Film Session: Kansas

  • 11/14/2016 9:44 am in

In Indiana’s win over Kansas on Friday night in Honolulu, Thomas Bryant led the way offensively in the first half with 16 points. Bryant’s offensive game last year was mostly a steady diet of highly efficient shots in the paint.

But in a Tom Crean program increasingly chanting a positionless mantra, one where all players regardless of size are expected to be able to dribble, pass or shoot, Bryant’s offensive game has evolved.

We’ll take a look at how with four plays from the first half in the latest edition of Film Session:

James Blackmon Jr. inbounds the ball to Bryant:


Bryant passes to Robert Johnson and the Hoosiers line up at the free throw line and break out:


Juwan Morgan cuts to the right wing and gets the pass from Johnson. OG Anunoby has a size advantage over Lagerald Vick and he begins to work for position on him in the post:


Morgan doesn’t enter the pass and instead swings the ball to the top of the key, where Bryant is now also focused on entering the ball to Anunoby:


With the Hoosiers spread around the perimeter, the ball now moves to the left side of the court with Anunoby again working for position:


Anunoby is open and Johnson looks to be able to enter the ball:


But he opts to drive it and he passes to Juwan Morgan in the right corner. Bryant and Blackmon Jr. have remained spaced on the perimeter:


Landen Lucas moved off of Bryant on Johnson’s drive and he remains in the paint to ward off a Morgan drive. Bryant is a few feet beyond the line, ready to catch and shoot a 3-pointer:


Morgan makes the pass and he rises, fires and hits:


As a player looking to feed the post and then remaining spaced and ready as a 3-point shooter on the perimeter, Bryant looked very much the part of a traditional guard here in this offensive set.


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  • BL4IU

    First play is a perfect example of how this team needs to improve feeding the post. JM needs to anticipate and throw the pass into OG before Vick gains a better defensive position.

  • weitrhino

    I like how the maneuvering put 5 defenders in the paint and left 3 shooters on the perimeter. On all but an off shooting night this should favor the Hoosiers.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Excellent, these ‘film sessions’ are my favorite articles on ‘Inside the Hall!’

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    TB having this facet in his game is gonna be huge. unless they’re just having a horrible shooting night, it’s gonna be tough to shut these guys down. teams gotta slow down the game, limit possessions. so as impressed as i was with friday’s game, i wanna see em put up 70+ against wiscy! that may be even more impressive.

    and now for something completely different…not sure if ITH is planning an article on the KW decision (though i did notice the recruiting board was promptly updated), so i guess i’ll bring it up here. to me, this one stings quite a bit(especially now the photo of him on the sideline wearing the ucla colors. it kinda feels like a slap in the face). not only because they spent a lot of time and effort, several years, trying to woo this kid, but also because it means CTC didn’t land a single top 100 kid from his own state. sorry, that just ain’t good. i think CTC has got to figure out the problem and how to fix it. of course, winning games like they did the other night can’t hurt. and there’s still some top guys left on the board.

  • I’ve always felt it has a lot to do with simply getting outside of the state. Leaving home and being being in a completely different environment is attractive for obvious reasons. I wonder how many kids actually realize how different Bloomington is from the rest of the state; that Bloomington is nothing like Kokomo or Richmond or wherever. Making this clear to recruits might help retain some of the in-state kids. I don’t always see this in-state obsession as all that important, as we seem to land good kids all the time. But if we’re serious about getting in-state players and consistently lose them…maybe it’s time to find out why they all seem to want to leave?

  • Kyl470

    I guess I’m on the other side of this. I was born, raised, and still live in Indiana. I attended graduated from Indiana University, but I could really care less if we have any kids on the roster from Indiana. I actually think it’s hard to get kids from Indiana to stay in Indiana, because it’s not cool to stay close to home.

    Programs like UK, Duke, Kansas don’t worry about getting in state kids they just want the best players. As long as CTC is recruiting good players that fit his system and have a good work ethic that is all that really matters. Of our last two recruiting classes Gelon is the only kid from Indiana and he is probably the worst of the bunch. Bryant, OG, Morgan, Cujo, Davis, Green are all solid players.

