That’s A Wrap: OG Anunoby

  • 03/28/2016 10:25 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2015-2016 Indiana Hoosiers. First up: OG Anunoby.

Anunoby (34 games): 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 62.5% eFG, 47.6% FT, 44.8 3PFG% in 13.7 minutes per game.

It didn’t take long for OG Anunoby to make his impact felt in a Big Ten game.

After Indiana lost James Blackmon Jr. to a knee injury on the Monday before the conference opener at Rutgers, Anunoby was thrust into a more prominent role in the rotation and began to deliver.

In IU’s first three league games, Anunoby scored a total of 30 points, which was more than he scored in all 12 non-conference games he appeared in.

An under the radar find by the Indiana coaching staff, the 6-foot-8 Anunoby helped change the trajectory of the season because of his ability to defend. Once he started to earn minutes, he frequently guarded the opposition’s best scorer, regardless of position.

In a home win over Wisconsin early in the Big Ten season, Anunoby spent time on the league’s preseason player of the year, Nigel Hayes. And in early February, it was his defense on Michigan’s Zak Irvin that was a catalyst in IU’s 28-0 run that led to a rout of the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

Following those performances, it was no surprise that Anunoby got the call to spend time on Kentucky’s Jamal Murray in the NCAA tournament second round. It was a team effort for the Hoosiers to limit Murray to just 1-of-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line, but Anunoby blocked two of those attempts at critical points in the game.

His overall play in the Kentucky game earned him recognition from those who cover the NBA draft closely, but at this stage in his development, Anunoby is still very much a work in progress. That was evident in the North Carolina game, when Anunoby scored just two points and committed four fouls in 17 minutes.

From a numbers perspective, there’s plenty for Anunoby to build on as he has a full offseason to prepare for what should be a more prominent role on the roster. He was an excellent 3-point shooter as a freshman as he connected on 44.8 percent of his 29 shots from distance. It’ll be interesting to see if Anunoby can contain that level of efficiency as a higher usage player down the road. He also finished close to 61 percent of his 2s in his first season and had the team’s highest block (5.6) and steal (3.4) percentages.

Improving his free throw shooting should be a main point of emphasis in the offseason as he connected on just 47.6 percent of his attempts from the line as a freshman. Anunoby’s turnover percentage (19.7) was also too high, but that was a roster wide problem for this Hoosier team.

For a player who arrived in Bloomington with a 247Sports Composite ranking of No. 280 nationally, Anunoby exceeded expectations in his first season and is arguably the most intriguing player on the roster to watch moving forward.

Bottom Line: How important was Anunoby defensively for Indiana? The Hoosiers would not have won the Big Ten outright by two games without his presence. His length and ability to get in the passing lanes was a game changer and it’s no coincidence that as his role grew, Indiana’s defensive efficiency improved steadily. He may never be the featured offensive player in Bloomington, but he can certainly take on a bigger role as a sophomore. As unselfish as he is, Anunoby should become more assertive in looking to generate offense as he continues to mature. As that happens, it’ll be important for him to improve his free throw shooting. It’s easy to see why the NBA will be intrigued by Anunoby when that time comes, but his best days in an Indiana uniform are still to come.

Quotable: “OG is a guy that it’s not about positions and it’s very little about positions with any of our guys, because if they want to play in the future, it’s very little about positions in the NBA. It’s very much about being multi-dimensional, versatile, skilled, being able to shoot, being able to defend different people. And OG is fitting that bill. But what happened for him in December is he really learned how to sustain intensity. His work ethic has been strong since the week he arrived at Indiana. And it just continued to get stronger.” – Tom Crean on Anunoby

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  • Rie

    OG is an absolute stud, and is getting better. I cannot wait to see what kind of progression and leaps he makes during the offseason.

  • Oldman

    If his handling skills improve he would make a great 2 quard and team with another defensive quard it would be like Buckner and Wilkerson in 75 and 76…..teams could not get past half court and had to set up offenses way behind the current 3 point line…..

  • inLinE6

    With the progress he’s made in his first season, there’s so much to expect in his second year.

  • It is interesting that it was reported on BTN on one of the programs after the game that OG had said he will be back. Not sure when that was supposed to have happened, but it certainly wasn’t in that interview. He’s clearly not ready for that yet, but who knows?

  • Kyl470

    I know everyone is in love with OG and I like the kid a lot. Personally though I hope Troy comes back and OG can remain as the sixth man. There is a big difference between being a role player (which he was) and being a go to guy (which Troy was). CTC didn’t ask a lot out of OG on the offensive end. He was basically left to take open jumpers, rebound, and dunk on a cut. What will life be like for OG when he is a guy teams really start to game plan for? Again I think the kid has a lot of potential, but lets not name him the next great player just yet.

