Davis emerging as significant factor in IU’s rotation

  • 12/08/2016 11:06 am in

Indiana’s 2012-2013 team featuring Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo is regarded as Tom Crean’s best in his first eight seasons in Bloomington.

That group won the Big Ten outright, earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and won 29 games before falling to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen.

This season’s team may not have two lottery picks or the experienced veteran leadership that Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston provided, but it does have the potential to build something that team didn’t possess: a quality bench.

By the end of the 2012-2013 season, Indiana was largely playing a 8-man rotation with Will Sheehey, Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell off the bench. Of those three, only Sheehey was the player who produced with any consistency.

Through eight games, this Indiana team appears to have more upside on the bench. Juwan Morgan, who had been coming off the bench before the injury to OG Anunoby, can play multiple positions effectively. Freshman Curtis Jones went for 15 points in IU’s season opening win over Kansas in Hawaii. Most recently, another freshman is charging hard into the rotation: De’Ron Davis.

The Colorado Mr. Basketball got a late start to his collegiate career after missing the summer in Bloomington, but has rounded into form over IU’s last three games.

In wins over North Carolina, SIU Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State, Davis is averaging 11 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 15.3 minutes per game.

More importantly than the raw numbers, Davis owns the seventh best player efficiency rating among Big Ten players according to John Hollinger’s player efficiency ratings. And his offensive rating of 128.2 is the second best of IU’s rotation players (behind Juwan Morgan) according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats.

At 6-foot-10, Davis isn’t an explosive athlete, but he understands positioning, footwork and is an excellent passer for a big man. He’s also done a solid job of blocking shots without fouling, a sign that he understands timing is arguably the most important factor in blocking and changing shots.

His versatility, along with the comfort level Indiana has with Thomas Bryant on the perimeter, has led to lineups including both Davis and Bryant together. In previous seasons, it’s been rare for the Hoosiers to utilize two big men in the same lineup.

“The next big thing, along with De’Ron being able to play those (longer) stretches is to be able to play with Thomas inside of those stretches even better than what they have as we move up the ladder here,” Tom Crean said on Sunday. “We’re proud of the week that he had.”

Once Anunoby returns from injury, Indiana will be able to mix up lineups to best suit certain matchups. The Hoosiers started three guards against both Kansas and UNC, but have also started Anunoby, Morgan and Bryant together in two games.

The continued development of Davis should give Crean even more flexibility moving forward. That flexibility didn’t necessarily exist back in 2012-13, when Indiana utilized a smaller rotation and the same starting lineup in 35 of 36 games.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m not married to a lineup,” Crean explained. “With that being said, we’ll see how it goes. I’m happy with his attitude and improvement. I know how much he wants it. He’s smart. And he’s just getting used to playing when he didn’t have the summer to prepare for it.”

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  • TomJameson

    That’s a good point about how the team adjusted when JBJ was injured last year, but it really is a point as to the quality of depth of that team. The counterpoint with Jordan is how much his injury effected his shooting during the Syracuse game.

  • TomJameson

    NV was horrible passing out of the post. Defend him with a double team was the best thing to do with him.

  • TomJameson

    I will count on Tucker being in candy stripes, and any/every recruit, when they sign their LOI. Recruiting the last few years has taught me to keep the excitement, but keep expectations in control. 🙂

  • TomJameson

    DG is going to be a stud. Next year he’ll could very easily be one of the 3 starting guards. At the least, he’ll be in the first 6 rotation players. At the start of next season he’ll have had 2 summers of IU conditioning, and 1 season of playing experience (hope he continues to get minutes for that experience).

    I agree with Olemans assessment of DG as well, but once DG learns to “harness” his energy, and starts playing a little smarter, he’s is going to be a stud.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … Mark, if you spent the time money and energy into recruiting as this entire staff does, you’d probably be a heck of a recruiter yourself. Although I really do think CTC has that eye for special talent. His picks mostly require had work on their own parts to develop that talent, but he can sure find them.

    And yes, before anybody else says it, he does swing and miss some as well. But connecting with a Vic, is worth whiffing on a Hanner.

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I don’t see us relying on hidden gems. We, the out-of-the-recruiting-loop fans, see them as hidden gems, but CTC and staff see them as they are. Won’t say a sure thing, but they see the true potential.

    That’s like me seeing a junked out car sitting in a pasture, but somebody else sees something that will be priceless with a little work. Hidden gem, yes, but you have to have the eyes that sees those gems.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … Don’t take this wrong Millzy, I respect your opinion. But if we go to the final 4 and get beat by a team we “should have” beaten, I don’t believe you’ll be drinking the Kool-Aid. 🙂

  • millzy32

    You’re wrong on this one Tom. I’m so hungry for relevance I will take a Final Four loss even like Oklahoma had last year. That’s how bad I want to get to the Final Four.

  • bphoosier

    Sure, and that was just a small example of the factors. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad loss that made me want to pound my head against the bar repeatedly as I was watching.

    In general (not anything you’ve said) I just don’t like people acting like this is a terrible, insurmountable loss. The reality of the situation is that it was a loss outside of the top 100 which always stings, but it wasn’t some sub 250 team that shouldn’t be within 20 points with us after halftime. The team we played was at home, played out of their minds, and forced us to play poorly.

    I think when we get to the end of the season we will look back on that loss as a turning point not unlike the blowout loss to duke last year, a wake up call that set us on the track of improvement.

  • Well, TB and JBJ were both highly ranked. Then we have some top 50 players, then some top 100, etc. I’d say it’s a pretty good mix.

