Sat., Apr. 18, 2015
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So after a relatively dead live chat today, decided that it was imperative that the live chat not sit behind the paywall anymore. Talked to our editor in chief, Mr. Bob Zaltsberg, and was told that there wasn’t ever necessarily a conscious decision made to put it behind the paywall. It just kind of happened when the system changed. So for the time being and possibly permanently, we’ll start publishing the full transcripts here.This one’s short, but here goes.
QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Thanks for being here.
Gentlemen: How are you doing this morning? Ready to get started?
JEREMY: Good morning one and all. Back from vacation and ready to chat again. Let’s go.
DUSTIN: Doing well as we head into the beginnings of actual football. Let’s get to it.
ANDY: Indianapolis just had the longest runs of days not reaching 80 degrees in the latter part of July since 1876. Feels more like late September. You know what that means. Football is in the air. Ready to chat.
QUESTION: 1. If IU ends up with only James Blackmon Jr. for 2014 is it a failed recruting year?
2. How man IU players average double figures and is Sheehey or Ferrell the leading scorer and how much do they average per game?
1. I suppose if IU ended up with only Blackmon, it would be a fail since there is another spot open for sure. But that’s not going to happen. The Hoosiers may seem like they’re striking out on a lot of guys so far, but with the exception of Theo Pinson going to UNC, the top targets are still there — Goodluck Okonoboh and Dante Exum. Plus Trevon Bluiett and Robert Johnson both have IU on their recently announced short list, and Quention Snider decommitted from Louisville yesterday with a visit to IU already scheduled.
2. I would think three (at most four) guys in double figures — Sheehey, Ferrell, Vonleh. I think you’re just going to see more guys averaging 6-8 points though with Perea, Hollowell, Robinson, Williams, Fischer and Gordon likely to fall in that category. Just a guess, but I’d say Sheehey leads the way around 14.5 ppg.
1. I say no. Obviously, it’s a semantic argument and if that were to happen, that would mean they certainly failed to get other targets. However, James Blackmon is blowing up and he’ll probably be a top 30 player. They’ll have 12 guys on scholarship presuming no one transfers. That’s not a bare cupboard. Certainly, Tom Crean doesn’t want that to be the case, and he’d be upset if that happened, but Blackmon is an outstanding addition and they’d only be one under the scholarship limit. There are worse tragedies. I think they get somebody, though.
2. This is kind of throwing darts with a blindfold right now, but I’ll take a wild, crazy guess and say they put four in double figures average wise. Sheehey is somewhere in the vicinity of 13 ppg and Ferrell is around 11.5 with more than five assists per game. I’ll say Vonleh leads the team with 17ish and Gordon cracks the double-digit mark with both Williams and Robinson relatively close. But I’m obviously guessing.
1. Quentin Snider just de-committed from Louisville and, word has it, has already set up one visit: to IU. And then there are Dante Exum, Goodluck Okonoboh, Devin Robinson and the rest. Not certain how those situations will work out, of course, but Indiana is hardly done recruiting for 2014. And, anyhow, given how good Blackmon is, I’d not consider a class containing only him a failure.
2. I’d guess three. Not to put too much pressure on a freshman, but I suspect Noah Vonleh might lead the scoring, though I would suspect Will and Yogi to both be solidly into double-figure averages. I would think IU will play enough guys in the rotation that the scoring will be rather spread out.
QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your work on the chat and the blog and for your excellent coverage of the Hoosiers. Andy, my double-name sign-off last week may or may not have been caused by sleep deprivation haha. Thanks for your well wishes. Both Hunter and my wife are doing well! Thanks for the update with Coach Jackson, it was nice to hear from him (and he mentioned the immortal Tijan Jobe, bless him).
1. Coach Jackson talked about Noah Vonleh’s strength, conditioning and athleticism and also mentioned the progression in the ability to catch the ball (no way for that not to sound weird for a college basketball player) for Hanner and Peter. What do you expect from each guy (throw in Luke Fischer) in the frontcourt this coming season?
2. Last week, I asked about camp battles for the football team. Your responses really reinforced how much more depth is potentially available for the coaches. Throughout the past several seasons, I think depth has often been a huge issue for Indiana (particularly in the trenches). The offensive line appears to be pretty solid 2-deep but the defensive line, while there is potential, has some questions. I don’t know much about Raphael Green, Jordan Heiderman or Chris Cormier. Could you fill me in on them?