  • I hear you and I agree. The best case would be TW returns.. He could really be something, if he can play the way he did in the second half against UNC… as a norm.. He would be something to watch for sure. There would still be time for OG to shine, and contribute in a big way.

  • LtShineySides

    Well if TB leaves he will be getting just as many minutes as any other “starter”. nick and max are both gone so he and JM will be splitting minutes taking those guys spots already. He fills in for so many spots other teams would be dumb not to game plan for him if he’s a starter or not.

  • LtShineySides

    Was thinking the same thing. His ball handling limited him quite a bit. Saw a few times where he had guys beat to the paint but was sloppy with the ball so he had to give it up. A guess if TW could improve his ball handling (still needs work) OG should be able to as well

  • BL

    Fans are missing the boat if they don’t see this kid’s potential for becoming a big time scorer. If he’s a sixth man next year, I’ll be the most disappointed IU fan on the planet. It’s completely unfair to judge his offensive skills based on this past year where he was a freshman role player at best. The shooting and ball handling skills he displayed in HS actually regressed because he wasn’t consistently called on to use them in games. OG has a great first step, impeccable shooting form, handles it well and can obviously finish at the rim. With some intense offseason work (please focus on the mid-range game) and treating him as a go-to player on offense, I will be major league disappointed if we don’t see the same big jumps for OG that we saw with VO. If I were Coaching OG, flat out he would have a goal for next year of averaging 15 and 10 and being the BIG defensive player of the year. I think he’s that good and I’m convinced Coach knows it.

  • Kyl470

    I guess I should clarify. Coaches game plan for all the opposing players. For example a guy like Nick Z opposing coaches probably told his team that this guy is a catch and shoot 3 point shooter. We need to make him beat us off the dribble and not give him open jumpers. However, not all players are focal points for the defense. On this years team coaches were more focused on stopping Yogi, Bryant, and Troy once JBJ went down.

  • StudentHoosier

    Don’t forget about Quentin Taylor for That’s a Wrap!!!

  • Shaggy_C

    I would go so far as to say his shooting was actually better as a freshman than either TW or VO. He swished several 3’s this year; if he can keep that up while continuing to improve his handling, he will be a major force in the coming seasons. I was actually disappointed he turned down some perimeter shots against UNC – I think something had him spooked.

  • BL

    Your short selling OG. Consider TW when he was a freshman. Here are their freshman BIG per game stats:

    TW – 21 Min; 54% FG (21% 3); 6.7 Pts; 4 Rbs; .9 A; 1.4 TO; .4 Blks; .4 Stls
    OG – 17 Min; 53% FG (41% 3); 5.8 Pts; 3 Rbs; .6 A; .6 TO; .7 Blks; .9 Stls

    When you consider minutes played, OG’s offensive stats are as good or better than TW’s and there’s no question he’s a better defensive player than TW as a junior.

  • Kyl470

    Thanks. A lot of people like to focus on the whole Good Troy vs. Bad Troy because of his turnover problems, but the simple fact is this. Troy can generate his own offense and has done it effectively lots of times throughout this year. OG has yet to show he can generate his own offense. All of his points were off open 3 point jumpers or catching passes at the rim and finishing. If you count stealing the ball and taking it down for a fast break dunk as generating offense then OG has more than proven he can do that. I’m not trying to hate on OG at all because as I mentioned before I really like the kid I’m just afraid people are expecting this guy to be LeBron James or Kevin Durant next year. IMO it’s best if he can play 23-28 minutes a game and be the defensive stopper and continue to be a guy that hits open 3’s and finishes at the rim. Let JBJ, Troy, and Bryant be the main offensive weapons.

  • BL

    I saw the same indecision on offense in several games. Typical of a freshman role player on offense; no way to have the “I’m the man” confidence of a prime scorer.

    I compiled his stats compared to TW in a different comment.

  • Kyl470

    You are completely missing the point. It’s not about comparing Troy as a freshman vs. OG as a freshman. It’s about comparing Troy as a potential senior vs. OG as a sophomore. Is OG the better defensive player? Absolutely. However, expecting a guy that had a really low usage rate to become a go to guy is quite a jump. Why ask OG to shoulder the load on offense when you will have guys like JBJ and hopefully Bryant and Troy on the roster. Let OG play his role and play it well.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    had a blast watching this kid play. curious to see how his role changes next year and how he responds. not a lot was asked of him this season, and that’s definitely going to change. of course that may just mean more minutes and a starting spot. this team’s still going to have plenty of offensive firepower, so i don’t see him being relied on as a scorer.

