Late on posting this, I know, but the transcript from today.
QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to a special Friday edition of the IU sports chat. Thanks for being here.
Gentlemen: How are you today? Jeremy, Dustin: How was Chicago? What do you all have going on this weekend on the IU sports scene?
JEREMY: Good morning. I still need to catch up on my beauty rest after media day, but here I am. Chicago was traffic heaven as always, makes you grumble less about the minimal delays encountered around Bloomington. Gearing up for IU soccer tonight, but first, let’s chat.
DUSTIN: Chicago was good times. Got a lot accomplished. Lots going on this weekend with a huge football game for Indiana against Minnesota, so we’ll have a lot from that. Let’s get to it.
ANDY: Indiana already had a big win of sorts last night, with James Blackmon, Jr., re-entering the Hoosier hoops fold. And Saturday’s football Homecoming is as big a game as the Hoosiers will play all season, given how the schedule shakes out. Plenty about which to chat, so let’s have at it.
QUESTION: 1. Basketball team looks more talented and athletic than ever before and these freshman look like the real deal. Just need team to mature and learn to play together and not as individuals (learning to hit long range shots would not hurt as well).
2. This Minnesota game is going to define the season and it appears in my mind that Minny is much better than we thought and probably better than Michigan. I have no doubt we should and will beat Illinois and Purdue and the season comes down to Minnesota this week. We might regret that Navy game if we sit at 5-7 and 3-5 in Big Ten.
3. Who knew Mizzou would be the 2nd or 3rd best team IU would face this year after OSU and maybe Wisconsin?
4. IU has to close the deal with recruits. While I am not panicked about 2014 misses (and let’s face it IU has not closed the deal with recruits they were favored to get) a couple more strikeout years in 2015 and 2016 and we’re I trouble. 2013 players look great so we’re good for a couple years but another couple years in 2015 and 2016 like 2014 would be a huge huge problem
5. I saw someone post recently if Sherry Dunbar should be fired. IU can fire her and a new coach will turn it around for 2-3 years and then fall off the rails. It’s a constant cycle with IU in almost all Olympic team sports of a coach coming in turning it around and then doing terribly. Until IU gets THIS PROBLEM solved this will be a constant cycle. It happened with Katie Weismiller the previous volleyball coach, it happened to Felicia Legette Jack, it happened to Mick Lyon the previous women’s soccer coach, it happened to Amy Robertson in Field Hockey, it’s happening to Michelle Gardner now in softball. Amy Berbary has turned it around but if history is an indication she won’t maintain it. It has HAPPENED to almost every coach at IU not named Tracy Smith. Either IU needs to figure out what Tracy Smith has done to maintain reasonable success and adopt that model or IU needs to take a look in the mirror and figure out how to better run its Olympic sports program because firing Dunbar (although she has to take some responsibility because it is her team) will just be another in a cycle of what keeps happening where a coach turns a program around for a couple years and doesn’t maintain it. At some point that’s not on the coach but on the department as a whole in terms of giving adequate resources you would think.
1. Is there a question in there? Seriously, you more or less have put things in a nutshell. This is a team with more talent and athleticism, and I might add versatility, than has been seen at Indiana in a while. But there’s certainly far more to the game than that, so it may take some time, which will require patience from players and fans alike. I personally believe the outside shooting will be better than some think, although there will be nights where it’s ugly.
2. Define the season seems a bit much, but it’s important. If IU goes 5-7 and misses a bowl, then Navy stands out as the defining loss to me. And regardless of what happens, short of knocking off Ohio State or something, Penn State is a defining win.
3. Not me.
4. I believe this question was submitted prior to the Blackmon decision, so in light of that, it seems IU is faring just fine for 2014 after all. The only thing missing is a post recruit. Hard to say what a 2015 recruiting class will look like, because there is basically no junior class for the Hoosiers. That means transfers and going pro will determine how many available spots there will be.
5. Non-revenue sports are a difficult thing, but success mostly comes as a result of tradition, such as IU men’s soccer. As you say, short turnarounds occur, but are difficult to sustain. That said, success in those sports would probably be having a good team cycle through every 3-5 years, but patience is hard to come by in a world where firing people is always the answer. However, IU has seen a pretty good amount of success in things like tennis, track and field or swimming and diving, so it’s not like the cupboard is completely bare. Speaking to Dunbar specifically, it has been disappointing that IU hasn’t followed up on her early success, but volleyball is a loaded sport in the Big Ten, so that’s one of the tougher mountains to climb.