Andy, I hope you are in okay spirits as your Cardinals slide into August and Molina heads to the DL. The Cardinals usually figure it out when it counts, I suspect they will again. On a side note, I love what my Cubs front office has done to the farm system. There is a bright future for the Cubbies (I know, I know, there’s always next year syndrome…just let me have my hope!). Thanks as always guys and hang in there, the offseason has less than a month left! God bless, go Hoosiers.
1. That’s a great question TJ, and one that has more guesses than actual answers for now. I feel like Vonleh should be able to average double-digit rebounds, and he has some versatility to step out on the floor. Questions are how effective he can be scoring in the post and can he use his strength properly on the defensive end without fouling.
Perea is the guy IU needs to take a step forward, but at the same time he can’t try to do too much. And while improved hands are certainly a big positive, the defensive end once again may determine what we see from him. Last year, his defensive footwork and positioning were frankly lacking. If that doesn’t improve, he’ll foul out in 20 minutes or less.
Jurkin is a guy that I don’t think you count on for anything. If he gets healthy and brings something to the table, that would be strictly a bonus in my eyes.
Fischer just might be the real X-factor on the frontline. There’s no doubt that he has to get stronger and will take some lumps as a Big Ten rookie, but he has a really nice skill set and understands the game well. I don’t know if he starts, but I think he’ll see some serious playing time and be a very pleasant surprise.
2. Football dudes …
Ah, the Cubs. There’s a certainly a light at the end of the tunnel, but you can’t help but wonder what kind of train that light turns out to be.
DUSTIN: TJ, good to hear from you as always and good to hear your son is doing well. And yes, the Tijan mention almost brought a tear to my eye.
1. The more I hear about Vonleh, the more it sounds like he’s going to be a star. I’m not sure about numbers exactly, but the staff is pretty much blown away by him. He was dominant as one of the college players at the LeBron camp. It sounds like he’s already pretty close to filled out physically, everybody’s dazzled by his work ethic and he’s got a really good all-around skill set. I think you have to look at him as the favorite for Big Ten Freshman of the Year and he might be an All-Big Ten player right off the bat. I’m very interested to see what all they do with his game and how he’s positioned. I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if he ends up starting at center after the general presumption all year was that he’d be a power forward. He obviously has a really good handle for a man his size and he can shoot the 3, but not necessarily at Christian Watford level. So if he ends up a step-out five, that changes much of the rest of the team dynamic.
Luke Fischer then becomes an interesting case. He was dubbed a poor man’s Cody Zeller some time ago, but especially if Vonleh starts at the five, he’s going to have a much harder time than Zeller did of getting playing time early. I wouldn’t be shocked if he beats out Perea and Jurkin for the center spot if Vonleh ends up at power forward, but if the 5 spot is taken up, he’s going to have to make the most of some back-up opportunities. I’ll be interested to see how that goes. I think it’s still going to be a while before Jurkin makes a contribution because as far as I know, he’s still not back on the floor. Perea is a wild card. Now, when I tell people how good he was in AAU ball, I feel like I’m telling people I met an extraterrestrial. People wonder how someone who can’t so much as catch the basketball could possibly have � at one point in his junior year � been a top 10 recruit. But my Lord that dude was a freak. I have to believe he can be again.
Also, if we’re talking Vonleh as a possible center, we have to consider Jeremy Hollowell as a Christian Watford-ish power forward. The Hoosiers are slowly but increasingly pleased with his development, and we’ve seen his ability to go off as an inside-outside scorer. If he plays like he did at Lawrence Central or at the Adidas Invitational with Indiana Elite, he has a shot at starting.
2. We don’t know a whole ton about them either. Heiderman didn’t blow me away in spring ball, but maybe I missed something and I don’t want to write him off. He was on a national championship junior college team at Iowa Westernand was a second-team all-league pick, so he has to be capable. Cormier is a 6-2, 315-pound monster from Arizona Western, which is the same JUCO Cam Coffman came from. Seems to be just a massive guy, so that has to be worth something. Ralphael Green is also a massive dude (6-5, 315) and he goes into fall camp as a starter. They were excited about him last year as a true freshman as he was redshirting and I think they were pleasantly surprised with what he did in the spring. If I’m not mistaken, he was the top pick in the spring game, so he must have impressed the players. I think he was originally taken as an offensive lineman, but if he’s moving like a D-Tackle, that has to mean something. I guess he starts.
I would feel for Andy and his Cardinals. But it’s possible that I grew up in a Western Pennsylvania town approximately 30 minutes from PNC Park and have witnessed two St. Louis World Series titles, a National League Championship and several other playoff appearances in the 20 years since the Pirates have had a winning season. There could be more depth to my sympathy at this moment.
