Indiana guard Jordan Hulls shoots the game-winning free-throws against Illinois. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
With the season complete and the offseason officially started for the 2010-11 Indiana Hoosiers, The Hoosier Scoop will have a breakdown of each individual player’s season and what he needs to focus on during the offseason. The second player in the series is sophomore guard Jordan Hulls. PREVIOUSLY: Christian Watford and Verdell Jones.
2010-11 STATS: 11 points per game (48.2 percent FG, 41.4 3pt), 3.3 rebounds, 94 assists, 54 turnovers, 29 steals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Whatever doubts some may have had about Hulls as a high school senior coming out of Bloomington South had to be largely erased during his sophomore season, when he carried the team for stretches and served as, easily, the team’s most reliable player.
Hulls increased his scoring load over time – he was in double-figure six times in the first 13 (all nonconference) games, but was in 14 of the 19 Big Ten contests. His overall effectiveness lowered (once No. 1 in the country in effective field-goal percentage, he finished No. 77), but that was bound to happen as his scoring load increased and he began to be more assertive in the offense. It speaks to his overall effectiveness that, based on percentage of possessions used, he still rates as only a role player for Indiana according to KenPom.com (obviously, a flaw in the statistical system).
He kept the team in games with big shots, finding a way to get to the basket when opponents took away the 3-pointer. He was a catalyst on defense, among the team’s leaders in steals and charges taken. He also took something of a leadership role, especially when Verdell Jones was forced out of the lineup with injury. Hulls has natural leadership capabilities, mostly of the follow-me variety, and it showed in a win against Illinois and the OT loss at Michigan State.
Hulls also set a new school record with 41 consecutive made free-throws, besting Pat Graham’s old mark of 38.
THE TO-DO LIST:
- Get stronger. This will likely always be a point of emphasis for Hulls, as he seeks to overcome his height (his 6-foot is not bad for a point guard, but short for the 2-guard position he most often played this season). He was listed at 175 pounds as a sophomore and, with another season in Je’Ney Jackson’s program, could easily see 180-190. That would make him better able to contend with bigger opponents on defense and also assert his will on offense.
- The first step. Hulls was known in high school for his pull-up jumper. As a sophomore, he showed he can take it all the way to the lane. It wasn’t always pretty, but he often found a way to score. A quicker first step from the perimeter will give Hulls a better chance at making the drive (and sometimes kick) a key part of his offensive game. And that will allow him to play more point guard in Indiana’s offensive system, which asks the point guard to penetrate and make decisions based on how the defense reacts.
- Become a leader. Your leader has to be one of, if not your, hardest worker, and it is of little doubt that Hulls fills that criteria. He is perhaps the smartest Hoosier on-the-court (he was able to play the 4 because he understood what was required of the position) and his teammates seem to know that. It only makes sense that Hulls assume a full-on leadership role as a junior. Perhaps that is a co-captainship with Verdell Jones. Perhaps it is taking the reins from Jones during the offseason. But this team is better when Hulls is on the court, and an increasingly-louder voice in the locker room could only benefit the 2011-12 Hoosiers.