DUSTIN: 1. Fair point. I would point out that I don’t think they’re selfish at all so “playing as individuals” might have a connotation you don’t really mean there. But it takes a while for college freshmen to really understand the flow of the game. And you’re right that shooting is going to be an issue with this team.
2. Well, Minnesota lost 42-13 to Michigan, so I think you’re a tad off on that one, but they are better than a lot of people expected. The Nebraska win was very impressive, and they’re going to be tough for Indiana to deal with. And you’re right that the next two games really define the season and they need to go 2-0. I don’t see them losing to Purdue, but Illinois isn’t a sure thing victory either. I definitely don’t see them beating Ohio State or Wisconsin on the road, though, so the Hoosiers have to make it happen the next two weeks.
3. Missouri’s really, really good. And they’re better than Wisconsin. I’m a little surprised, but not totally shocked.
4. This question came in before the Blackmon commitment. But yeah, this was a weird recruiting class regardless of that. The Blackmon de-commit kind of threw everything for a loop, and at this point it doesn’t look so bad, but it was a long strange trip to get there.
5. I guess you can file this one on the “easier said than done,” file and also I’m not sure you’ve pegged what’s your cause and what’s your effect in your comment here and I don’t think you’re even entirely certain what needs to happen other than these teams have to win more. It should be pointed out that there are only so many resources to go around. IU is doing much better thanks to the Big Ten Network money, but they don’t have the cash to build brand new facilities for every single program at the same time or provide unlimited recruiting budgets or coaches salaries. Programs of Indiana’s size in major conferences with monster departments like Michigan and Ohio State have a difficult time being competitive in every single sport, and getting consistency from men’s soccer (other than this year) swimming, track and field/cross country and baseball is pretty solid. And Smith’s “model” isn’t anything complex nor is it something you can just apply to every other sport and magically fix it. Basically, he gets players. He has a lot of charisma, which has helped him make connections in California and he has guys out there that funnel players his way. He played in the minors, went to scout school after that and he knows how to look for tools that other people don’t see. So basically, that’s the directive for every other IU coach out there, and it’s also easier said than done.
1. Agree. And jump-shooting could be an issue all season, but it should be a fun (if sometimes maddening) team to watch develop.
2. You just basically summed up my column for tomorrow. Nicely done.
3. Nobody knew, I don’t think, me very much included, though I always thought that team had more potency than some gave it credit for. It had so many key folks injured last season, it’s first in the SEC wars, but came in healthy this trip.
4. I presume you may have issued this question before Blackmon re-issued his verbal last night. Tom Crean can recruit. Period. He’ll go after a ton of guys and, thus, will sign a distinct minority of those, so people shouldn’t get overly hung up on the misses because the hits will be quality recruits.
5. I think all the examples you cite are truly separate situations. And Loring, Helmer, Loose and others might differ from your basic take. But I’m glad you don’t think firing people is automaticallly the answer (unlike some fans.) And I agree a big key is facilities and whatever support level the administration can provide. I think IU volleyball, for example, is going to get a nice new home at some point, and that will obviously help recruiting in what is inarguably the nation’s best volleyball conference. Here is a big key to that sort of thing: Michigan clears a net $147 million from its football program and Indiana nets about $4 million, according to a quote I saw from Fred Glass this week, if I’m remembering the figures right. That, obviously, is not a level playing field.
QUESTION: IU just stood there while Michigan scored the game winning goal with a couple min left. Even the Big Ten Network announcer could not believe it. And called IU’s defense “shocking.” The one difference is IU was completely dominated this game which I have never seen happen against an all right team like Michigan. IU just looks disinterested playing as a team right now. THIS IS ON THE HEAD COACH and if he can’t get his defense mentally prepared we need a coach who can. THIS TEAM ISN’T PLAYING HARD.
Yeagley has this year and next to change it but if next season is like this one Yeagley better be shown the door. Also can you do a story soon with him to figure out what is going on because this is less IU soccer than anything I have seen in my life?
