Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Hope College

  • 11/02/2016 10:33 am in

In our first exhibition look at the 2016-2017 Indiana Hoosiers in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the outcome was an easy 98-65 win over Division III Hope College on Tuesday night.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win:

· Anunoby’s perimeter shot looks improved: Indiana sophomore OG Anunoby is regarded as the top NBA prospect in the Big Ten entering the season, but has yet to prove how he’ll perform in a more prominent role.

As a freshman, Anunoby came on strong in the second half of the season and played a key role in Indiana’s run to a regular season Big Ten title and win over Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

By all accounts, Anunoby had a terrific summer and on Tuesday, his stroke from behind the 3-point line looks like it will be a major strength. He hit four of his seven attempts from distance against Hope and his release looked quicker than it did a season ago.

“The coaches create the structure but the players create the culture,” Tom Crean said postgame. “And when you’ve got that kind of work ethic, and OG has it and others have it as well, I think he’s going to continue to get better shooting the ball and he’s got to get better in a lot of things but he works very hard at those things.”

· It’s early, but Devonte Green is a player: The brother of San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green, Devonte Green arrived in Bloomington as the nation’s 197th best recruit according to the 247Composite.

It’s only taken two public scrimmages and one exhibition for Green to show that he belongs at Indiana. He’s soft spoken with the media, but Green has shown no fear on the floor.

The Long Island native scored a team-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Hope in just 15 minutes. Perhaps more importantly to his chances of carving out a significant rotation role, Green didn’t commit a single turnover.

James Blackmon Jr. was asked whether it’s rare for a freshman to come out playing like Green did on Tuesday night and offered a strong endorsement of his new teammate.

“It’s pretty rare,” Blackmon Jr. said. “But when you’re ready to be out there and you’re prepared and you put in a lot of time, it’s easy.

“I just remember him coming out and starting from the summer competing. And he’s just aggressive offensively and defensively. So that opens up things for him and everyone else.”

· Newkirk and Johnson (surprisingly) come off the bench: Lineups in exhibition games shouldn’t be scrutinized too heavily, but starting Juwan Morgan at point guard may have been done to send a message to Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk.

In Crean’s postgame comments, he was asked about the leadership of James Blackmon Jr. and gave a general answer on leadership that wasn’t pointed specifically at one player.

“So there’s different forms of leadership. But verbal, demanding, make the game easier for everybody else – that takes time for guys. It’s very unnatural for most people. You’ve got to speed that process up. It’s like player development. You speed the process up for them.

“Now you slow it down if it becomes too much. But a lot of times guys don’t understand the abilities that they have. And it’s your job as a coach and the coaching staff to pull that out of them. So they’ll get there. They’ll get there. We want them to be comfortable. But we also want them to make the game easier for their teammates. And a lot of times it’s not only the nonverbal presence, it’s the verbal presence that’s got to be there. And it makes it easier for them.”

Both Johnson and Newkirk responded with solid nights. Johnson’s plus/minus was +44 and Newkirk, who had seven assists and just one turnover, was +27.

· Despite turnovers, offense is efficient: Indiana’s turnover percentage (23.5) was too high, but wasn’t particularly surprising given the various lineups and number of new guys who played.

Beyond that, there was little to complain about in regards to the offensive performance the Hoosiers produced. Indiana shot an effective field goal percentage of 69, grabbed nearly 47 percent of its missed shot and had a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of close to 52 percent.

“I thought our running game was pretty solid even though our spacing on the break left a little to be desired,” Crean said. “We didn’t get it inside as quick as we could have. We don’t have a big package right now of offensive arsenal things to go to. We just haven’t done it yet. But I thought the ball moved at a pretty good rate.”

· Bryant goes for quiet 15: It may have seemed like Anunoby, Blackmon Jr. and Green were all featured more prominently offensively, but sophomore Thomas Bryant tied for a team-high with 11 shot attempts and finished with 15 points.

Bryant ran the floor hard, finished some difficult plays on the break and even played alongside freshman De’Ron Davis for a brief stint. Beyond the points, Bryant also added nine rebounds and three assists in a team-high 27 minutes.

With some proven offensive weapons around him and others that should continue to develop, look for Bryant to once again finish efficiently at the rim as defenses won’t be able to key on him at all times.

