen on the premium forum writes: Where do things currently stand between IU and recruits Bruce Brown and Curtis Jones? Does Newkirk join the program if Crean is confident in bringing in either of those guys?

IU is right there with both Brown and Jones and interestingly, Georgetown is also a school that you hear mentioned with both of those players. I don’t think the Newkirk addition really changed anything for Indiana recruiting wise as it’s pretty clear the program is going to need guards next season.

Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft are both gone and James Blackmon Jr. may have a chance to explore his options. At minimum, Indiana needs to bring in two guards and there’s a case to be made that it needs three even if Blackmon Jr. stays. Indiana needs guard depth and that’s what Newkirk will help bring. – Alex Bozich

GregorySpera on the premium forum writes: In your opinion, how much has having eleven players either kicked off the team or transfer out in just the last two seasons, hurt the program and our chances for success on the court? What (or who) is to blame for this continuing instability?

It’s not a positive by any means, so it definitely hurts. You could go down the list and debate all of the departures and their impact, but the bottom line is that roster turnover makes it far more difficult to sustain success.

As for the blame and where it falls, each situation is different. For example, who is to “blame” for Luke Fischer transferring? On a guy like Jeremiah April, it’s fair to say that it was a recruiting mistake made when IU was scrambling to fill roster spots. On the player dismissals, where do you assign blame? Crean said he wishes he would have come down harder on Mosquera-Perea initially and maybe some of the other situations wouldn’t have happened. Some of it has to go on the kids, too. – Alex Bozich

dmacer1227 on the premium forum writes: Alex, what is you opinion on our pre-B1G schedule?

IU will be tested with Duke, Notre Dame and Maui, there’s no doubt about that. My only criticism would be that the home portion really lacks a true marquee game and some of the lesser opponents won’t help the RPI or strength of schedule. But that’s kind of the name of the game in a lot of places now as schools have to fill dates and get guarantee games to do so. – Alex Bozich

CreanFaithful on the premium forum writes: Is OG really destined to ride the pine all season or can you envision some minutes? Based upon the team photo I recently saw, I’d say he’s at least 6’8″. Seems to have good shot block timing, ability to stroke from the perimeter, decent ball skills for someone of his height and can throw down dunks several steps from outside the hoop. Am I crazy to think OG will be getting minutes?

The Holt dismissal could benefit Anunoby, but even with the height, he’s not a post player. He does have some ball skills and length, so I could see him playing the four on occasion, but his profile is mostly that of a wing.

But to answer your question, no, you’re not crazy. IU only goes 11 deep with scholarship guys and I don’t see Tim Priller playing. That means if the Hoosiers go nine or 10 deep, Anunoby is likely to see some floor time. – Alex Bozich

Kwang on the premium forum writes: Holt was the player I thought would be the most improved, I think you said so as well, who do you think will be the most improved now?

That’s correct, I did believe Holt would be IU’s most improved player. I’ll go with Robert Johnson as my second answer as I believe there’s also plenty of room for improvement with him and everything I’ve heard indicates that he’s had a strong offseason.

The main thing Johnson needs to shore up is doing a better job taking care of the ball and finishing better through contact at the rim. If he’s improved in those two facets, he’ll have a very good sophomore season. – Alex Bozich

jafo71 on the premium forum writes: With Holt’s dismissal there appears to be a greater likelihood of using a 3-guard line up this season. Have the chances of Donavan Hale playing on the BB team this year increased?

For those unfamiliar with Hale, he’s a freshman on the IU football team that also had some basketball recruiting interest in high school. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds.

I’m sure the question has been sparked by the fact that IU had Jordan Fuchs come over last season toward the end of the season. I’m not sure I see anyone coming over from football and having a major impact on the court for what should be a top 15 team, but bodies and extra depth can always help in practice and workouts. I’ve not heard anything specifically on Hale’s situation, however. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • Outoftheloop

    So far this year Hanner seems to be the only leader, and it has been in the WRONG direction!

  • Hoosier Hall

    How about Fuchs? Is he going to play with the team again this year? I’m sure his primary focus is football but he could still add some value.

  • Rosco73

    You mentioned Max wouldn’t play the 5 much. If he isnt, who is? Morgan? Somebody has to back up Bryant, especially when he gets in foul trouble.