On the bright side Women’s soccer is right on the bubble of making the tourney and if they can win a game or 2 in Big Ten Tourney they’ll be dancing (or pulling off a massive upset of Nebraska would do it also).
I’m calling it now that the women’s team goes to the tourney this year and the men’s team does not.
IU Soccer Fan, Bloomfield
JEREMY: IU Soccer Fan,
Why do I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day every week when your question comes up in the chat?
Well, the announcer hasn’t watched this Hoosier team all season or it wouldn’t have been nearly as shocking. This is a team that, as senior Matt McKain aptly put it the other day, has played well by and large between the 18s in the midfield but hasn’t been sharp in the box offensively or defensively.
I will respectfully disagree about the playing hard comment. That’s one of fans’ favorite things to say when a team hits the skids, but that’s not the issue. Soccer is a complex game with a lot of moving pieces and parts, which requires not only understanding but communication — chemistry in short — and this team simply doesn’t have it. I don’t think they’re doing a lot wrong, but if your goalkeeper makes an error in judgment, a defender makes an error in marking, and the offense turns the ball over to put the defense in a bad position, any one of those could get punished. You can sometimes survive those once or twice a game, but keep making them and, well, you see what happens. All that said, this is a team with enough talent, and possibly the return of freshman standout Tommy Thompson, to be dangerous in the Big Ten Tournament. Now, I don’t think a tiger changes its stripes, but it’s possible.
Women’s soccer is a much happier tale this season. You are absolutely correct. A win over Nebraska tonight would almost certainly clinch a place in the NCAA tourney, but that’s a tall task. Even so, at least one win in the Big Ten tourney over a Wisconsin, Illinois or the like, might likely be enough. The projected tourney fields I’ve seen still have IU outside looking in, but the Hoosiers are No. 32 in the RPI, a spot that has been in the field in previous weeks. Nebraska, win or lose, should boost that number a bit. And then it depends what else happens around the country, too.
DUSTIN: Moving on.
ANDY: IU Soccer Fan:
Most of the times I’ve seen it this year, the men’s soccer team has played hard. That hasn’t been the issue, I don’t think. Lack of focus at crucial moments, especially defensively, has. And, of course, coaching is part of that picture. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the pieces don’t fit on a given team. The chemistry and cohesion just isn’t there. But you’re right in saying this is pretty much unprecedented for an IU soccer team. I remember covering Jerry’s program though consecutive 12-9-1 and 9-6-4 seasons in the mid-1980s when some overt issues along the same lines surfaced. A couple of years later, IU was winning another national title. But it took some time to re-tool, and probably will in this case, too.
I seem to recall Todd Yeagley won a national title last year with all his own players, not guys he had inherited. That gives him a lot more leeway than you seem willing to provide. IU will approach things the way it has always approached things under the Yeagleys, which, let’s face it, has been pretty good methodology over the years.
Think you’re right about the women and the men this year, though, regarding NCAA play.
QUESTION: Was very dissapointed to see the HT couldn’t spend the $15-$20 in gas money to send one of you guys to Indy to cover Oladipo’s first game when it was so close to here. I know it is not your guy’s fault at ALL but whoever your superiors are making that decision really struck out big with this one and missed a huge local story.
Now to my question since I have not written in a while but were you guys encouraged or discouraged by the basketball teams performance in exhibition? team looked really young and inexperienced but all the freshman except maybe Colin Hartman look like the real deal. What can we expect point average wise from team?
It was more of a scheduling issue than anything else. We certainly didn’t ignore it, as a story with picture of Victor ran on the sports cover the next day. But there are only so many days and hours in the week, and only so much manpower.
Encouraged or discouraged is perhaps the wrong terminology for journalists, but I would say neither anyway. That game went just about as I expected, IU was clearly the superior team and finally pulled away in the final 8-10 minutes. Of course, we didn’t get to see Devin Davis play in that game, but he’s been doing very well in practice by all accounts, and the other freshman that got significant minutes showed that they will be key contributors.
If you’re talking points per game from the team, I would guess somewhere in the low 70s. Some of the halfcourt execution lost should be made up in points off turnovers and the like, but I still don’t think they are going to average 80ish or so like last year.