You have pretty much the best excuse for sleep deprivation that there is.
1. Vonleh is a fixture from day one. Fischer will either start or contribute significantly as a rotation guy. I’ve always thought Perea, despite his stunning athleticism, was a longer-term project whose payoff potential remains immense. Is this the season the payoff starts to accrue for him and the club? Jury is still out on that, I think. But if Perea becomes a meaningful performer this season, watch out. I’ve always felt Jurkin can supply some things that nobody else on the roster can in the defensive low post and he has a really nice shooting touch for a guy of his height, but he’ll obviously have to show he can stay healthy before any major expectations arise.
2. I think big Ralph Green can and will play. Nice potential there. Jordan Heiderman fought through a few minor injuries in the spring and I think the coaches thought well enough of him as a guy who can contribute. Don’t know much yet about Cormier for obvious reasons, other than he arrived in good shape for a guy his size and I can’t quite get Mike Ekeler’s phrase about him (“a freak show from the swamp”) out of my mind.
Cardinals looked like a team with a slumping mentality last night, and their ace had a second straight not-sharp start on the road trip. But this, too, shall pass. I’ve said all along that Cubs fans just needed some patience with Theo, who would need time (years) to build the farm system, but would do so if allowed to do so. That’s the key. I told my friend and Cubs fan Mike Leonard the day Theo was hired: “You guys just won a World Series.” I stand by that. It’ll happen if people stay patient (which, given how long they’ve waited, is a lot to ask). Talk to people in Boston. They’ll tell you it’s well worth it.
QUESTION: Hey Hey the Dude is here! Yes my minions (Jeremy I do have minions) the Dude is back for another go around. A beautiful morning in NW Indiana. I can see almost a 1/4 of a mile through the haze coming from the smokestacks. Now on to the questions.
First another week and another recruit picks someone besides us. I know he does not know better and stayed closer to home. But I wonder if CTC is offering too many guys and these turn downs hurt our rep. Well at least IU’s rep my rep is intact!
Any word on anybody giving us the thumb up (tradition started in Ancient Roman at gladiator times)?
Have you guys been able to hear anything about PJ or AE and their progress from injuries? I have feeling PJ is going to never be healthy. Probably be his last year ? CTC will over sign this fall and cut him loose next spring. What do you say?
Well the Dude must get busy. You boys keep at it. Have a great weekend! Me and Mrs. Dude are going to the home of the enemy Lafayette. Love Arni’s! I must wear my IU shirt with the five banners on it in there. Ha, Ha.
Later………………….the Dude has left the building.
Old Sports Dude, Crown Point
Are your minions little yellow guys that make funny noises like in Despicable Me? I digress, on to your questions.
These recruiting choices aren’t hurting IU’s rep. I mean, look at it from a recruit’s perspective. First off, a lot of these guys are picking schools closer to home. Second, there isn’t a lot of playing time to be had as the IU roster currently exists. If you’re looking to make an impact right away, maybe IU isn’t the place. As much as Tom Crean likes to oversign, that’s easier when you’re going to have at least four open slots than when you only have two (plus one committed already). And there aren’t obvious choices to leave early for the draft on this team right now either.
Hard to say who will give the thumbs up, but we’re just over three months from November signing day, so I’d expect something in the next six weeks
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Jurkin’s scholarship is on the line, but in some ways his career is this year. If he can’t get healthy enough to play, then he’s missed time off and on for the past three years, and at some point you just can’t make up the ground necessary. Maybe somewhere smaller he could just play in games and not have to practice, but at this level, he’s got to be able to practice and improve in order to play in games. But 7-footers don’t grow on trees, so it’s worth a shot.
Let us know what kind of pummeling that shirt gets you in Lafayette. Later Dude.
DUSTIN: Dude, good to have you on, sir,
I don’t think the turn downs hurt the rep all that much, in part because they’ve really only gone all in on the one guy, Theo Pinson. They wanted him bad, but a lot of the other ones were guys for whom interest on one side or the other had waned. But there is some reason to be concerned about the number of offers Crean is throwing out there. Has to make one wonder if the offers feel less legitimate. and if recruits don’t feel like getting an IU offer is a high bar to clear. Not really sure, that’s just kind of spitballing there.
I don’t know if anybody’s close, but Louisville de-commit Quentin Snider is apparently looking at an IU visit, which is certainly important news. And Trevon Bluiett has IU in his seven finalists, so they’re still alive in that recruitment.