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  • Jonathan Thomas

    5 Takeaways is back! What a day to be alive for IU fans, optimistic about this talented young team. Can anyone else see us going to a 3 guard starting rotation with all the PG/SG we have on our roster?

  • I see this team having very situational lineups, which is one of the great things about possibly going 10-12 deep with strength at all positions. Some people don’t like that–the theory should be that we have an established starting five and consistent rotations, and force the other team to adjust to us–and I get that. Normally I’d agree. But this team just has so many good players that I can see a more flexible lineup.

    Also, what does “3 guard” even mean when a JM can slot in as point guard at times and JBJ posts up? This team is tailor-made for CTC’s “positionless” basketball.

  • Jonathan Thomas

    I’m with you Mark on the rotation with the 10-12 players, but from what I saw for fast teams we could go with JBJ, RJ, HN, TB and OG. Just a thought. Thank for response! Go IU

  • Absolutely. 3 really quick guards to go against similarly quick teams, then a tall and long lineup with JM at the point to go against teams like Syracuse a few years back. So I guess what I really meant to say was, sure 3-guard lineups, 2-guard lineups, 1-guard lineups with JM at point, you name it. it’s just going to be hard to define it when you have 6-7″ guys playing point. 🙂

  • Ole Man

    Found this tidbit: “With Johnson in the game, the Hoosiers outscored the Flying Dutchmen 60-16.
    That’s good for a plus/minus of plus-44.”

  • Donnie Vick

    Are there any clips of JM playing PG last night? I’m just having a hard time buying this without video evidence. How does he go from doing the dirty work last year to starting PG?

  • If I’m not mistaken, I think JM played some point last year as well. Not sure about clips though. Also, I don’t think he’ll be “starting PG,” unless of course we’re going up against a team with a ton of height and length at guard. Then he becomes a nice luxury to have. JN and RJ will be the “official” point guards, but JM will be able to play the position on occasion when it’s warranted.

  • HardRockHoosier

    He played it a little bit at times late last year.. Not sure why you’re having trouble with it…

  • Arch Puddington

    “Bryant goes for a quiet 15″

    Quiet indeed. He has a great all-around game and plays with such great energy that it is sometimes easy to forget that parts of his game are still works in progress. In the two exhibitions so far — and please be clear, I understand it’s early, these were just exhibitions, etc, so spare me the disclaimers — he has not shown the dominant low-post game one might expect of a projected first rounder. In the Haunted Hall scrimmage he was guarded by Priller most of the night, and last night he was playing a DIII team with nobody taller than 6’6”, but in neither case did he truly assert himself on the block in our half court sets. In fact, last night the Hoosiers came out after half time with a very obvious focus on getting Bryant the ball in the paint, and in (I think) three possessions in a row he got the ball with his back to the basket and didn’t score. Hope packed the lane for most of the night and really swarmed anyone who came in, but I was struck by the sense that as good as TB is, he still lacks a really killer low post move. I got in trouble for saying this last year, but I’ll say it again: if TB had Max Beilfeldt’s low-post moves, he would be a lottery pick. Max was obviously not as big or talented as TB overall, but MB had a great array of polished moves — jump hooks, drop steps, up-and-under moves, etc. Even in a “positionless” offense in which bigs can play on the perimeter, both the Hoosiers’ chances of a tourney run and TB’s chances of becoming a high draft pick will be helped if he gets a bit better in this regard.

  • Courtney Graber

    Thank you Alex for all you do to make it so easy to enjoy Indiana basketball. Love the content.

  • John D Murphy

    I don’t disagree with anything you said but…
    TC’s practice is clearly guard skills focus. Nothing in the hour long practice we indicated they do anything with the bigs at this point in the season. I’m sure they will, but the backbone of what TC does is not post oriented. Also, it just wouldn’t prove anything (or really help team development) to have TB physically dominating a 6-6 D3 defender. I might have a different opinion after I watch the game but I’m not really worried about TB. I was pretty fun to watch MB with those smooth moves last year though.

  • I had the same impression of TB. In fact, and I hate to say this because TB is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites, I thought he was the least impressive of all the returning players in terms of what he brought yesterday. I do wonder if CTC hasn’t focused so much on the new players and the players recently returning from injury that’s not focused much on TB. And I’m not sure that doesn’t make some sense–get everyone integrated and a team formed, and then circle back and get TB developing.