    Yogi, JBJ, Troy, Max TB.
    RJ comes in for JBJ. Colin in for Max.(Yogi, RJ, Troy, Colin, Bryant)
    Z in for Yogi. Max in for TB.(RJ, Z, Troy, Colin, Max)
    JBJ in for RJ. Yogi in for Z. Bryant in for Troy.(Yogi, JBJ, Colin, Max, Bryant)
    Troy in for Colin.(Yogi, JBJ, Troy, Max, Bryant)

    That’s an 8 man rotation and one that makes sense. It never puts Troy into the position to the 4. Plus luckily for us Troy should be able to play 35 minutes a game at the 3. You may be able to sneak Morgan in there somewhere and maybe even OG but it’d depend greatly on the situation. Morgan will probably average about 6 minutes per game if that and OG will be around 3. Tim will be around the minute mark.

  • Gregory Spera

    “I don’t see Tim Priller playing.”


  • inLinE6

    He’s almost linked to all off court incidents that have emerged these two years. I kind of agreed that he should’ve been kicked out on the OWI charge. Not severe enough to make him remember.

  • inLinE6

    From his limited minutes played last year, I was able to tell that he’s far from being able to contribute. Maybe in practice, but not in games.

  • inLinE6

    Bryant will log heavy minutes from the first game, and I’m guessing Bielfeldt, Hartman, and Morgan will share the rest at 5.

  • whomikewho

    If Nick is our backup PG we are in trouble. I’d switch RJ and him. I didn’t read the rest after..saving myself from over thinking before the season starts 🙂


    It doesn’t mean he’s our backup PG lol. Just when he’d come in itd be for Yogi.

  • calbert40

    I love how some people act as though no team in the nation plays with a 3 guard lineup, and we will struggle because we utilize one. Nearly every team in the nation plays a 3 guard lineup, or uses a “Stretch 4,” which is nothing more than a wing. Holt’s dismissal doesn’t affect that part of our system at all.

    Yogi, JBJ, RJ, Troy and Bryant. I believe that was going to be the starting lineup regardless of any of our off-season dismissals.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Nice little analysis, although I think we will play 3 guards more than this indicates. But I understand the point you are making. If anything, this places emphasis on how important it is that TB stay out of foul trouble. And, from this rotation, I hope Max is ready and able to play about double the minutes he played last year (14.5mpg).
    IMO, the starting rotation really comes down to RJ vs. Max. I think this is subject to change depending on the opponent. On occasion, I could even see Colin sneaking in a start or two.


    So what worked better…. Troy at the 4 or Watford at the 4?


    I think, with EH gone, CH should be given serious consideration as a starter along side of TB at the 4. If we hadn’t been ranked 214th or something ridiculous like that when it came to team defense I could agree with what you say more, but with where this team is, defensively, I think our best bet to get where we need to be defensively is with a two guard lineup. I know TB “should” make us better defensively, and that all of the returning guards “should” be better after last year, but I don’t think those things get us where we need to be on team defense. TB should also make, what was a terrific offense last year even better, and IMHO that makes swapping a little bit of offense for the chance of a whole lot more defense worth going with the two guard lineup. At least go with it long enough to know for sure if it’s going to work or not, and if not, roll with the three guard lineup.

  • calbert40

    Apples and oranges comparison. The teams CWat played for were slightly better. And not to open up an old point of contention between you and I, but CWat wasn’t a true post player or “4.” He was a wing, who had the size to rebound underneath. He was a 6’9″ guy who created match-up problems for the opposing team due to his ability to play on the perimeter and handle the ball with (a measure) of proficiency.

    So, he was Troy with a better shot, but less athletic.

  • calbert40

    First things first, I really don’t “care” who starts. What is more important to me is 1) who finishes, and 2) how many minutes each guy gets. I happen to be an RJ fan. I think he is going to be huge for us this year.

    Last year, he averaged 27 mpg, 9 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.5 apg, and nearly 1 spg. We forget he was a freshman. I am the conductor of the Robert Johnson hype train!

    I think CH is a perfect 6th man. He can create match-up problems for the opponent and force their hand with their substitution patterns. He can add instant offense, but he is also a hustle player who can help us on the boards or defensively too. I like him a lot, but I prefer him off the bench. Give him plenty of minutes, though.


    Well Watford is a PF. He plays one in the pro’s. That’s what he is. What will Troy play in the pro’s? Probably the 3 only. May get to play the 2 but doubtful. NBA coaches are smart enough to not put him at the 4. Plus with the roster we have, it suits the team better for him to play at the 3.


