That’s A Wrap: Josh Newkirk

  • 04/04/2018 10:23 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2017-2018 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Josh Newkirk.

Newkirk (31 games): 7.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 80.7 FT%, 30.5 3PFG% in 23.3 minutes per game.

When Josh Newkirk arrived in Bloomington in August of 2015 as a transfer from Pittsburgh, he was immediately thrust into a difficult position.

Not only was Newkirk coming off of microfracture surgery and a disappointing sophomore season for the Panthers, he was lined up to be the successor to one of the most popular and successful players in recent IU history in Yogi Ferrell.

Newkirk committed to Indiana at a time when the Hoosiers were missing on several other point guard targets. This is no knock on Newkirk, but Tom Crean’s inability to bring in a suitable replacement for Ferrell was a major reason he was dismissed after nine seasons.

Newkirk sat out the 2015-16 season as a transfer and then played two seasons for the Hoosiers with mixed success. His minutes fell as a senior along with his efficiency.

The Raleigh native was probably better suited to play in Crean’s up-tempo offense and struggled to adjust to Archie Miller’s more controlled offensive style. Newkirk’s turnover percentage (23.3) was the highest on the roster this season. He also struggled with his perimeter shot as he made just 29 of his 95 attempts from behind the 3-point line for 30.5 percent.

Despite the struggles, Newkirk had his share of standout moments in his final season in Bloomington.

In a win over Penn State on January 9, he scored 16 points and made 7-of-8 free throws to help lead the Hoosiers to a narrow 74-70 win. He followed that up with 12 points in a blowout win over Northwestern on January 14.

Newkirk scored in double figures eight times as a senior and his 86 assists led this season’s team.

Bottom line: Inconsistent guard play was a major problem for Indiana all season and Newkirk’s turnovers and poor perimeter shooting ultimately led to Devonte Green’s minutes increasing over the final month of the season. Effort was never a problem for Newkirk over his two seasons in Bloomington and while he may have struggled to meet the expectations that Crean placed on him when he committed, he was able to come back and stay healthy after a major injury.

Quotable: “Just being around these guys day in and day out. Just remembering the summer grinds that we’ve been through, all the running that we used to do, all the weight lifting. I think that’s just the little things, little things like that, going through adversity with these guys. I think that’s some of the little things that we’ll cherish forever.” – Newkirk on February 22 when asked what he’ll remember most about his time at IU.

PreviouslyJustin SmithAl Durham Jr.Clifton MooreDevonte GreenDe’Ron DavisZach McRobertsJuwan MorganFreddie McSwain, Tim Priller

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  • Tommy Morrsion

    While often taking the brunt of fan’s criticism (some justifiable) one could never fault Josh’s effort. It’s hard to know what these guys actually go through considering his micro-fracture surgery. He always represented IUBB well. Wish him the best!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    we all certainly expected to get more production from his senior season, but seems for every positive play we got four head-scratchers. regardless, he’s a darn tough kid who left it all on the floor every game. much respect to JN for that.

  • N71

    We do get “young” with Josh and the others leaving. I saw something elsewhere that read “Archie Miller has a solid plan together for this off-season. Evansville’s Ryan Taylor, FSU’s C.J Walker, Old Dominion’s Trey Porter & Romeo Langford are his main targets as of now. If IU misses on Romeo, Taylor is solid replacement, but not Romeo.” I’m nearly overdosed on the Romeo sweepstakes, knew a little about Ryan Taylor, but Trey Porter is completely new to me. He seems like a decent big guy that would be a nice addition considering DeRon’s injury.

  • Arch Puddington

    Life goes on with or without Romeo. I have argued since the day Archie got hired that he will, as a matter of both personality and program history, follow the Jay Wright/Mark Few model more closely than the Duke/Kentucky/UCLA model. Build program from the ground up, base it on talented but multi-year players, begin to attract the occasional elite player with success over time. Granted, getting Romeo would be huge, and might even help with Brooks and Davis for 2019. But there will be no shortcut to building a truly nationally competitive program. We need guards, and I think both Taylor and Walker have two years of eligibility left. Romeo would be best, but either of those guys would make us better.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Speed is a big part of Joshs game. When Crean got canned and Archie took over he slowed the offense down. I think that hindered JN some.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    It took away his best weapon…his quickness. On fast breaks josh was great. That’s the pace he liked to play at. As a player he felt more comfortable in an up tempo game. Maybe slowing it down made him over think things?? Took him out of rhythm?