  • Brad Norrington

    Sullinger nor Randle won championships in college. Only Hansbrough. Your points are spot on though, except for the part where Cody would eat them alive. I think Bryant would stand a chance.

  • vicbert caladipo

    That loss bothered me only because I thought FW was good. They had played a brutal schedule even before us. I was disappointed in how they played ND. It was like…..you gave us your best now why couldn’t you give ND your best? It’s ALMOST like losing to PS one week and the next week PU blows out PS. I was hoping FW could crack the top 100 so the loss wasn’t as bad. Anyway hopefully we learned a lesson. We’ll see when we play in the conference cuz I’m assuming we will blow out everyone before except tough ones against Butler and Louisville.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Wasn’t arguing against Wilt. I’ve seen many clips on him…even read his book. I was merely asking how IU great Walt Bellamy compared to Wilt. I know WC was one of the all time best.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Whatever became of HMP? Is he still being a crazy kid or did he learn his lessons and start to apply himself? Is he still playing basketball?

  • TomJameson

    HMP is at East Tennessee State with the following averages.
    19.6 minutes
    60.4 field goal %
    5.6 RPG
    1.5 Blocks
    1.4 TOs
    9.3 PPG
    5.6 RPG
    0.4 APG

  • TomJameson

    I’m glad to hear that. You’d better watch your six Millzy, somebody might start calling you an optimist! 🙂 JK man, don’t ever change your perspective.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Thanks Tom. Looks like similar stats to when he was here. Just hope he’s staying out of trouble.

  • Thomas Paul Henry


  • Zach

    Was a combination of Noah’s inability to pass out of the post, and the players on the perimeter inability to hit the broad side of a barn from deep that year

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Sorry VC, I wasn’t suggesting you were arguing against Wilt. I was just pointing out that comparing any center to Wilt just isn’t fair. It’s like comparing shooting guards to Michael, just not fair. (On a side note, have you ever noticed that the greatest never need their whole name said? Larry, Tim, Wilt, Michael, Oscar; everybody knows who I’m talking about!)
    To get back to Walt; I would rank him as about the tenth best center to ever play the game, and the best to ever play for IU.
    And, yes, he could run the court. Hurrying Hoosiers was a well earned nickname back in the day.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Got a point there. Bryant is really running the court well this year.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Did McGinnis play on that team with Walt?

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    I like how everyone is comparing the 12-13 Hoosiers to this years team! It seems that almost all of us think it’s a really close call between the 2 teams through the first six, but this years team bench gives them a slight nod.
    But there is one thing everyone is forgetting.
    Tom Crean.
    This years CTC would coach circles around that team’s CTC. Coaches grow and mature just like players do, and CTC has definitely grown and matured. His pre game strategy has improved tremendously, his in game bench coaching, even more so.
    CTC of 4 years ago would not have come up with the beautiful double teams we put on the bigs of NC. CTC of 4 years would not have had the patience or trust to give major minutes to freshmen against Kansas on a national stage in the first game of the season.
    I might get ripped for this, but I’m going to say it.
    CTC is one of the ten best coaches in college basketball, and is right there with Izzo as the best in the B10.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    No. McGinnis played in the early 70’s right before RMK got here. Left for the pros early. Downing was still here though, and if I remember right, he was a monster rebounder.

  • BL4IU

    JBJ’s just another in a long list of freshman that saw their shooting percentage suffer in their first BIG season. Also, keep in mind, we had no real threat in the post that year. Like Jordy when Zeller arrived, JBJ will get a lot more open looks this year. Kid just shot 50% from three in our two biggest games of the season. Pretty confident he’ll do just fine in the BIG season.

  • BL4IU

    You bet he could. As I suggested to Vic, please watch the video.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Yogi makes it on a team that pressures. Think something like Yogi, VO, Westbrook, Zeller, Adams. Damn, that’s a scary team.

  • Zora Clevenger

    De’ron has really impressed me with his basketball IQ and maturity. Playing HS ball in Colorado, coming in late, and being so young, I didn’t see those things coming

  • vicbert caladipo

    I tend to agree but I would like to see some BK in him. Impossible to create a hybrid coach but I would say definite top 10 with a few BK attributes mainly making the players scared to lose…of course without the bullying. Good stuff old time

  • John D Murphy

    The bigs seem to be better passers to each other than the guards. I’m loving when TB/DD are in together.

  • Ole Man

    Think we’re not the only ones noticing that.

  • John D Murphy

    Well said. Jordy’s fire burned from day 1 but I’ve been really pleased with JBJ this year. He looks determined to be a complete player.

  • SCHoosier

    IMO ND is the best three point shooting team in Indiana…especially off half court sets.


    Lol I didn’t realize that I said JBJ was NOT a good rebounder. Thank you, sir. Before you go and put words in my mouth again, let me clarify that my only knock on JBJ is CONSISTENCY. He plays hard HALF THE TIME. Again, I go by what I see from him. Maybe he’s scared to get hurt again if he goes too hard. I’m sure that I’d be cautious too if I had been hurt as much as he has… he’s trying to go get paid in the LEAGUE. I’m just telling it as I see it. You tell me, is JBJ really that bad on defense? Or is he trying to stay healthy for the NBA? I’M NOT SAYING ANYTHING IS WRONG WITH IT… but it’s clear as day to see that JBJ doesn’t always give it 100%! THANKS!

  • Just responding to where you said “he’s attacking the glass for rebounds more.” I was referring to the fact that he was a good rebounder as a freshman, so there’s really no “more” to it. But whatever.

  • TomJameson

    With you there, he just seems like a good kid that was out of his element for a while. Bet it’s a little overwhelming to start playing for IU.

  • Fivelefts

    Thank you Sir 🙂