I’ll take responsibility for that one. I’d made another personal commitment for Tuesday night, so I didn’t push hard to make sure someone else was there and I should have. That’s not so much on my superiors and there wasn’t a decision made from on high for cost reasons not to go. I hadn’t made enough of a point to bring it to the table and that’s on me, so my apologies there.
I wouldn’t use the word encouraged or discouraged just because I’m not personally emotionally invested here, but I’d say they’re about where I thought they’d be. They’ve got jaw-dropping athleticism, especially Vonleh and Williams but they don’t have a lot of reliable shooters and they’re still figuring out how to play together. I’d say Yogi Ferrell is shooting it better than I expected and Stan Robinson looked better in the Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage than I was expecting, so those are points for encouragement for the fan base. It really all depends on how quickly they become an all-around good defensive team, and I’m not sure how long that is going to take exactly. We’ll see. As far as point average, I’d say they’ll play in the low 70s. They’re going to try to play fast and get out and run, but the 3-ball won’t be in play as much as it was a year ago with Hulls and Watford. (Plus, Vonleh’s not even close to Cody Zeller — who wasn’t perfect — at the free throw line and that’s going to leave some points on the floor.) So I’d say if you maintain tempo and lose some efficiency, i think a drop from 78.6 a game to about 70 is logical.
Not disagreeing, necessarily, with your first point. But it was discussed. And we obviously ran a front-page story on Victor’s debut, with a nice photo of him and quotes from him. So I wouldn’t say we ignored it.
Agree the freshmen looked good, with insufficient data on Hartman, given the brevity of his appearance. Overall, it was certainly encouraging. The talent level is manifest. I think the point average will vary pretty radically in what promises to be an entertaining, if up and down, season. Any team this young isn’t going to be real consistent right way and, so far, it looks like it might not feature a whole lot of steady jump-shooting. But it’ll try to play fast and I would imagine it’ll end up averaging around 70 points.
QUESTION: Hello, just wanted to gather your thoughts about the IUWBB team and how much noise they are going to make in the BIG TEN this year! I watched the game against Georgetown, and I was impressed with their hustle. It’s pretty clear, they will be a shooting team. Of the freshman, who stands out to you, as the one with the most potential?
Les , B-Town
I didn’t see the game against Georgetown, which would allow for a more informed opinion, but from what I know about this team and saw at Hoosier Hysteria, I expect Larryn Brooks to be outstanding with her speed, ability to penetrate and at times, score.
DUSTIN: Haven’t seen them yet, Les. I’ll see if I can get Mike Miler, who actually covers the team, to post something to this question later.
The Big Ten is an unforgiving league and the IU women are still very much in the early stages of Curt Miller’s building mode, but I do think the Hoosiers will play hard and play fast. They’ll probably beat at least a couple of conference foes people don’t expect them to beat. And I haven’t seen all the freshmen play yet, but I saw Larryn Brooks play in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series and was impressed by her speed, and it sounds as if Taylor Agler is the real deal. That’s a lot of backcourt speed right there, between those two. It’ll take Kaila Hulls more time to recover all her natural quickness, probably, but there is no doubt she will help this club with her overall game. I saw Kaila play at South and for the Indiana All-Stars and she is legit.
QUESTION: OSD here. I submitted ? last week but the chat was not posted on Hoosier Scoop so not sure what the answers were. Hope the chat is posted this week. Now onto the ?
Okay another one bites the dust as DR is going to the warm climes of FL. So what about JB JR? I still think UK but could be wrong. we won’t know when this is posted.
Any word on Lyle? If we miss on both Lyle and JR then we just have what we have.
If we have a two man class will we try to sign one in the spring?
How is everyone’s health? Is anyone still out? If so when will they be back?
I never saw any stats for AE either in the exhibition or HH? Did he play any?
Well must go but keep up the great work. Andy your team is down 6-0 in the 4th. Guess it was not in the Cards. Okay bad joke.
Until next time keep your powder dry and hand on the musket.
Dude is gone……………………
Old Sports Dude, Crown Point
Well, since this question was submitted, James Blackmon has reaffirmed his love for the Cream and Crimson. That’s enough for this recruiting class, but I still don’t rule out Lyle as a possibility in the spring as it becomes clearer what kind of moving parts might be involved for the Hoosiers.
