A closer look at the Evan Fitzner addition

  • 05/17/2018 10:41 am in

Indiana added a 13th scholarship player to its roster earlier this month in Evan Fitzner, a graduate transfer from Saint Mary’s who will be eligible immediately.

The 6-foot-10 Fitzner, a native of San Diego (Calif.), has one year of eligibility remaining.

How will Fitzner impact the program next season? Here’s what Archie Miller said about Fitzner in the program’s press release announcing his addition:

“Evan is an experienced player who will have the ability to help us because he helps our team become older. He is a career 40 percent plus shooter from three-point range and is someone we are going to look for to stretch the floor with his range. He’s a physical presence who brings much needed depth to our frontcourt and his skillset gives us versatility that will be invaluable. The overall experience he gained at the high level he played over the last three years will be a tremendous asset to our program.”

What a player adds from a leadership perspective is difficult to forecast, but Miller is correct in terms of Fitzner making IU an older team. He will be the oldest scholarship player on the next season’s roster and the second oldest contributor behind Zach McRoberts.

Beyond giving the Hoosiers another senior, Fitzner also brings the potential to contribute in several key areas, including perimeter shooting.

In three seasons at Saint Mary’s, Fitzner made 125 3-pointers in 105 career games. More importantly, he connected at a 41.5 percent clip on 3s and his career effective field goal percentage is 58.8.

Looking at his offensive profile in Synergy Sports, there are four areas where Fitzner figures to help the Hoosiers. Most notably, he ranked in the 76th percentile nationally as a spot-up shooter, scoring 1.06 points per possessions in such situations.

As a team, Indiana ranked in just the 25th percentile last season in spot up situations and scored .89 points per possession on spot up possessions. The addition of Romeo Langford should obviously help, but adding a veteran floor spacer like Fitzner could also prove very beneficial.

As you’ll see in the clips below, Fitzner is great at finding space on the perimeter and catching and shooting:

In addition to his efficiency in spot up situations, Fitzner also moves well without the ball. According to Synergy, he ranked in the 73rd percentile nationally in cut situations. Fitzner scored 1.27 points per possession off of cuts.

With more talent around him, Fitzner should be able to continue to excel by simply moving without the ball and getting open for teammates to find him.

While he’s not an elite athlete, Fitzner can also be effective as the roll man in pick-and-roll situations. He ranked in the 54th percentile in such situations last season at Saint Mary’s, according to Synergy.

As Fitzner told us earlier this month, one underrated aspect of his game is his ability to put the ball on the floor, which we’ve shown a few times in the clips below.

Fitzner can either pop out and shoot the three as the roll man or he can put the ball on the floor, get in the lane and score:

Finally, Fitzner was effective (albeit in very limited opportunities) in transition. In 12 transition possessions last season at Saint Mary’s, he scored 15 points.

As you’ll see below, many of these opportunities came from teammates simply finding Fitzner for open looks with the defense on its heels:

With grad transfers effectively acting as a free agent market in college basketball, it makes sense for programs to fill in gaps for a season without tying up scholarships for more than that season.

Indiana has taken three graduate transfers in recent seasons and the results were a mixed bag. Going back to the 2013-14 season, the Hoosiers added Evan Gordon from Arizona State, which didn’t work out particularly well for the program or Gordon. Indiana later had success with Nick Zeisloft (who played two seasons) and Max Bielfeldt, who played one and was named the Big Ten sixth man of the year.

It’s worth noting that the most successful grad transfers are typically the guys who aren’t being asked to do too much in their new situation. Last season, Mark Alstork (Illinois) and Jaaron Simmons (Michigan) both had major expectations going into the season and were both moving up to the Big Ten from the mid-major ranks. Neither met expectations.

With Fitzner, he’s already played frequently against some of the nation’s best programs and he’s unlikely to be asked to take on a featured role at Indiana. For that reason, it’s probably not unrealistic to expect him to make an impact in line with what Zeisloft and Bielfeldt brought during their years in Bloomington.

Filed to:

  • coachv

    for whom the balls troll

  • coachv

    it’s that harvard hillbilly

  • for whom the balls roll

    What do you mean by that coachv?

  • coachv

    true. but as someone pointed out, having a big that can shoot the three to pull a big out of the lane to free up morgan is something to look forward to. hope morgan comes back because i can’t wait to see what he can do when not constantly double teamed

  • coachv

    they are. the racist rednecks forced us to move. one used to strap an ak while walking his property

  • coachv

    but isn’t that guy going nba now?