    I am not a fan of RJ. He was terrible at defense, a turnover machine and not an explosive athlete. He worked well as a spot up shooter and not a creator. Does he have potential? Of course. Everyone does. Will he ever be out my best player? I sure hope not. Right now he’s probably our 5th or 6th best player. Which is where he should be. I don’t care that he was a freshman. When you turn it over 25% of the time and don’t play defense then there’s a problem.

  • John

    And he was in the vehicle when the most recent incident occurred.
    He got kicked off the team for his issues then transferred out of state but then comes back to IU and is involved in an incident involving current players.
    Is he trying to cause more trouble for the team?

  • inLinE6

    Heart broken. I’ve waited for almost a year for TP in action.

  • calbert40

    I don’t think he will be our best player either. I just think he gets overlooked due to Yogi, JBJ and Troy, but he is a very solid player. He shot nearly 40 percent from 3, and he wasn’t a volume shooter either. He turned the ball over too much, yes, but he still had a positive A:TO ratio, and as a sophomore, I think we can all expect that ratio to improve.

    So far as his D is concerned, obviously he could improve, but I think the jury is still out regarding how poor his D was last year. His individual DRtg (which projects how many points he would give up in 100 possessions…so the lower the number the better) was 109.3. Not good. It also was not the worst on the team. That distinction belonged to Yogi at 111.8.

    DRtg for major rotational players last year:
    Yogi 111.8
    NZ 111.5
    RJ 109.3
    JBJ 109.3
    CH 108.8
    HMP 105.5
    Stan 105.4
    EH 104.4
    Troy 103.3

    Obviously, last year’s team was terrible defensively, so these numbers aren’t surprising; however, if you look at the numbers of multi year players, there is an interesting pattern I see develop.

    From most recent season to furthest away:
    Yogi – 111.8, 104.1, 97.0
    HMP – 105.5, 95.3, 92.2
    Troy – 103.3, 98.3
    CH – 108.8, 95.7
    Stan – 105.4, 100.7

    Without exception, EVERY player on the roster last year who has played more than one season of collegiate ball had his WORST DRtg of his career last season. Every single one of them. Why did all of our players have their worst defensive season last year? I would suggest that the lack of a true, defensive post player surely played a role.

    If your rating is below 100, that means you are above average. Look at those numbers again.

    Now, I’m going to give you Vic’s DRtg numbers at IU starting as a freshman: 101.2, 97, 86.9. Vic was very good defender as a sophomore, but his DRtg was “only” 97.0. We have a lot of guys who are capable of this rating, as can be evidenced above. I think adding a true post player as well as factoring in expected improvements for our veterans should improve our team D, which will thereby improve each player’s individual DRtg.

  • calbert40

    I really don’t care what position a player will play in the NBA or overseas. It has zero bearing on where he plays in college. None. Pro scouts say JBJ will have to be a PG in the NBA to make it, because he’s not big or athletic enough. Does that mean Crean should play him at the Point? No! He is a collegiate wing.

    If CWat is a 4, it is due to his limitations as opposed to his strengths. He is too slow to guard an NBA 3. Could you imagine what Durant would do to him? But he’s also too small to be a true PF in the NBA. This is why he isn’t in the NBA right now. His size says SF, but his athletic limitations say PF.

    In college, he could play the 4….much like Troy can, but in the pros, Troy is a 3, yes.

  • TomJameson

    Mike, I see your point, but it almost sounds like you still think of this team as it was last year defensively. I just can’t help to think that CTC and staff, on seeing all the workouts, practices, scrimmages, etc… day after day, well, I can’t help but feel that they already know where the defense stands. And they probably have a pretty good idea of what they need to do to get the defense to where they want it.

    It is CTCs job on the line, and I’d put a bet on him knowing it as well. At this point I think the best lineup will be on the floor that gives us a good offense, AND the best defense.

  • Ole Man

    Slightly better? CWat’s teams would stomp all over any of the IU teams since his graduation.


    You’re right about it not being that big of a deal who “starts”, but rather who’s getting how many minutes at what position and when are those minutes coming. Let me put it this I think our best lineup, for best overall game performance, is with CH getting the bulk of the minutes that come from the 4.