If Devin Davis is back at it, then the Hoosiers are back at full strength health-wise, relatively speaking. Austin Etherington did play in both the exhibition and Haunted Hall. I don’t recall his stats, but I’ll say this, if Etherington wants to play, in my opinion he needs to get a little selfish. He can shoot it, which is what this team needs. I’m not saying he should go in and start jacking up shots all the time, but when he gets an open look, don’t hesitate. I see too many times where he is patient to a fault, a good teammate, and that mindset is going to make him more cheerleader than contributor.
DUSTIN: Hey OSD,
Obviously, this one was submitted pre-Blackmon commit, and things obviously took a sharp turn there. It appears that IU is gaining some momentum with Lyle, and more so, it appears that they’re more involved, which is more of a surprise to me than that they’re gaining momentum. Lyle hasn’t always been sold on IU, but IU also hasn’t always been sold on Lyle. They’re coming together more than i expected. Of course, having Blackmon and Johnson makes Lyle much less necessary.
Stan Robinson’s back but he’s still dealing with the knee. Luke Fischer’s playing but his shoulder is still healilng. Everythign else is good I think.
Etherington had four points, two rebounds and two steals in six minutes in the exhibition and 15 points in the Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage. So he looked OK. Shot looked good in the intrasquad game. He seems stronger. Not sure how many minutes are out there for him, but he appears he can serve a purpose. Thanks OSD.
Obviously, with the chat shifting from Thursday to Friday this week, you supplied this question before JBJ supplied his affirmative answer last night. I trust The Dude is pleased with that development.
Lyle will be a spring signing, I think, even if he verbals someplace sometime soon. I think programs evaluating him want to see how his does at prep school this year, academically and otherwise. Indiana already has an excellent class, especially with JBJ back in the fold, regardless.
Everybody played some last weekend in either the exhibition or the Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage with the exception of Devin Davis, I believe, and his issues aren’t deemed serious.
Cards had a bad Series and a great season. No complaints here (except that I’d like to have seen Shelby Miller pitch instead of Lynn or even Kelly.)
QUESTION: Good morning guys and as always, thanks for your coverage and for this chat. Quick note to Dustin (and Jeremy)…I can’t believe what you have to deal with from some of the people who regularly comment on the Scoop. You should be nominated for Saint hood.
1. I was very surprised to see IU open as a 10 point favorite (down to -9) against Minnesota. I watched the Gophers against Nebraska and I came away with two things. First, Nebraska played a terrible, terrible offensive game. One of the more confusing play-calling displays I’ve seen. Second, Minnesota isn’t bad at all. They have a secondary that I think Indiana can definitely exploit but they have a strong running game and I’m worried about their multiple-set offense keeping IU’s offense off the field. My question, do the Hoosiers keep their bowl hopes alive on Saturday with a win?
2. I enjoyed your day-long live chat from the Big Ten Media Day. Did anyone or anything you heard while in Chicago change an opinion about anything pertaining to this season?
3. After watching the exhibition against USI I think it is very clear that this team is very athletic, potentially very disruptive on defense (which will need to lead to quick offense) and probably pretty good on the glass. They are also probably not going to be anywhere near the top of the league again from behind the arc. That being said, this year’s recruiting class (now with the tremendous talent of James Blackmon Jr., love his game) certainly fills the need. Do you think Jaquan Lyle is still a realistic option? Is he worth it because by my estimation, next year’s team is going to be pretty full on 6’3″-6’5″ combo guards with Johnson, Robinson and Blackmon?
Andy, I’m sure you are doing just fine but I imagine having your team lose in the World Series isn’t fun (this Cubs fan wouldn’t know though). With your young pitching staff and organization, I imagine you’ll get another title sometime soon. Thanks for everything guys, have a great weekend, God bless and go Hoosiers!
Sainthood? Probably not. But the sentiment is appreciated.
1. Football dudes …
2. Change my mind? No. But I what was interesting was the faith that every single guy there — Evan Gordon, Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell and Yogi Ferrell — had in the freshmen on this team. And I realize that to some extent, they don’t have a choice. But usually there is some reticence to expect too much or simply to embrace freshmen too quickly. But they know that to get where they want to get, they need these guys, and that these guys have the talent to actually get them there if they live up to their potential.