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Sorry I guess I stated the obvious from the article. I tend to scroll right to the comments anymore…

  • inCMitrust

    We we have two scholarships available at this point and I believe at least one of the players you listed will be on next years team. You could make good arguments for 3 of them being great additions, not sure on the attraction to Walker when we have Phinisee coming in next year. We need help inside and we need a shooter. Get Porter and Romeo or Ryan, and I will be the first to predict a top 3 B1G finish.

  • Archie values ball control much more than did Crean, and so it’s entirely possible that JN simply benefited generally from being coached to avoid turning the ball over. The entire team, in fact, turned the ball over less. In addition, there’s simply the improvement you’d expect from a player in his senior year. All of that said, by the eye test JN often took shots way too early in the shot clock and reverted to the dribble when pressured — and so in a sense, he was at his worst when he fell back on old (Crean-style) habits. He had the incredibly frustrating tendency to drive into traffic and have nowhere to throw the ball, which happened too often in end-of-clock situation when JN (often incorrectly) saw himself as the best option.

    None of that’s meant to slam JN. He played incredibly hard, was clearly a great teammate, and IMO he absolutely did the best job he was capable of doing.

  • IdahoHoosier

    No disagreement on his effort and value as a teammate. Your comment seems to reinforce my original comment. He struggled in Archie’s slowed down offense, and statistics show he also struggled, about the same amount (more turnovers, offset by scoring slightly more efficiently under Crean), in Crean’s up-tempo offense. I think the eye test showed JN was more comfortable playing faster, but statistics may not show he performed any “better” playing fast.

  • Ole Man

    Taylor is a grad transfer and has one year remaining.
    You are correct on Walker.
    I’m not big on the latter because he would have to sit a year, and also would be taking a scholly away from the ’19 recruiting class, which is loaded.

  • dwdkc

    That’s the problem with Walker; when we really need another guard next year, as well as the scholly for ’19. If Archie does offer him, it’s because he feels Walker will be very good and we can play at a very high level with him. He’s on record as being concerned with evening out the class sizes so I trust he’ll make the right call there. If we don’t get Romeo I’m rooting for Taylor.

  • dwdkc

    Well said. We were frustrated we couldn’t get more from him, but that’s not his fault because it wasn’t for lack of trying. He’s a good kid and should be proud of his time as a Hoosier.

  • Except, to stress the point: his TOs last season might have been positively impacted by the better TO performance overall by the entire team and by Archie’s focus on protecting the ball. After all, in many turnovers a guy passing the ball is only half of the problem, and there’s nothing to say that JN wasn’t capable of reducing turnovers when coached to do so.

    That said, in watching JN play, he did seem to struggle when actually playing within Archie’s half court motion offense. He was most effective in transition and in those instances where the opponent’s defense allowed an early drive to the basket. I would guess that if you broke down his turnovers, you’d find many (most?) of them occurring because JN struggled to play Archie’s style. Again, he often _wasn’t playing_ Archie’s offense when he turned it over, but rather had reverted to playing Crean’s style — e.g., dribble drives (often into traffic), weaving, or shooting way-too-early outside shots.

  • HoustonHoosier82

    If nothing else he was the best free throw shooter on the team

  • Hoosiernation1887

    Coming into this past season I actually thought Newkirk was one of the underrated players on our team if not in the B1G. I remember in 16-17 when Rojo was struggling mightily it was often Josh Newkirk who picked up the slack and put together some great games, none more memorable than his efforts in the 3OT win over PSU at home.

    Unfortunately, this season was not quite what most of us were hoping for from Josh. That said, I felt I had a soft spot for Newkirk. I think it came from my disappointment in hearing fans boo him as they did occasionally this year after some of his silly turnovers. Whenever Josh made a positive play, me and my buddy would cheer extra loud in the student section, it can’t be a good feeling to know fans are frustrated with your play and overlooking a lot of the positive you bring to the team. I don’t think there was a better passer on the team last year than Newkirk. Sure that’s not saying a ton, I know but I’ll always appreciate JN’s efforts to fill the shoes of one of the great IU PG’s ever.

  • kurk81

    Josh always seemed to me to be a really solid backup pg. He was gonna push whoever he was going up against and not let the other team take a breather while our starter was on the bench. Unfortunately, he was asked to be our lead pg.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I am confused by statements made in this article.