  • Kyl470

    Agreed. Are people in Missouri asking why OG and Morgan left? Are people at Syracuse and St. John’s asking why Bryant left? Sometimes kids want to take this opportunity to go to a different geographic location. For a New York kid it might actually be “more cool” to go to a place like Indiana than to stay home in New York.

  • RDD#76

    GG the worst of the bunch is a little harsh how about least heralded. I feel he is a taller more athletic NZ and could play that role his Jr/Sr year. Remember how everyone was talking about Colin in his freshman year.

  • I also wonder if being involved with all of the various programs like AAU haven’t widened kids’ perspectives. They’re not just coming straight out of high school into college, they’re getting involved with kids from across the country on a much more consistent basis. At least, if I’m understanding how those programs run, and admittedly I know know much about them.

    Regardless, I think CTC does a good job of getting kids that buy into the program and are great IU players regardless of what state they’re from. I don’t think anyone could be more of a Hoosier than Thomas Bryant, for example.

  • And since we can put 5 players on the floor at once who can shoot from outside, I’d hate to be the opposing coach that has to prepare for this IU team. And really, what are the chances that every outside shooter is going to have an off night? JN, JBJ, RJ, CuJo, DG, OG, JM, TB — all of them can shoot from outside, and I might be missing someone. It’s one thing when you have a couple of outside shooters and you rely on them to make shots, it’s another entirely thing when just about everyone in the rotation can shoot.

  • Agreed, and things got better later. I mean, heck, our first 12 points were from outside, and by TB and OG, IIRC. By the end of the first half and going into the second, the ball was going inside more effectively. We hit a bunch of threes, but not because we weren’t taking it inside some as well.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Legit question. First things first; I’ve been on the record since at least last spring (February?) saying Wilkes should be a major priority, the one person I wanted. So I hated that he chose UCLA.

    That being said, 2 things:

    1) I’d be more upset if there was *any* indication that IU had slacked on this. Instead, EVERY reaction, every assessment, every analysis I’ve read is that Indiana was in the earliest, the most consistent, and that CTC did everything right. At the end of the day, recruiting is a two-party thing: it still comes down to a kid choosing, and as someone who has spent lots of time working with college freshmen, 18-year-old decision-making is unpredictable.

    2) Clearly, factors beyond the court enter into these decisions. There is no way to survey college bball in the last 5 years and explain, in terms of *basketball*, why Alford should be able to recruit a top-5 class. Not remotely accusing of wrong-doing, just saying there are other factors (place, media markets, etc.) that factor here.

  • onehoosier

    I don’t think Crean sells the “one year to the NBA” message that other coaches push. I think he is looking for 2-4 year players, who are looking to leave with a diploma or close enough to finish through a few extra classes. Best of luck to Wilkes, but I think we will be able to continue to pull in high level players.

  • gman

    TC recruited the kid for over 4 years. Never let him think he wasn’t a priority and KW choose to go somewhere else. I’m not sure what else Coach could do. I got to believe there’s something else that is going on in the state with these kids handlers, IMO…

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yeah you’re right. CTC has done well picking up guys from other parts of the country. but having a treasure trove of talented players in your own state should be a huge advantage! you mention the three exceptions to the rule. powerhouse schools that can consistently recruit the cream of the crop nationally. CTC simply can’t contend with that. nobody else can.

    consider this…arkansas has two recruits in the top 60, take a guess where they’re from. washington has three, guess where they’re from. these are not basketball powers, so this is obviously not a coincidence. as far as other blue bloods, i saw that ucla has two.

    i agree with you that talent is talent. but i think his recruiting success is far more sustainable if he can lock down his own state. face it, TB was headed to exCUSE until all that mess went down. he had to go after obscure guys like JA and TP just to fill the roster. and consider this admittedly very hypothetical (bordering on worthless) question…what would have happened if we’d landed GH? think we might have beaten exCUSE ? forget that, wouldn’t we have likely been the #1 in the midwest bracket instead and played closer to home? out of the question to believe we would have gotten to the final 4? won it all?