3. First, the 2014 recruiting class has three excellent shooters, so that was clearly a point of emphasis. As for Lyle, I do think that’s still a realistic option. He probably isn’t signing until the spring, and we all know Tom Crean can never have enough guards/wings. Lyle could probably play the 1, 2 or 3. Also, I imagine IU is going to stay in it just in case Yogi should blow up and decide to leave early. I don’t anticipate that, but you never know.
DUSTIN: Thanks TJ, but the guys on there aren’t that bad. And to be nominated for sainthood you need patience and I probably didn’t show much with my latest post.
1. I hadn’t seen the line yet and I’m more than a little stunned at that one. Minnesota is very good from what I can tell. Was really impressed by both of their lines in that game, especially the defensive line and really the whole front seven. They can run the ball and I thought they looked very good with Phillip Nelson in there. For some reason, I do think IU wins that game, but I could also see myself being way off
2. Not really. Everything Tom Crean said was something I’d basically heard him say. Positions don’t matter. Best players on the floor. Patience, talent, coming together, etc. To quote the great Operation Ivy , all I know is that I don’t know nothing when it comes to this team. it’s really talented and it’s going to take time to get that talent to know what it’s supposed to do with itself.
3. I guess he’s still realistic because Crean loves wings that can play multiple positions and Lyle fits that bill. He never feels like he’s overloaded and he very much thinks he’s under-stocked at guard right now, and he’s kind of right there. He’s going to lose Evan Gordon after this year, which would leave him with Yogi Ferrell and Stan Robinson as the only true guards returning. Troy Williams can play the two, and Crean will be coaching Jeremy Hollowell to play both guard spots, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind going five deep at the 1 and 2 spots. Lyle’s always been interesting to me because there have been occasions when IU has simply stopped recruiting him and not because he wasn’t showing interest. It’s been a very back-and-forth recruitment and it will be very interesting if they end up swinging him.
Thanks as always TJ.
Dustin and Jeremy have sort of a love-hate relationship with the Scoop commentors. I won’t speculate as to which emotion predominates.
1. Agree with all that you said, as usual (great minds think alike). Minnesota has a great power-running game, with frills, and a very athletic defensive front seven, and both are the sort of things that tend to give Indiana trouble. But IU came off its previous bye week with a fine performance against Penn State and I’m thinking the Hoosiers find a way to eke out a Homecoming win. Minnesota is tough, though. The Gophers reflect the personality of their coach.
2. I’ll let Dustin and Jeremy handle that one, obviously.
3. Lyle is probably still an option, but I’m not sure how aggressive IU should be in pursuit of him, due to the personnel already committed and the amount of red flags that have gone up regarding Lyle over the years. Kid is a prodigious talent, though, and prep school might be just the ticket for him. I think I would pass, but I think CTC knows a heck of a lot more about what should be done than I do.
4. It stung, of course, but we Cardinal fans are obviously spoiled and shouldn’t complain. And we should resist getting sanctimonious about our club’s consistent success, too. But it was a great season, even with a dour World Series. And yes, with all that young pitching, the Redbirds should remain formidable for the forseeable future. Thanks, TJ.
QUESTION: How does the Minnesota offense stack up against IU defense and can IU score 40+ on Minnesota defense?
Big O, Bloomington
JEREMY: Big O,
How’s the tire business? Football dudes …
DUSTIN: Obviously, those questions will determine Saturday’s game and in both cases it will be interesting to see. Statistically, Minnesota is by no means a top-shelf Big Ten offense. They rank eighth in the conference in scoring, 11th in total offense and last by a long shot in passing offense. The Gophers do run the ball very well, though, ranking fourth conference wise in that category. David Cobb is an excellent tailback and that O-Line really blocked well against Nebraska. Indiana, meanwhile, is the worst defense statistically in the conference. They haven’t shown they can stop the run at all yet, and they’re going to have to. Defensively, Minnesota has an outstanding front seven and the D-backs are decent. Indiana appears to be able to score on just about anybody, but the Hoosiers might have a hard time hitting the 40 mark in this one.