  • TomEke

    Hey Alex — Out of curiosity, do you have OG’s stat line broken down for either: before/after the injury to JBJ

  • Ron Craig

    This kid has a lot of potential and is a very exciting player, love to watch as his games develops . Believe he may have what it takes to reach the next level down the road.

  • BL

    I get your point and it’s a really tough debate for me. No doubt we’d be better depth wise if TW returns. However, what holds the most promise come tournament time – another year of TW pounding the ball and playing one-on-one or playing more team offense, giving more percentage looks to TB and crew, and pushing OG to become a legit scorer?

    I mean think about it; TW went off in the second half when we were down big which is always easier to do, and he did it primarily behind the three point line going 5-8 and several were from very long range. He went 1-6 inside the arch. Is this really what we want to rely on next year? Ok, screw it, I’ll say it; TW is a good kid, has been a thrill to watch at times but there’s a big part of me that wants to move on. I would rather see us take our chances developing other players.

    Naturally, if TW doesn’t return, Coach will need to land another wing to supply back-up minutes, or even better, land Maker.

  • SilverAtlanta

    What a great surprise this guy was! Great “get” by CTC!

  • OhioHoosier

    I have to disagree. His ball-handling is no where close to what it needs to be to earn a focal offensive position. He is slow off the bounce and has not showed any type of ability to score between the rim and the three point line.

    I love OG, but we need to be cautious in our estimates. He is not the offensive player that TB, TW, RJ, or JBJ is and should not be treated as such. Would it be great if he averaged 15 and 10? Absolutely, but his defensive and rebounding skills should carry him as his offense develops.

  • BL

    Respect your opinion but slow off the bounce? Go back and watch the MSU dunk or numerous other quick drives from the wing. I say give the kid some runway like others have had and watch out.

    Oh well, we’ll soon find out about the real OG Anunoby. Naturally, I’ll be pulling big time for him to prove me right.

  • OG is deceptively quick. He seems like he’s moving in slow motion, but that’s just his demeanor. When he wants to move quick, he can. Indeed, nobody could be as good a defender as he is (even with his long arms) if he wasn’t able to move.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I must admit, I love it when this kid is in the game! Great defense, knack for being in the right place at the right time, a great team player……

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Assuming both TW & TB stay, who do you think starts next year?

    I’d say:

    1 – JN, RJ, JBJ
    2 – RJ, JBJ, CH, OG
    3 – TW, CH, OG
    4 – OG, JM, Davis
    5 – TB, Davis

    I don’t honestly know enough about the other freshman (besides Davis) to guess on playing rotations.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    That was an interesting post BL – thank you

  • OhioHoosier

    As well I.

    He posses a phenomenal first step, but his ability to change direction via the dribble or start and stop his sub-par at this point (knit picking I know). I think once he develops this ability, we will see him take off as he will be able to run an offense and maneuver in a crowded fast break situation.

  • HoosierDom

    Assuming Troy leaves and OG starts hes still certainly behind Blackmon, Johnson and Bryant as far as offensive options and he’s probably behind Hartman as well. As long as guys come back healthy I think OG’s offense is primarily going to be open looks created by others and broken/scramble plays where his athleticism can really shine.

  • Kyl470

    I get what you are saying, but what makes you think OG will make big improvements and Troy won’t? I mean did anyone think Valentine for MSU would become a triple-double player in his senior year? If Troy matures and plays smarter he could easily be a big time playamker. Also OG had his own issues with turnovers. What if asking him to do more results in him becoming a turnover machine? I’m just trying to get people to check their expectations for OG next year. I think we as a fan base are expecting him to be the best player on the team when he might not be ready to be in the spotlight just yet.

  • Kyl470

    Almost 100% positive RJ and JBJ start. If one of the two comes off the bench it’ll be RJ. Also I see him keeping CH in the starting line up because he is a “glue” guy. So my best guess would be.

    1 – RJ, JN, Green
    2 – JBJ, Curtis Jones
    3 – TW, OG
    4 – CH, JM
    5 – TB, Davis

    I think OG will come off the bench, but I think he will get 20+ minutes a game.

  • SCHoosier

    If OG improves his “handle”..scoring by putting the ball on the floor and FT’s..he’ll be a major contributor to this teams’s success over the next couple of years..and All B-10 his Jr year!

  • Missing Moye

    I think you absolutely nailed it. That’s not what I want to see or what I think is best for the team, but that’s what it will likely be.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    It’s hard to argue that RJ & JBJ don’t both start, but it’s also yet to be seen where either of them are good enough as primary ball handlers to run the point for extended minutes. I do remember hearing on a broadcast that JN has been impressive in practices.

