That’s A Wrap: Gabe Cupps

  • 04/15/2024 9:08 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2023-24 Indiana Hoosiers. First up: Gabe Cupps.

Cupps (33 games): 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 36.4 FG% in 21.7 minutes per game.

Injuries to Xavier Johnson thrust Gabe Cupps into a more significant role than anticipated in his debut season in the cream and crimson.

A 6-foot-2 guard from Centerville, Ohio, Cupps started 22 games as a freshman because sixth-year point guard Xavier Johnson was in and out of the lineup with various injuries.

The 2022 Ohio Mr. Basketball, Cupps made his first start against Maryland on Dec. 1, a 65-53 IU victory at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. He went scoreless with an assist in 24 minutes.

Cupps scored in double figures for the first and only time in a 104-76 blowout loss against Auburn in Atlanta on Dec. 9. Cupps scored 11 points against the Tigers, connecting on two of his three attempts from beyond the 3-point line.

While point guard is Cupps’s primary position, he rarely played the role of lead distributor in his first season. When Johnson was out of the lineup, Mike Woodson opted to put the ball in the hands of Trey Galloway, a more experienced playmaker capable of making plays for himself or his teammates.

Cupps started the final 12 games for Indiana, but his statistical profile was extremely limited in his debut season. Over the final 12 games, he totaled 27 points and 11 assists.

From a shooting standpoint, Cupps went 14-for-39 (35.9 percent) on 3s overall and 7-for-22 (31.8 percent) in conference play.

His shot diet on 2s consisted of a fair amount of jump shots in the midrange, where he connected at a 31.4 percent rate, according to While his release looked clean, Cupps often faded to one side when he shot the ball.

When Cupps was able to get his feet set and have a little time on the perimeter, he looked the part of a player with the shot to develop into a reliable threat.

Defensively, Cupps never backed down from a challenge, even if he was overmatched at times against the Big Ten’s best point guards. The experience gained from going against players like Boo Buie, Jahmir Young and Braden Smith should only help him know where he needs to improve moving forward.

Cupps also needs to become more comfortable as a distributor. He finished the season with 41 assists in 33 games compared to 27 turnovers (1.51-to-1 ratio).

One thing that was never questioned about Cupps was his competitiveness and work ethic. It’s no secret that Cupps was always in the gym trying to perfect his game and get better and the hope moving forward is that his mindset can rub off across the locker room as he prepares for his second season in Bloomington.

Bottom line: Indiana is working to address its guard depth through the transfer portal and the expectation is Cupps will play a reserve role in Bloomington next winter. He still projects as a valuable contributor in the long term, but he needs to become more confident as a playmaker and a shooter. He often looked tentative to shoot in his first season but his 35.9 percent mark from distance is something to build upon for the future.

Quotable: “No doubt he’s going to play quality minutes. He’s proven that. That’s the reason why we recruited him. He just does all the little things that you’re supposed to do. Now, he’s going to have his ups and downs based on matchups and things of that nature, but he’s a tough competitor. Sometimes toughness gets you through it. So I’m very pleased with his progress and hope that he just continues to grow and learn the college game because he’s got a long way to go.” – Woodson on Cupps on Nov. 6, 2023 prior to the season opener against Florida Gulf Coast.

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