  • Arch Puddington

    Now you’re just thrashing about. I did not say that I admired his coaching, just that insulting him in response to an unrelated article is pointless. Which of course, it is. And your self-congratulatory claim about your superior insight into “the finer points” of basketball just adds to the sense that this exchange isn’t really about basketball, it’s about your need to elevate yourself by putting others down. Here is a thought for you: if you want to be taken seriously as a basketball mind, spend less time on taunts and bragging, and more on substantial basketball talk.

  • coachv

    just playing with words

  • for whom the balls roll

    ok

  • coachv

    oh, i was bitter and sarcastic way before i got here

  • coachv

    once upon a time someone going by the name brian evans posted here i some detail about x’s, o’s and strategy. i think it was transition offense but my memory is foggy anymore. i was so excited to discuss it with him but alas, never read anything from him again. wonder if that was the real brian evans?

  • for whom the balls roll

    About IU Basketball?

  • coachv

    i am no longer bitter about that because on the third day, our lord archie rose and sacrificed himself for our sins. note: i have yet to find a single thing to criticize about his good word

  • for whom the balls roll

    I should have said iu basketball discussions.

  • for whom the balls roll

    Tom, we can argue with coachv about whether or not Crean was good against the zone. However, I did not see anything insulting toward Crean in coachv’s comment. First, you have to adjust your reaction for coachv’s generally (mildly) sarcastic style (LOL). I’ve gotten used to his style, and for me it was worth the compromise, considering his mostly quality posts. There is nothing wrong with coaches “interning” with one another … best way to learn is by watching closely.

  • for whom the balls roll

    coachv explained very clearly the connection of his post to the contents of this thread. It’s perfectly legit when witnessing a successful attack against the zone in which one of our future players was involved to reflect back on our own program and how it managed the zone. Remember how you argued passionately about our right to critique our coaches of the past, and Crean in particular? Quite frankly I think mostly you are irked by coachv’s somewhat sarcastic irreverent style. I’ve gotten used to his style and don’t allow it to get in the way of his substantive content.

  • coachv

    meh. i can take it. besides, i get to go play tennis and drink ice cold yuenglings in an hour

  • oldiugymnast

    They have a new circus arts place right up the street from USF’s field at the end of the Haight. I gotta check that place out and see what happens when a 50 year old tries trapeze! I might do that Saturday and then head to Brick and Mortar and see a cool band.

  • oldiugymnast

    I have HULU live sports and a lot of the games are on late night – Dude does not miss.

  • oldiugymnast

    Do you mind coming to Monterey and helping me figure out how I went from a 45% 3pt shooter to 30? 🙂

  • oldiugymnast

    I coach a U12 team and it was a huge PITA to get those kids to get the ball into the middle of the zone. That said, once they figured it out, we just tore zones apart.

  • oldiugymnast

    I have asked those questions a number of times – but that was back when I got flamed by Captain Christ (don’t remember his screen name) and Harvard for anything I posted so I gave up.

  • marcusgresham

    There’s no logical reason for Morgan to stay in the draft. He isn’t invited to the combine and is on no one’s two round prognostication. Unless he’s just done with playing in college and feels he has nothing more to prove (like James Blackmon,) then he’s coming back….and he has a lot to prove. Showing an outside shot and maybe some more ballhandling skills are the two biggest things that can put him him in an attractive position to be drafted and I’m sure those will be his focuses all off-season.

  • inCMitrust

    I’ve been exposed to Crean’s coaching for too long. I go to quite a few UofL games, so I remember the Marquette days. If you look at the talent he had at Marquette and his record I still can’t figure out why we hired him. Crean is a tireless worker, apparently a nice guy and brought us back to some respectability, but he is not a topnotch coach. I was pissed when we hired him and glad he did a decent job, but he simply is not an elite and I think IU deserves one. I’ve always thought he is mid major level coach and I’m happy that he got probably got the perfect job(football school, power conference). As you state inCMitrust.

  • marcusgresham

    Yes he’s a different type of player but he does provide size and at the point in the season when IU signed Fitzner you are fortunate if you can find someone who fits your needs in any way, shape or form.
    I also don’t know that we’ll see Archie sign any players in the future who are the same type of player as De’Ron. Nothing against the kid at all, but I don’t know that he fits the profile of what Archie looks for in a big guy.

  • for whom the balls roll

    You just made the leap into postmodernity. Congrats!

  • Koko

    He’s baaaaaaaack!

  • RonMlarkey

    Then those would both factor into Archies faith in his ability to contribute next year???? Do u even read your own posts before posting them.