    If we start 3 guards again and the only difference is TB at the 5 then I do see the team this year being a lot like last year’s team, only a little bit better defensively. A little bit better defensively isn’t going to get it this coming season. Hell, we could come up 150 spots from last year’s final ranking in team defense and still not be where we will need to be to have the kind of season that people are expecting and that this team is capable of having. If memory serves me right that would put us in the mid 70’s tremendously better than last year, but is it where it will need to be to have the expected success, maybe, maybe not. It will be fun to watch how the dynamics that calbert40 and you disagree with me on and discussing them soon. For now, I’m sticking to what I’ve stated as to what I feel like will be the best. It’s already not fair to me, cause if I’m wrong you and calbert40 can split the effort of cooking and serving up the crow and if I win I have no one to split the cooking duties with and have to cook twice as much. lol Oh well, that’s a task I’ll be willing to slog my way through.

  • ForeverIU

    If a coach is playing good defense because his “job is on the line”, then he is already playing to fail.


    Well it’s been said that JBJ will handle the ball more. And JBJ can play the 2 in the NBA at 6-3 or 6-4 because of his wingspan. And Watford can play the 4 in the NBA. He’s more of a Ryan Anderson-Rashard Lewis type mild though. But at 6-9 240 he is big enough. But he’s just not an NBA player.

  • TomJameson

    Like I said, I see your points. I’m not even really disagreeing with you. As of now I am in a wait-and-see mode. I’m trying to be optimistic, recognizing that the coaches know TONS more than I do about EVERY facet of their team, and just counting down the time for the first game, exhibitions or otherwise.

    I don’t think of anybody right or wrong on this one (except for SOWRONG — lol), we all just have our opinions.

  • calbert40

    I was being sarcastic. Those last two teams he played for were fantastic. That’s why ideas saying it wasn’t a good comparison.

  • twoturntables

    Makes sense on paper but I don’t think Max makes the starting lineup with the talent we have at guard.

  • calbert40

    I’m fine with him handling the ball more, but I struggle to see him as a true PG. Otherwise, I’m not much of an NBA fan, so I’ll defer to you on his position at that level.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    JM – Was ranked around where RJ was last year and RJ played a ton of minutes. I do not see why JM would not be a rotation guy and starting at the 4 in some situations along with TB.


    No he wasn’t. RJ finished at 50 on 247. Morgan finished at 100. Crean doesn’t play bigs who were that low many minutes unless forced. Morgan will see spot minute’s unless he starts playing great. He may not start a single game in his career.

  • Outoftheloop

    Actually Watcord is a 3-4 “tweener”, that is why he does not get playing time in the Pros! Too small, unathletic, and weak to rebound and defend the good PF’s; too inconsistent as a 3 point shooter with a weak dribble limiting drives to the rim for the good 3 and 2’s.

  • Outoftheloop

    If Tim can hit 3 of his first 4 three point shots, then he will get some minutes. He has to hit 50% or above on 3’s or he will never get off of the bench. But I think that he can do that. Tim will be the “Poster Boy” for IU development if he is smart about positioning, not lunging or leaving his feet on defense, and solid with few TO’s, much like Roth his junior and senior years!

  • Outoftheloop

    Morgan will play 10-15 minutes/game and IU will have a 9 man rotation!

  • Outoftheloop

    And with the need for a Z if to sub for Bryant for foul issues!


    Watford is a 4. That’s just what he is. He had the size of a 4. He doesn’t have the athleticism to be a tweener.

  • Dmoe

    And no he wasn’t 100 either, I’m amazed at how you sit there and say he won’t or may not start a single game. Like he is garbage how much do you really know about the game. Also could you beat him?

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Yep your right I verified that on the rankings… but I do believe you will see JM starting in a few games and he will get more minutes then you are allowing for. I only say that because of EH’s dismissal.


    Go check on 247. Morgan finished at 100. I’ll give you time. And I could beat him in a 3 point contest. Are there FT contest too?


    Most likely Crean will play everyone in the first 5 minutes for no reason.

  • Dmoe

    I stand corrected on that however on ESPN he is ranked higher. Also ranked 25th in his position and 2nd in the state and you think he is just going to ride the bench…? Smh there’s more to the game than 3’s .

  • Dmoe

    You seem like your an IU hater


    Well he’s close to a foot taller than me. But I know I got him on one thing.


    A hater of the leadership? Absolutely. More of the lack of. That’s from AD and down to the players. There isn’t any.

  • Dmoe

    That sounds nice you are very comical. Have you ever played D1 ball at all ?


    Morgan isn’t ranked on ESPN.


    No. Wouldn’t have been big enough.