Film Session: Penn State

  • 01/19/2017 11:44 am in

While Zach McRoberts didn’t score a point in Indiana’s dramatic win over the Nittany Lions on Wednesday night, his presence was felt.

McRoberts made a number of smart, hustle plays on both ends of the court to ensure extra points for the Hoosiers or ward off points for Penn State. In a close game the Hoosiers won at the buzzer, these plays proved enormous.

We’ll take a look at four in the latest edition of Film Session:

McRoberts guards the inbounds pass from Josh Reaves to Tony Carr:

Carr gathers and Robert Johnson is on his back side, giving him space to the bucket. McRoberts has turned to face the action:

He times Carr’s shot perfectly and swats it:

Johnson comes up with the ball off the block:

He dribbles down the left side of the court and finds a streaking De’Ron Davis:

Davis is fouled at the rim and hits one of two at the line:


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  • Thanks for giving McRoberts some love. Kid was great last night, easily one of the reasons we pulled out the win.

  • iubase

    The chemistry and intensity IU needs to be succesful is exemplified by McRoberts. Love his play. Also like that RJ is becoming a more vocal leader. This was a key game and plays like these make the difference between winning and losing.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Excellent examples of a guy just sticking with the play and making good things happen. Half the battle is being there. Love that rec-league quality 3 pointer by JBJ in the second clip!

  • Ok, the 3rd one is the real winner here. After running the entire
    floor, he clearly made a decision to cross over to the opposite side
    where there was an opposing player ahead of him. That was either an exceptionally
    wise (and effortful) defensive play on his part, or else he just got
    lucky and was in the right place at the right time. You decide.

  • inLinE6

    I liked McRoberts’ hustle play and spirit. He never relinquish. But he can’t always pass up open looks and has to hit shots when he does get open. I know I’m asking a lot from a walk-on but he seemed to be quality player.

  • PDXHoosier

    McR definitely has a nose for the ball. He’s the annoying guy who is always hanging around trying to poke the ball away when you pull down a rebound.

  • RJ made some great plays all game, including on the defensive end. I expected he’d get some love in the highlight reels here, but am just as happy to see McRoberts in the spotlight. He was a key contributor, doing all the “little things” without which IU loses.

  • PDXHoosier

    He’s a smart player. he seems to put himself in those positions all the time with his anticipation. I don’t think it’s luck

  • Frankly, I hated playing against guys like that. Unless they’re on your team, of course.

  • iugradmark

    McRoberts is one of the few kids that feels he has a “role” on the team. Maybe he takes it too far, but he focuses on defense, rebounding, and passing to the open man. The rest of the team seems to feel that their role is to do everything from bring the ball up to shoot threes. I understand this is the system we run, but it has a tendency to have our kids do things that they aren’t good at doing.

  • onehoosier

    Do walk-on’s get unusual amounts of playtime at Indiana vs other similar programs? I can think of several over the past 4-5 season that have made meaningful contributions, but I don’t know if other teams are doing the same thing.

  • iugradmark

    For top tier programs, it is a bit unusual, especially for a coach that has been in place long enough to recruit his kids. Usually walk-ons are practice players at the better programs.

  • IUBizmark

    Questioning McRoberts’ play as lucky? Seems like hypocrisy.
    Your words: “so is criticizing a baseball player’s stance right after he hits a home run.”

  • Fifer39

    Isn’t that the great debate between positionlessness v role players? Whatever your preference, I think you’ve got to understand the latter before you can implement the former. It always seemed a big ask for such a young and inexperienced group to play positionless this year.

  • Fifer39

    Ha, ha. I was just reading the article thinking, MC is gonna love this!

  • Oh man, am I that transparent? 🙂

  • He’s been shooting more lately. Against Rutgers, he hit a couple of nice wide open midrange shots. He missed his shots last night, but he took them, which greatly increases his value.

  • Agree with the others–McRoberts is a really smart player. No luck involved. His anticipation on the inbounds play where he blocked the shot was also notable in this regard.

  • I think McRoberts is an unusual case as well. Didn’t he play at a Division 1 program and then sit out a year? He’s a really good player, I think, that we just got lucky to have as a walk-on.

    Edit: Not just “lucky,” but a great find by the coaching staff. That came out wrong.

  • Fifer39

    Nothing wrong with standing up for your guy – and getting some validation!

  • Truth!

  • Courtney Shively

    This kid is fun to watch. If he starts hitting his shots from the outside IU will have a heck of a player for 4 years

  • INUnivHoosier2

    I think he’s only got two years of eligibility after this season.

  • BigRed74

    If McRoberts could knock down 2 threes a game or get some put backs as well as keep up with his defense and hustle, he could be a reason we get back on track. Not the only reason but one of them the others the emergence of freshman and TB being as good if not better as he was last night. I love McRoberts kid deserves everything he gets.

  • IULore

    Huh, I always felt the opposite. I always hear about walk ons at other programs.

  • It was pretty obviously a slanted rhetorical question with an implied “correct” answer.

  • onehoosier

    Still not bad. Hope he is shooting ~100 corner 3’s every day this summer.

  • pbhuff

    I don’t know, I think a lot of walk-ons at bigger programs could probably get a scholarship at a small D1 program. I think for the most part they would rather go to a large state school and pay their own way (like a normal student) than get a scholarship to a school not much bigger than their high school in the middle of no where.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Thanks, Ryan. I thought McRoberts played very well last night, but he’s been catching some flack for his performance last night from some posters. The young man is never going to fill a stat sheet, but his hustle and heady play was invaluable last night. Without his quality minutes last evening, we lose.

  • RDD#76

    Couldn’t agree more also want to add CTC gets criticized for going to deep with his bench we needed McR and Freddie last night you never know when you have to go deeper on bench

  • David Macer

    You are correct. I think he played one year at Vermont.


    If a person took the time to watch and check into the teams that are having success they would find that they all have one player that does all the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, but are necessary to have an overall successful team. Brian Sloan, Steve Eyl, etc etc.