  • Eljay

    Although I read somewhere that he is considered a pretty funny guy offcourt by his teammates, OG does seem to possess Zen-like emotions a la Cody Zeller during games.

    Bryant’s brings fiery emotion while OG is as cool as the other side of the pillow.

    You’ve gotta have both.

  • BL

    I think you would agree, most college players make the biggest jumps in years two and three; so the odds are OG will make a much bigger jump than TW. Also, I believe all players have established a concrete MO by their junior season. They may improve but it won’t be sea-change. For example, consider the player you mentioned, Valentine – his junior year his per game line was: 33 Min; 48% FG (42% from three); 14.5 Pts; 6.3 Rbs; 4.3 A; 2.4 TO. This line illustrates that he was a very good shooter and complete player as a junior. This year, his per game line was: 33 Min; 46% FG (44% from three); 19.2 Pts; 7.5 Rbs; 7.8 A; 2.7 TO; 1.0 Stls. His senior year stats are very similar to his junior year. The difference – MSU lost Travis Trice so Valentine dominated their touches; he played more PG minutes and averaged three more shots per game.

    Similar to knowing Valentine’s game by his junior year, in my view, we now know TW’s MO. He’s a pretty good scorer (13/game) and rebounder (6/game) but he’s also turnover prone (1.35 TO per assist), can stagnate the offense by pounding the ball, and he’s a part-time defender. Could he improve next year? Sure, but I wouldn’t expect sea-change. If I were the coach, I’d put my money on OG all day long. Without any improvement we know he’ll make a run at BIG defensive player of the year, he’ll make better decisions on both ends of the floor, and with more minutes he’ll easily match or exceed TW’s rebounding contribution. The wild card is scoring. OG would essentially have to double his current output to cover TW’s scoring contribution. My gut tells me he would with more shot attempts. OG averaged 3.4 attempts per game; TW averaged 9.1. Hell, alternatively, just spread TW’s 6 additional shot attempts among the other players in the rotation.

    If I had to choose, I honestly believe we’d be a better team with OG on the floor. However, it’s also probably true that we’d be better with both playing. No matter what, I just want to see OG seriously develop his offensive game and the only way that will happen is if at times, the offense runs through him as it does for say TW and TB.

  • BL

    Welcome

  • BL

    It’s easy to fall into that line of thinking because he was effective doing that this year. Consider VO. What if Coach had simply said – hey, your offense isn’t great so just let others be the primary option. You just keep bringing the D and get garbage points when you can. We wouldn’t have the VO that became a lottery pick. I see a ton of offensive potential in OG and I sure hope Coach takes the requisite risk in helping that potential flourish.

  • HoosierDom

    I’m all for giving him a chance in practice and plenty of minutes in games where he undoubtedly will occasionally be in spots to create offense. If he succeeds then great. I just can’t imagine him becoming a better option than Blackmon, Johnson, or Bryant (who of course might not be here). Not really a knock on OG, just those are 3 dangerous offensive players.

  • BL

    Funny, I see more potential in OG than I do JBJ, RJ or TB. Certain I’m in the minority there. Regardless, the good news is we should have plenty of offensive options next year, especially if TB returns.

  • BL

    To become a serious offensive weapon, OG needs to do a ton of the following this offseason:
    1. Shoot free throws;
    2. Practice advanced ball handling drills (Curry pre-game drills);
    3. Work on a rocker step and mid-range J;
    4. Develop a post-up arsenal; and
    5. Play a ton of one-on-one vs really good players (e.g. VO)

  • Indiana_Banners

    I am stunned that you’re arguing those statlines from Valentine are similar. They’re not. His efficiency is basically the same despite increased volume which is difficult to do. He rebounded more. He assisted WAY more, nearly double, while his TO rate barely budged. This is what you’re building your argument on? If Valentine’s stats were so similar from last year to this year why didn’t Valentine walk away with a bunch of POY hardware last year too?

    You’re selling Troy way short and overselling OG. Troy was relied upon to create his own offense from day 1 and he’s good at it. OG’s freshman stats aren’t an apples to oranges comparison for that reason alone. OG has thrived off of steals, broken plays, offensive rebounds, and kickouts. I’m not downplaying the value of that. He can be extremely valuable as a 3 and D guy while his skills develop. But to think he’s going to replace Troy Williams out of nowhere or that he might be better as a sophomore than Troy is as a senior… I don’t see how you justify it in context. How do you see OG creating offense, exactly?