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    MW went to kentucky. JJ, GH, ZI went to michigan. PS went to ohio. it’s not like they’re all going to ucla, florida, hawaii, etc…KW is the exception

    i just don’t think geography is all that relevant in their decisions

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i think there’s a lot of truth to what you’re saying. CTC has established the reputation of developing raw talent. and i think that’s great. i love seeing these kids excel beyond those on the top 100 list. but you have to wonder if at the same time it acts as a deterrent to the more polished players. i don’t have a terribly strong opinion on this one way or the other, but i do believe we’ve got to have more of that type of talent, along with the 4 year guys, to hang banner #6

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    funny you should mention that, i just heard a local radio show host (and former iu player) say the same thing. he thinks agents might be getting involved, shoe companies, etc… for the record, i don’t think he was talking specifically about KW

  • Kyl470

    I don’t think it’s harsh. I’m not saying the kid is bad. I’m just saying he is not as good as Cujo, Davis, or Green.

  • Kyl470

    Gary Harris was the same year as “The Movement” were we got 5 kids all from Indiana that was suppose to change the program. Sadly, Yogi turned out to be the only player in that class that had a solid impact on the program. 5 kids. Hollowell, Perea, Jurkin, and Patterson all from Indiana.

    Had Yogi not been such a great player that class might have been CTC’s worst at Indiana.

    I have criticized CTC for many things over the years, but starting with the Watford/Hulls class it’s pretty hard to criticize CTC’s recruiting.

  • I may be an outlier to some extent here, but I’d rather see us getting those sorts of players. I don’t really want the one-and-done kids who have one foot in the NBA. And I feel that way even if it means fewer banners.

  • Yeah, but “worst of the bunch” is verbiage that’s negatively loaded. Bound to get that kind of reaction, I think.

  • Kyl470

    True. I guess I don’t get this whole illusion that Indiana has landed a majority of the great players from Indiana in the past. Scott Skiles, Sean May, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Josh McRoberts, Tyler Zeller, etc., etc, etc. This all happened before CTC ever set foot in Bloomington.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i see what you’re saying. in fact, JH and HMP may be my two least favorite players of all time (HMP is #1 by far). still, GH was clearly the top player from indiana that year, and CTC sure was ‘thinking about him. a lot’. but in spite of such great texts, he still couldn’t seal the deal. 😉

    as far as criticizing his recruiting, the fact is we haven’t gotten past the sweet 16. and one could argue we were one great recruit away both of those years.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    don’t forget robinson, probably the best of em all. well i guess he did at least stay in state. but don’t you have to strike GO and MC from the list? wasn’t CTC already here?

  • Kyl470

    No that was Mike Davis era.

  • Kyl470

    In the past I would have argued his actually coaching ability hurt more than the talent on his roster. Last year I think was the first time I can honestly say the team looked significantly better at the end of the year compared to the beginning.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    totally agree CTC’s improved a ton. but as good as Cal and K and Roy and Self are, they still have the most talented rosters pretty much on a yearly basis. point being, you gotta have bof

  • Fifer39

    This could be wrong, but I saw a stat the other day that suggested only about 2 of the last 10 national champs included a one and done – ’12 UK and ’15 Duke.

    I’m with you, I’d rather root for guys that want to play for Indiana. I felt just as passionate and proud watching some of the teams from TCs early years as I did watching us beat Kansas. Not saying I want to go back there you understand!

  • CTC made huge strides last season. And this season’s start confirms it, I think. Getting these kids ready for that game after everything is an accomplishment on its own.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Agreed. A shorter way of saying what I wrote earlier: in the past (Davis, Sampson), I was frustrated when we missed on in-staters because I thought it stemmed from A) not targeting them or B) not having an attractive program to draw them.

    If Crean builds the attractive program (check) and spends the time and effort (check) and a great player chooses elsewhere; that’s on the kid and I can live with it.