The Inside the Hall Mailbag: March 29

  • 03/29/2018 9:54 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

tj21 on the premium forum writes: When will the four freshmen be on campus? Will they all be there at the same time or stagger in individually?

Typically incoming players report to campus by early to mid-June. This allows them to begin working out on campus and also allows them to begin taking classes. In the case of Robert Phinisee and Damezi Anderson, both will be Indiana All-Stars, which means they are likely to report to campus after those responsibilities end. The final Indiana All-Star event is on Saturday, June 9.

In general, it is safe to assume that all will arrive around the same time while also keeping in mind that they all probably won’t arrive on the same exact date. The one example I can remember in recent memory of a guy reporting later than early to mid-June was De’Ron Davis, who remained in Colorado all summer while he completed academic responsibilities in order to become eligible for his freshman season. – Alex Bozich

Derek Johnson on Facebook writes: What should (Clifton) Moore do this off-season to see more playing time?

As I wrote recently in his “That’s A Wrap” feature, this offseason is critical for Moore. He has many tools that suggest he can become a productive player at the Big Ten level. He’s got great size, his instincts as a shot blocker seem to be solid and he has a soft shooting touch.

There are a few keys to his development that will ultimately determine how big (or little) of a role he will have going forward. First, the game has to start to slow down for him. This is an adjustment that all freshman have to make at the college level, but sometimes it can be more difficult for big men. In Moore’s case, he often looked like he was a step slow when he was on the floor last season. That should change with more reps and another offseason of work on campus.

Second, he has to become much stronger physically to compete in the paint against Big Ten caliber bigs. If you watch his high school highlights, Moore wasn’t a traditional back to the basket big man and he may never be. But he still has to be able to hold his own in the paint and around the rim.

Third, he has to develop some more confidence when he does get an opportunity to get on the floor. That’s easier said than done when you aren’t playing regularly, but Moore often looked unsure of himself when he did get on the floor this season. With a strong offseason, Moore should look much more comfortable and confident as a sophomore. – Alex Bozich

Gregory Spera on the premium forum writes: Watching the NCAA tournament has been kinda depressing this year, as I can’t help but feel, while watching all these other teams perform, that our final KenPom rating as the 74th best team in the country was just about right. How the heck did this happen to Indiana basketball?

I could probably pen an entire mailbag with my thoughts on this question as there are plenty of layers to uncover.

This is not a criticism of Tom Crean as he did many things well during his nine-year tenure in Bloomington, but roster management was not one of those things.

Attracting elite talent is just one piece of the puzzle to building year over year success in college basketball. Indiana got plenty of great players under Crean, but didn’t get enough three to four year foundation players to sustain success when guys left.

If you look at this past season’s IU roster, it was comprised of players from the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes. Here’s a full list of the guys from those signing classes:

2014 class: Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr., Emmitt Holt, Max Hoetzel, Jeremiah April and Tim Priller
2015 class: Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby, Juwan Morgan
2016 class: Curtis Jones, De’Ron Davis, Grant Gelon, Devonte Green
2017 class: Justin Smith, Al Durham Jr., Clifton Moore

From the 2014 class, only Robert Johnson and Tim Priller exhausted their complete eligibility and Priller made no on court impact. Holt was kicked off the team, April never played and left and Hoetzel left after his freshman season. So of those six guys, you can really only point to two of them as having a major impact and one left early to pursue a professional career. (Josh Newkirk and Freddie McSwain were also a part of this year’s senior class, but neither guy was signed by IU out of high school.)

The 2015 class was a major success, but two of those guys left early for the pros and only Morgan remains. In 2016, two players are already gone and Davis spent half of this past season hurt. It’s too early to say for sure how the 2017 group will turn out, but the early returns are promising.

Without elite one-and-done talent every year, you have to recruit solid three and four year players. IU’s 2014 class was a mess in that regard as only three of the six guys were around for more than two seasons.

Next year isn’t going to be much better in terms of having a huge upperclassmen presence with Morgan and Zach McRoberts as the two current projected seniors. Over time, I think this will be a major difference in how Archie Miller builds his roster. While there will be guys leaving early for pro careers, I think there will be far less “reaches” like Hoetzel, Priller and April.