  • PocketHoosier

    “He may never be the featured offensive player in Bloomington”
    …if that happens, it is most likely because the rest of his game will get him into the pros before becoming featured. With 3 more years, I believe Crean would mold O G into a wing player that could dominate. I’m just confident that a professional team will feel that their staff can do the same and would get him to leave eligibility on the table.

  • PocketHoosier

    You could definitely tell that there were times when O G was flourishing offensively that Troy would begin pushing beyond prudent decisions into reckless territory. It may be off base, but I didn’t really find it all that coincidental that “Bad Troy” and “holy crap look what O G just did!!!” seemed to happen in the same games; I think Troy felt a bit threatened….maybe not. (Not a strong opinion, just a ‘feeling’)

    I think “Bad Troy” is the wrong moniker for him. I think he was “Trying-to-Hard-to-be-Magnificent Troy.”

  • cbags05

    I’m on the same page as you with his potential. Need to be careful comparing to VO’s developmental approach though. When VO arrived, we had literally no other athletic players who could create. So we HAD to give him the ball as a freshman and sophomore. For OG we have the ability to use him wisely as he developes.

  • cbags05

    This roster is scary good.

    I have my doubts about JBJ returning to starter status. It will be really interesting to see how he does on the defensive end.

  • BL

    Good points and good questions. Regarding Valentine – his stats are similar in that they are what you’d expect with more touches. There is a reason they put the ball in his hands so much this year. He took care of the ball as a junior and even got better with more touches. Think about the way he scores; jumpers off screens, mid-range pull ups, post ups, and when he does drive, it’s under control. He’s a player you trust with the ball.

    Troy? He’s a human highlight and fun to watch – at times – but he’s also reckless with the ball because his offense generally involves putting his head down and driving recklessly to the rim at all cost. Also, when you put the ball in his hands the offense shuts down because the other players know it’s pound the ball and one-on-one time. A 1.35 TO to assist ratio makes perfect sense when you consider the nature of his offensive game. Look, like most fans, I’ve seen big potential in TW all along. Frankly, I’d love to get a crack at helping him develop a more efficient offensive game but I also know it would be foolish to think our coaching staff hasn’t tried to do just that. Could Troy improve with another year at IU? Sure, marginally. At the same time, he is who he is and he’s no Valentine. IMO, his game doesn’t scream for more touches.

    Regarding OG, I believe he has considerable offensive skills that didn’t come to the fore because he was a freshman and we already had key offensive players (YF, TW, TB) Coach was relying on prior to the time OG began to get serious playing time. If you go back and watch his HS video and disregard all the steals and dunks which by the way easily foretold what we saw this year, you’ll see crossovers and step back J’s, really nice post-up jump hooks, and one really special play I like where he fakes right, goes behind the back left, then crosses back over to his right and lays it in. We actually did see glimpses this year of what could be with the Euro-step move on Valentine on the break, a few head fakes and quick drives from the wing, and a really nice post up move involving a spin dribble and jump hook against Iowa at home. Yes, I firmly believe OG would blossom offensively if he were to get say 10 looks a game where most of them were specifically designed for him to score. Oh, and let’s not discount the three point shooting; it’s a big part of today’s game and he shot 41% this year. Slightly better than the 21% TW shot as a freshmen.

    Finally, IF I HAD TO CHOOSE, yes I believe OG as a sophomore would make our team better than TW as a senior. My opinion is based on the belief that OG’s overall contribution is greater than TW’s. Simply put, we have plenty of scorers (TB, RJ, JBJ, JN, CH, DD, CUJO) but we only have one expected BIG first team defender and that’s OG Anunoby. Moreover, without TW, I believe our offense will run smoother (more movement, cutting, feeding the post) and the aforementioned scorers will be more efficient. When OG flourishes offensively, well, that will be icing on the cake.

    Now, the question is, would we be better with both? I say maybe, and hopefully.

  • BL

    and will his freshman level athleticism return?

  • BL

    Good point regarding VO but I’d debate the meaning of “wisely” in this context. I’d like to see us push OG even if it means suffering through some growing pains. If we do, I believe we’ll have a beast come tournament time. Case in point, Brice Johnson didn’t figure it out until Meeks went down and he became the offensive go to guy. Prior to that time, he was simply a defender and rebounder. Now he’s a legit offensive threat.

  • cbags05

    Fair argument. By “wisely” I guess I mean allowing him to at least display some of the handling and post skills in practice before giving the green light in games or running sets for him. I know some growing pains are to be expected with all players, but I would prefer to avoid the same growing pains we went through with VO and TW, because with them came a ton of losing. So what I want more than anything is to put winning combinations on the court that we know can perform….not that we “believe wil develop”.