    I mean, TB is a great player as is. Agreed that the team and TB himself need him to be a more dominant player, but right now, getting other players up to a certain level is also important. Let’s see how November plays out and then talk about how TB is doing. Hopefully we’ll have more positives to point out.

  • Fifer39

    That last point really scares the heck out of me. If we go back to manic subbing patterns, mid possession defense switching and a general sense of bewilderment, I’m blaming you! 🙂

  • randy

    De’Ron Davis has an arsenal of post moves and plays very well with his back to the basket. Perhaps Bryant will pick up a few tricks from the underclassman.

  • Arch Puddington

    I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed, but I am a bit surprised. He is so big and strong that dominating guys like the center for Hope college in the low post ought to be automatic whether it is a specific focus of what CTC is doing or not. If you get the chance to see the replay, watch the possessions at the start of the second half — he gets the ball deep in the post one-on-one against a guy much smaller than him but ends up taking (and missing) an awkward shot each time. For his sake as much as ours, he’s got to make shots like that an automatic bucket, a foul. or both. Still early though, so we’ll see if there is more than he has shown so far. If so, I won’t be disappointed by that, either!

  • Okay, so, yeah, that’s a valid point. 🙂

    Now, in all seriousness, that’s a concern, but I’m encouraged by CTC’s statement that he’s only put in about a quarter of the offensive plays from last year, so he’s keeping things simple. And I’m pretty certain that he’ll push forward with the same team defensive concepts as last year–that was way too obvious an improvement to go back to the craziness.

  • Agreed, all around. Really looking forward to KU, it’ll be a good bellwether.

  • Arch Puddington

    I agree — DD looks to have some nice moves. Not as smooth as Max’s (yet!), but very promising.

  • Great point. Banging inside against DD in practice should also help TB develop.

  • CreanFaithful

    DD and Freddie showed up on the first day of school. JMo and OG were limited all summer. There really wasn’t anyone to battle with outside padded managers and Priller…

  • SCHoosier

    I’ve seen TB use the up and under and the door step moves. Just needs to get the ball at the right time in the right position. Working thru TB..and the paint must become a main stay of the IU offense. IMO

  • ConcernedCitizen

    What more can be said about Devonte Green? A Diaper Dandy in the making.


    As usual well put, and as usual couldn’t agree more. I think that situation being as it appears to be (so far) could come back to bite us on the you know what, in a game with a team possessing a top notch front court. In a tight game with a quality opponent it’s the little things that the can make the difference between a win and a loss. Can’t help but think back to what I used to tell my players, in that the added benefit of being able to do certain things correctly not only helped them to be a more effective player on the offensive end of the floor, but that if they could learn to do those things correctly, it would also make them a better defender as well. TB played ok post defense by the end of last year. I believe that if he had better post moves himself he would also be a better post defender. Like you said it is only two scrimmages and one exhibition game and we may very well see something totally different when the games start to count, but for us to be able to hang our hat on defense carrying us when in a game where our shots are just not dropping he is going to have to be better, defensively and offensively in the post, than he has shown thus far.

    I know he has the ability to move around on the perimeter and even knock down the 3 once in a while, and I love the fact that he can do that, but I have to think that we would be a lot better team if he is able to show more of a true low post game when it is needed. The type of game where him being more effective in the low post, via some better low post type moves, could end up being the difference between winning and losing at least one or two games and that type of game WILL come about somewhere along the way.


    At one point last year I remember TC throwing out a stat where we were scoring on 70 some percent of our possessions when we played through the post. Don’t remember the exact number for the possessions that went otherwise, but I do remember being pretty shocked at how much lower it was.

  • Arch Puddington

    Great points. TB is really, really good, and he is a major reason we are a legitimate top 15 team. But for us to take that next step, I agree with everything you have said here: he must become that truly dominant post presence on both ends. To go elite 8 or better, he can’t just be a versatile bid who can play on the perimeter from time to time. He has to have the low post package: go-to move with his back to the basket, the ability to get to the line and make free throws, the ability to pass out of double teams, the ability to protect the rim, and of course the ability to dominate the glass. It’s a lot to ask, but for what he wants to be, and for what we want the team to be, those are the things we need out of him. We have guards and versatile forwards who can play on the perimeter; we need TB and DD to OWN the middle. Happily, I think they can.