If you look at Crean’s best teams in Bloomington – and there were three teams that I considered “good” teams – all of them had a strong upperclassmen presence. While Miller was left some talent when he took over last March, the reality is that Crean’s roster mismanagement was a bit of a mess to clean up. – Alex Bozich

Sally Jeffries on Facebook writes: When is Romeo visiting IU again?

Romeo Langford and his father, Tim, have both said they plan to visit Indiana again in April. An exact date for the visit has not been set at this point.

Langford is still considering three schools: Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt and plans to make his decision in April. – Alex Bozich

Mark Coppock on the premium forum writes: Do you have any thoughts/predictions about Juwan Morgan’s plans?

No prediction, but I believe Morgan would be smart to test the NBA draft waters, work out for teams, see if he can get a draft combine invite and then make a decision on his plans.

With the rules now in place, it’s a no risk process for players to get NBA feedback as long as no agent is hired. Robert Johnson took advantage of this process last spring and ultimately decided to return to school. Morgan hasn’t shown up on many of the various NBA draft top 100 lists, so it seems unlikely that he would be selected if he opted to enter the draft this year. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • N71

    I was kind of thinking in marketing terms, a metric for a brand is unaided awareness. With regards to college football, Notre Dame is probably #1 with Alabama and USC being close. So, ND’s not winning of late doesn’t hurt their brand awareness too much (guessing).

  • And Archie Miller, right?

  • JimmyChittwood

    wait basketball??? I thought this was the swimming forum.

  • Ivan Renko

    I seem to be going after you today haha.

    I don’t see a reason not to root for Michigan, especially in this year’s tournament and their positive representation of the B1G. Michigan is proof that you can be successful by running a program the “right way” in today’s NCAA/FBI climate.

    Beilein is one of the most respectable coaches, if not the MOST respectable coach in the NCAA right now (IMHO up there with Jay Wright and Tony Bennett). There’s a reason Indiana kids have gone to Michigan in what seems like droves the past 5 or so years – Beilein is an excellent coach and runs a clean program. I hope they win the championship

  • Ivan Renko

    maybe i’m rigid, but blue blood programs will always be blue blood programs because it’s based on overall historic success, not current success. and these won’t ever change IMHO. there are six (with Duke being the most recent and last addition):

    1) UCLA (1 title since the 70s, 11 total)
    2) UK (3 titles since the 70s, 8 total)
    3) UNC (5 titles since the 70s, 6 total)
    4) KU (2 titles since the 70s, 3 total)
    5) IU (2 titles since the 70s, 5 total)
    6) Duke (5 titles since the 70s, 5 total)

    UCLA will always be a blue blood despite their relative lack of success the past 20 years, just as IU will always be a blue blood despite lack of success the past 20 years.

    edit: I added national title numbers to show that many of the blue bloods have actually not been as successful in recent history as opposed to a program like UConn, which has 4 titles the past 20 years.

    edit #2: blue blood means “of noble birth.” nobility doesn’t go away since one is “born” into it. the blue bloods were “born” into college basketball success in the 40s-70s, with Duke earning a final spot due to such sudden and sustained success starting in the 80s and 90s. additionally, being a blue blood is no guarantee of any particular merit, competence, or expertise, thus further solidifying that blue bloods don’t change based on recent events

  • Ivan Renko

    the blue bloods were initially established in the 40s thru the 70s, with Duke being the latest and last addition as I said

  • coachv

    if they do it will be at our expense when another 4 or 5 star picks the blue over iu. or mich st. or ohio st. or xavier. hey, i championed beilein to iu after sampson was fired. or was that after davis. don’t you agree that the better those programs are, the harder it becomes for indiana? and you are seriously going to root for michigan over loyola? how boring

  • Gotcha. I was referring to your “respectable” adjective, going along with running a clean program. Agreed that Archie has a lot to prove (although I, too, am quite confident he’ll do so).

  • And to add another thought to your point: Archie is only 39 years old (38 when he took the IU job). So he’s about 10 years younger than most of the other major program coaches. It’s remarkable to think that he had a decade’s less head coaching experiencing…

  • coachv

    but i got an upvote. ha HA!

