2016-2017 Player Profile: Freddie McSwain

  • 10/25/2016 8:40 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Freddie McSwain.

A surprise late edition to Indiana’s 2016 class, Freddie McSwain is this season’s X-factor.

The junior college signee from Neosho County Community College (Kansas) has plenty of upside with his springy athleticism, good hands and strong instincts around the rim. Couple these skills with a 6-6 muscular, broad frame, one Tom Crean compared to an NFL tight end’s earlier this month and his potential is easy to see.

But for now, McSwain remains a work in progress. Despite his talents, the Georgia native came to campus this summer as a late-blooming basketball talent who will need time in Crean’s proven player development system to get up to Big Ten speed. And his later than expected arrival to Bloomington coupled with knee surgery earlier this fall has taken away valuable on-court learning and development hours.

“It’s hard to tell,” Crean said about McSwain’s recovery timeline from knee surgery earlier this month at Big Ten media day in Washington, D.C. “But being able to be in the full speed mode, it’s going to be some time in November I think.”

With some uncertainty about McSwain’s return to action and Indiana’s first exhibition game just one week from today, it could be a while before his impact as part of the Hoosiers’ lineup is felt.

Defensively, his physical profile is the cherry on top to perhaps the most intimidating frontcourt of the Crean era, and his coach is bullish on his contributions on that side of the ball.

“He comes in and he makes our defense better,” Crean said. ” … came in here and set the squat record. Freddie is really strong. He’s active and athletic, like he’s going to make our defense better.”

Offensively, that activity and athleticism could make McSwain a threat on the break to finish with authority at the rim, a nice counter balance to the ball handlers and trailing 3-point shooters. In the half court, McSwain probably won’t join the chorus of consistent 3-point shooters the Hoosiers have. Video of him at Neosho County shows a shot that needs improvement.

But he could flourish around the rim. He’s shown promise as a paint scorer on both sides of the basket. And his positioning, instincts and leaping ability make him a good offensive and defensive rebounder. It’s possible he could also fill the Troy Williams role in IU’s halfcourt offense: roaming the baseline and short corners, the defense one rotation away from him using the given space and converting at the basket with athleticism.

Bottom Line: By not participating in Indiana’s televised practice or at Hoosier Hysteria, Indiana fans have yet to give McSwain an eye test in the cream and crimson. Collin Hartman’s injury does create more minutes in the rotation, but McSwain faces competition against a frontcourt with depth featuring an emerging Juwan Morgan and freshman De’Ron Davis, who despite a late arrival as well, is getting in daily reps against NBA talent Thomas Bryant. All that said, McSwain could very well become a player Crean trusts and uses regularly once the thick of the Big Ten season hits and he gains more experience in the program. Time will tell.

Quotable: “What stands out to me about Indiana is the player development. I worked out with them and saw a lot of things that were new to me, that I hadn’t seen before. Coach (Tom) Crean saw a lot of things that I needed to work on in my game and I like that.” — McSwain in April

Previously: Devonte Green, Grant Gelon, Curtis Jones, De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan, OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant, Josh Newkirk

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  • TomJameson

    Taking a little more time to join the team can have a few positive points as well. But Freddie needs to work at learning the system from the sidelines, work on his shot, work, work, work….. 🙂 Pretty sure he is doing just that.

    Freddie could very well be a spark-plug off the bench, an energy guy that sparks a defensive run, a couple of highlight reel dunks, and just a bunch of hustle!

  • N71

    With Collin down I’d love to see Freddie be an Juwan, Emmitt Holt, lunch pail guy who can slow down someone like Nigel Hayes.

  • Hoosierkamp

    great call

  • Lance76

    We need an athletic wing that can rebound and play defence ie Dennis Rodman type. IMHO this is the way he sees the floor early. He doesn’t need to score 30 a game. I like his hustle and his shooting will improve with time. Can’t wait to see him in a game.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    If Bryant plays out on the perimeter more, and it looks like he will due to his improved 3 point shot, it should open some good opportunities down low for our number 3.
    This should play right into McSwain’ strengths!

  • Greg M. Bailey

    What was the point of the Scouting video? What I saw was someone who went 2/5 from the free throw line, could not finish around the rim and turned the ball over about as many times as he made a basket. Not what most scouts want to see. He did not seem overly athletic or overpowering. Especially considering he was playing other JUCO players and not top tier talent.

  • ForeverIU

    Has great court vision and IQ, great nose for the ball, great movement, great timing (which means a great rebounder). Commanding and intimidating presence, because of his quickness and efficient use of real estate. If there’s an opening, he’ll find it. Crean should consult with Izzo on how to mold Freddie into a great player by his senior year.

  • ForeverIU

    It sounds like you were looking for negatives.

  • Fifer39

    If you’ve seen that in the video of him then that’s great and I definitely hope you’re right. I’m not quite with Greg above but I am worried that our expectations for him might be a bit unrealistic based on what I’ve seen. Ryan does call him a work in progress and while he certainly seems to have the attributes to develop into a real talent, we’ve only got him for 2 years. Going to be really interesting seeing what he can do though and with TC’s ability to spot a diamond I won’t be surprised if he makes the leap.

  • SilentBob

    I think forever and Greg are both right in their own way. Apart from Gregs bit about him not looking exceptionally athletic. He’s a loose a cannon, but he seems to know the game, and know how to be effective within it. Ugly form aside, I think he put himself in a lot of great positions in this video.

  • Piker

    If Freddie can play D he will see time with CH down unless we play a 3 guard lineup. From this video he reminds me of a freshman Troy in the sense he plays to fast on offense and does not shoot well but does not give up on a play on either side. Some games we may have to play big and that may mean a TB, OG, JM front court with DD and Freddie providing backup. If TC says he makes the defense better then we will need his size.

  • TomJameson

    Throw a Troy in there as well. Freddie’s game won’t be a perimeter one, but he’ll be “roaming” around on offense … similar to how TW used to do. He’ll be a great rebounder (like TW).

    Freddie is supposed to be good defensively also, so you might be on point about slowing down, or stopping, Nigel Hayes. Of course we haven’t seen him play yet, so the scenario still has to play out. Really, for most of the team.

  • Shaggy_C

    I thought McFly had some obscene 3pt percentage during the year-end tourney for his community college? He may not have shown it in this video but I think people may be pleasantly surprised with his perimeter game.

  • TomJameson

    I could be wrong, but I remember that Freddie didn’t shoot real well from the perimeter. Absolutely positive he’s been working on his shot at IU (they all do!), so his percentages should be getting better.

  • John D Murphy

    Given how big he is, I would assume he will play the 4 and not the 3. As a strong physically mature guy he should be able to move people around keep them from posting him in the lane. I don’t know that he will get a lot of minutes early but I would assume he is in the rotation for 10-12 min by the end of the season and is a great insurance policy if someone else goes down.

  • John D Murphy

    I’m really confused by your comments. The video was not a highlight video from a whole season, but a one game focus on Freddy. I saw a guy who took inside, posts inside, midrange shot, and long range shots. He got to the free throw line (which causes harm to the other team). He was active on the boards both underneath and out on the floor off long rebounds. We weren’t the only P5 school recruiting him.