    “The Raleigh native was probably better suited to play in Crean’s up-tempo offense and struggled to adjust to Archie Miller’s more controlled offensive style. Newkirk’s turnover percentage (23.3) was the highest on the roster this season. He also struggled with his perimeter shot…”

    The article suggests he’d be better suited for up-tempo offense, but then confirms in a slowed down offense he struggled to shoot and maintain control of the ball. If he struggled with a slow tempo I don’t understand how it follows that he would be better suited for a faster style game that would naturally encourage quicker shots, and more turnovers. The statistics between the 2016 and 2017 show very similar numbers as well. In 2016 he averaged 1.5 more ppg and scored more efficiently (though FT% was lower), but also averaged nearly 1 more TO per game than in 2017.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Agreed he liked to play fast, but the stats show he turned the ball over more playing fast. We have a limited sample size on Newkirk at IU; only 1 year under TC and 1 year under Archie. But his turnover total and percentage decreased his 2nd year, as did his FG% and 3pt%. Seems to me a mixed bag. His 2nd year he turned the ball over less (nearly 1 less TO per game), and scored 1.5 less ppg. Roughly a wash in production between the two styles of play.

  • Koko

    Two of those three picks would be just ducky.

  • Fifer39

    That’s a great comment and an incredibly impressive and mature perspective to take from the student section. I was with you in spirit…!!!

  • Fifer39

    Who knows what changes are going to be made to the structure of college basketball, but long live the Wright/Few model because the K/Cal one already looks like a bust.

    I will never tire of hearing Calipari complain about how hard it is to win with freshmen after another all too early tournament exit. There is another way Cal, and IU is about to rebuild to show you how it’s done.

  • John D Murphy

    Troy Williams out with a fractured jaw after just being signed by the Knicks for partially guaranteed deal through next year

  • timamac

    I would never boo an IU player.

  • David Macer

    Gee tell us how you really feel.

  • Banned on the Run

    I always liked Josh. Seems like a fine young man. I wish him the best.

  • inCMitrust

    Looks like Maryland is the front runner for Porter. Apparently his family lives in Annapolis.

  • sarge

    I would be glad if I never had to read a comment from you ever again. Always salty and never informative. You are the antifan.

  • sarge

    Tough break for TW

  • sarge

    I am glad you came here after playing here for Pitt. You loved the atmosphere and the fans and that is what brought you here. I am not the only fan that wants to wish you well going forward. You are a good person JN, thanks for being a Hoosier!

  • Outoftheloop

    Please give me more info on Trey Porter.

  • N71
  • RonMlarkey

    This isnt an email to him, kind of odd that your writing like its some direct message to Josh. Also why are you telling him what brought him here? You have no idea what brought him here, it was probably the fact that he received a scholarship from Indiana as a player that probably wouldnt be able to hold his own at a junior college.

  • RonMlarkey

    I am a fan of players that help the team win not players that turn over the ball every time they touch it and quite literally throw away games that were winnable as JN did countless times.

  • sarge

    Perhaps I know him better than you? As usual, you are critical of others without saying anything worth while. It’s nice to hear from you said no one ever.

  • sarge

    You are a terrible fan. I would love to watch you under pressure. Fact is you couldn’t have ever played better, but you run your mouth like a pro

  • Outoftheloop

    Get Romeo!!!!!! Get Ryan! I like our “new” crop of Bigs: DeRon, Juwan, Justin, Clifton, Race, and Jake. Let these kids play and show us what they have! I am very curious to see Rob P, Devonte and Al lead this team and to see Romeo, Ryan, Damezi and Jerome shoot “lights-out”! That is a terrific 13!!

  • John D Murphy

    There is a way to express yourself in a manner that isn’t mean-spirited or childish. You don’t really often choose that path.

  • RonMlarkey

    I am in my 20’s and play basketball recreationally, you sound like a washed up old man who hasnt exercised since his hip replacement so u have no room to talk to me about actually physically playing the game of basketball.

  • sarge

    Ha! You play basketball recreationally! Nice to hear you think you are so good. You are a joke dude. YMCA all star talking smack about a guy playing D1. Pretty much what I expected from reading your crap comments. I would say you are the one who sounds washed up, but I don’t think you were ever good to begin with. Recreationally!