  • Ivan Renko

    agreed, I think he’s going to be a long term solution for the program. best case scenario, in 25 years Arch will still be with the program and have 2 or 3 titles under his belt. we can dream haha.

  • Only 2 or 3?!?

  • Ivan Renko

    i was admittedly being conservative. Archie enters the discussion of top 5 coach of all time if he can haul in more! i’m all for it!

  • coachv

    i know. i can’t believe there are folks here rooting for michigan when you can witness history being made. i wonder how many ad’s are kicking themselves for not waiting on their new hires when moser is available. he has perhaps already coached himself into a new job, but who is still looking?

  • coachv

    you conveniently left out winning, the only thing i care about. btw, our first two championship banner, the ncaa was not the premier season ending tournament. the first one i think would be akin to winning the nit today

  • Ivan Renko

    I don’t see a reason to hate on a coach that respects the game and runs his program the right way. I usually default to cheering for the B1G in the NCAA tournament outside of Purdue.

    I will actually be rooting for Loyola, but I don’t expect them to have much chance against a rolling Michigan squad. So I was jumping past the sale on hoping michigan wins it all assuming they make the title game. Then again, Loyola has proved us all wrong 4 times in a row, so we’ll see what happens.

  • Ivan Renko

    as a fan – yes!

    objectively, he has yet to prove he can consistently succeed at the power 5 level (obviously, he’s only been here for 1 season). I have little doubt he will in time, and IU is the perfect place for him to do so.

    there will be a “changing of the guard” in the NCAA’s top coaches with Boeheim & K soon retiring, Izzo & Calipari losing their fastballs, and slick Rick gone to the history books. I hope Archie can help fill the void

  • Mark Bando

    Yep, they are the only football program with a deal that puts them on a major network every week.

  • Mark Bando

    If DePaul was smart they would grab him. They can pay him alot more and his base in the chicago area would be invaluable.

  • coachv

    moser can do better. depaul is a graveyard for your career as a coach

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    You wrote all that and failed to mention that the IU women’s basketball team made the NIT finals?!? AND beat Purdue along their way, no less? Go Hoosiers!

  • Steve wallsmaddee77

    Asst. Coach at Murfreesboro, TN. Yep, and am still pushing for him. We are missing the boat on him. Would love to get Gillis, Davis and another quality guard.

  • coachv

    my hamster also just gave me a second upvote

  • coachv

    the facts ARE the ncaa was a lower level tournament than the nit but you know what they say. you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think

  • Ivan Renko

    well your opinion doesn’t change the facts. and you can tell yourself IU only has 3 banners if that makes you happier.

  • Ivan Renko

    Okay that’s great. Has no bearing on the fact IU has 5 banners. And has no relevancy to whatever conversation we were trying to have

  • coachv

    what about bob?

  • Koko

    It’s not the teams plucking players out of Indiana to be upset with.
    It is the Indiana teams that don’t do enough to keep good Indiana
    players in Indiana.

  • Neil Dixon

    You are right. However it only tells a more complete story. The IU women’s basketball team got more coverage on the B10 than either the IU Men’s soccer team or the IU Men’s swim team. By the way they have been awesome. Hopefully they can begin to crack into the upper echelon of the B10 women’s basketball. They have been working at this forever and finally the sky is getting brighter.

  • coachv

    depaul is a graveyard for coaching careers. he can do better

  • Gregory Spera

    I just had to jump in here. It took me a long time to come to terms with this, too, but Indiana basketball isn’t an elite program anymore. It just isn’t. But we are still trying. That’s why we’ve fired three coaches in just the last eleven years.

  • Koko

    Yes of course….:)

  • coachv


  • coachv

    of late?

  • Ivan Renko

    I agree with you. Being a blue blood isn’t necessarily the same as being elite (UCLA, IU), and being elite doesnt mean you’re a blue blood (Nova, MSU, etc).

    My point is the “blue blood” label gets thrown around like any neo-elite program is all of a sudden a blue blood. When in reality there are six blue bloods that will always and only be blue bloods.

  • Ivan Renko

    No, but i don’t find it difficult to distinguish between how Michigan’s program operates versus how Kentucky’s, Duke’s, UNC’s, or the late Lville’s program operates