Je’Ney Jackson talked about both of them yesterday and said they’ve come a long way, Etherington especially. I don’t think either one of them are full go with the summer session now over, but Etherington seems to have gained most if not all of his strength back and Jurkin seems relatively close. I wouldn’t be stunned if the scenario you mentioned comes to pass, but it seems like Etherington might have actually been energized by his rehab and it seems like he’s starting to take ownership of the team. Helps that there are some minutes on the table, finally.
Thanks as always, Dude.
I have no qualms about Indiana basketbal recruiting. None. Not after what I’ve already seen CTC and his staff do over the last few years. IU is now a major player in elite circles nationwide. The Hoosiers won’t get everybody they want (no program does, and if Kentucky comes close, I still wouldn’t want IU to adopt Kentucky’s methodology), but they’ll get plenty. IU’s rep is just fine. And, as of now for 2014, guys like Quentin Snider, Dante Exum, Goodluck Okonobo, Devin Robinson and Leron Black (all Top 30-caliber guys) and others are clearly very interested in IU.
Heard Etherington has already regained all but a half-inch or so of his previous vertical (which was considerable.) Share your concern about Jurkin, but not willing to dismiss his potential to contribute at some point just yet. Ya can’t teach 7-0.
My son went up to West Laffy a couple of weeks back to visit a good friend from high school who is studying engineering up there and was advised, in all seriousness, not to wear the IU hat he brought along. His pal remains a closet IU fan, but doesn’t feel at all comfortable about advertising it amongst his peers.
QUESTION: What are you anticipating the most about the upcoming football season?
JEREMY: Watching Dustin and Andy work their tails off. That’s probably not what you meant though.
More seriously, it has to be seeing what the defense can do. If IU improves on that side of the ball, anything is possible.
DUSTIN: I’m not entirely sure what this question means, but I’ll take it to mean, ‘What are you most interested in seeing?’ And I’d say I’m most interested in seeing if this defense will ever start stopping people. I’m very interested to see who ends up starting at quarterback, but I think the Hoosiers will be able to pile up yards and score points with any of them. There is all and all nothing glaringly wrong with this offense. But the defense has been the worst in the Big Ten for a greater part of a decade and has been one of the worst in the FBS the last three years. I think the freshmen will make a difference down the road, but I’m interested to see exactly how much change they can make as true freshmen.
ANDY: Well, this clearly has potential for a corner-turning campaign, but there are obviously no guarantees and it should be fascinating to see how it all unfolds. There is a good vibe around the program and some degree of fan enthusiasm, though I still think most of the base is in a wait-to-see mode. If the Hoosiers start fast, I think buzz will get generated pretty quickly.
Seeing how the quarterbacking and defensive situations play out will be interesting. I think whatever the answer is at QB, it’ll be affirmative. If IU comes up with a few affirmative answers on defense, this could be a very good team. I’m particularly intrigued about the linebacking corps, with William Inge new to the coaching staff and so many different guys (with a lot of new faces) available to him. Cooper, Hoobler. Hardin, Dahlstrom and Alexander have all played meaningful minutes. Michalek, Funderburk and Simmons all showed some things in the spring. Kennedy is a veteran who could surface. Then you’ve got transfers (Ikudabo, Hoston), a talented redshirt-freshman (Wallace) and true freshmen new to campus (Newton, Smith, Oliver). Who’s going to be in the linebacking rotation? I doubt even Inge knows right now. But that is such a crucial area for the defense that, if some good play arises, it could help IU a lot.
QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us.
Gentlemen: We appreciate your time today. What will you all be covering the rest of the week? weekend?
JEREMY: Glad to be here. Doing a little desk work myself this weekend, but gearing up for the fall and soccer season. Hoosiers less than a month from opening defense of their national championship. Thanks for the questions and see you all next week.
DUSTIN: Well, tonight I’m heading up to Indy to cover the IU-Purdue alumni game that will serve as kickoff to the Indy Pro-Am. Then football practice officially starts tomorrow and we’ll have plenty from that. Not much on the weekend because football practice is closed, but Monday is media day and we really start to get into this thing. Thanks everybody.
ANDY: IU football practice starts Friday, IU football media day is Monday, and BTN makes its annual visit to IU football camp Tuesday. This Sunday will be a big day for recruiting visits at IU football camp, too. So plenty to keep the old (literally) IU football columnist busy. Thanks as always to all who checked in and/or chatted.
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