  • for whom the balls roll

    IUMIKE1 I can see how the post can be insulting to you because you feel included in the generalization. I have been a big fan of yours by the way, and I miss your posts. However, ask yourself. Why do you not post much on here anymore? Maybe you have other personal reasons that do not have to do with ITH, but isn’t the lack of appreciation for your type of quality contribution a factor in your not posting as often as you used to? You are actually one of very few posters I find worth reading on here when it comes to more holistic basketball analysis. What is unfortunate is that the statement from coachv that bothered you is one that he was unnecessarily provoked into making. People can disagree with him on his assessment of Crean and engage him in conversation, but to attempt to muzzle him is ridiculous.

  • AndyCapp

    Thanks Vox and you’re right, it’s pretty special

  • PocketHoosier

    I think it’s natural for fans to be nervous, but in my opinion, it’s mostly because with Morgan, next season is shaped up roster-wise to be a very interesting year. Without him, there’s an otherwise strong roster with a gaping hole. So the volatility in what to expect is what I feel has people talking about him, because I agree it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for him to keep his name in past the deadline cuz he will not get drafted.

    But with the rules the way they are, I think it’d be foolish to not get as much feedback as possible to see what teams want to see from him next season.

    …he’ll be back

  • coachv

    asheville is awesome but hipsters drove real estate through the roof

  • Ole Man

    Not for long.

  • Ole Man

    That was me, but I really can’t take credit.
    I read it when another of our users said something like that.
    LOL!

  • Ole Man

    You constantly add little tidbits such as this to your comments:
    “your argument is just laughable.”
    Totally unnecessary and certainly having nothing to do with the discussion.
    Understand?

  • coachv

    i;m a tireless worker but no one pays me $20 million plus for it. i generally don’t feel sorry for multi-millionaires

  • coachv

    but you can say that about lots of players. blackmon, like you said. he has no chance of ever playing in the league and he left. and he probably made a couple hundred thousand this year. that’s a hell of a lot more than i ever made. the mcveigh kid from nebraska quit to play overseas next season. morgan is a damn sight better than either of them. i admit, i have been one of those who took it for granted morgan is coming back…but kids these days

  • coachv

    i learned half of what i know from bobby knight (not directly). what i call the diamond drill was great for teaching that. put 4 defenders in a diamond and surround that with 4 offensive players in a square. the offensive players are to drive the gaps so as to draw two defenders and kick the ball to a teammate who also tries to drive/penetrate the diamond(zone). off ball offensive can also flash the middle to receive a pass. get the ball in the middle of the diamond-defense drops and gives you 10. defense keeps them out. they get a pat on the back

  • coachv

    middle is always key. i used to love flashing weakside wings into the middle when my bigs forgot to. so effective because it is unexpected. when the ball is on the wing and the zone defense contests the pass back up top, the high post is always open

  • coachv

    beating zones with precision passing imo is the single most beautiful thing to witness in basketball. becoming more rare

  • coachv

    probably not focusing on getting your legs into your shot. being a gymnast i’m sure you understand the importance of leg strength. use them for power, land 6-12″ forward, don’t turn your shoulders, hold your follow thru. that’ll do pig

  • coachv

    wow. well,if you can afford monterey, you can afford hulu live sports. send your jet to pick me up and i’ll get you shooting 45% again. remember when hull sometimes in transition would jump in the air and throw a two-hand overhead pass? i was like, wtf?

  • coachv

    damn. i hate your face. i use to play in the panhandle. and the courts in the marina at chestnut and laguna. and university in berkeley. the glory days

  • coachv

    personally, i like the new coachv more

  • I like this guy. He seems like a great role player and excellent 6th man. The pick and roll for 3 option also looks deadly; either with Devonte, Romeo, or Juwan handling the ball. That’s going to be too much for most other teams to handle.

    My main concern is his speed, especially in this league. He looks to be a half-step slow in these clips. That might be a problem occasionally. Secondly, the big question mark for me is his interior defense and rim protection. From the (very) little I’ve seen, this doesn’t seem like a strength of his. That said, having another big body on defense is in itself a big step up. I just hope he can learn to bang around down low.

    Either way, Fitzner looks like a great addition to the team. The Bielfeldt comparisons are obvious and accurate. In which case, here’s to another Big Ten Championship!

  • we were never modern

  • I have the same question about him. I assume he’s at least mediocre. So with the size and match up problems, he’s still probably a strong overall positive. Hopefully Archie helps him step it up on defense right quick.

  • And…he really only missed only 1 free throw all season (two total, officially). Supposedly one of them he was told to miss on purpose near the end of a game for strategery purposes. Almost perfect.

  • inCMitrust

    That was my politically correct response to the Crean era.

  • for whom the balls roll

    Modernity as an analytic is useless only for those who have known no other condition.