ANDY: Big O (your namesake was my basketball hero when I was really young, by the way):
Minnesota’s offense is pretty much perfectly constructed to give Indiana’s defense problems. Power running game. Big, physical front line that gets into the secondary level with its blocks pretty consistently. Big, tough backs averaging over 5 per carry. Quarterbacks who can scoot and also can hit the play-action pass on you, with Nelson adept at taking shots downfield.
IU can score 40, potentially, if the offensive line can handle a very athletic, big and long Minnesota front seven. That is a big if. But if IU’s skill guys are provided the opportunity to make plays, the plays will get made.
QUESTION: How does Blackmon’s verbal committment affect R. Johnson? IU will have four highly-rated, highly-recruited guards on next Year’s squad. Will there be lots of time where Crean has three of the four on floor at the same time?
Do you think Crean really looks to add a fourth player to the ’14 class?
Mike K., Chicago
JEREMY: Mike K,
Glad to see you’re visiting your disciple, Chris Collins, in Chicago today.
I don’t think Blackmon’s commit has any negative impact on Robert Johnson. Those are two guys who can both play on or off the ball, and have very different games from a slasher like Stan Robinson or a true point like Yogi. I think it will allow for a lot more varied lineups from IU next year. They could play three of the four in a small, quick lineup, maybe even pressing a bit or go big with four guys 6-6 or taller on the court, which is really all about creating mismatches in your favor, whichever way necessary.
Yes, I think Crean looks at adding a fourth player. I’m not saying he does, but I don’t think he calls it quits by any means.
DUSTIN: It doesn’t affect him negatively. The Hoosiers started recruiting Johnson before Blackmon de-committed and according to Johnson’s high school coach, they told Johnson then that they believed he and Blackmon could play together. They have similar skills, but there’s nothing wrong with having two lengthy guards who can handle the ball and shoot 3′s on the floor at the same time. I don’t know if you’ll see an overload of guards next year just because they’ll still have a lot of wing/forward options with Williams and Hollowell and Devin Davis, Austin Etherington, Collin Hartman and Max Hoetzel, plus the bigs in Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Noah Vonleh (if he doesn’t go one-and-done) Luke Fischer and Peter Jurkin. So we’ll see. But it’s an option.
I really think Crean looks to add a fourth player because he’s Tom Crean and he does not fear the oversign and things always work themselves out.
ANDY: Mike K:
I don’t think it affects either Robinson all that much because, while they are very similar players in several important respects, as you note there is no reason they can’t share a lot of court-time. And CTC is always looking to add players, it seems. And things always seem to work out, in terms of scholarship numbers. I stopped paying attention to the numbers a while back, to be honest. But I wouldn’t exactly be shocked, either, if IU ends up stopping at three for this class.
QUESTION: What can we expect from Hanner Perea this season?
Uwe Blab, Munich
More than last year and still not as much as some folks thought when he signed with IU.
There’s no doubt he can be a factor on the glass, and he showed that nice baseline jumper in the exhibition, which is new to game situations, but I saw him nail a number of 15-foot jumpers during NCAA tourney open practices last year, so I knew it was there somewhere. Offensively, the question is whether he can do enough posting up, and what he did against undersized Southern Indiana doesn’t count in answering that question.
The real issue in my mind is on the defensive end. I thought the Haunted Hall scrimmage really highlighted Perea and Peter Jurkin’s defensive deficiencies when they were guarding Noah Vonleh and Luke Fischer. The footwork isn’t quite there, how to use his strength as leverage isn’t quite there and reading the play is iffy. My guess is Perea’s minutes this year are frequently determined by how quickly he finds himself in foul trouble.
All that said, just simply getting a chance to learn on the fly in game action will certainly be valuable, and he may well make significant strides as the season goes along in all of those areas.
DUSTIN: Great question, Uwe, and the best answer I have for that is “more.” I still think he has potential to be a dominant player in the Big Ten. I don’t think you’ll see dominance next year. But I think if you’re an Indiana fan, you’d have to look at the free throws he made, the baseline jumper he knocked down, and the simple fact that he looked comfortable catching the ball has to be encouraging. I don’t see him scoring double digit points or anything like that, but I think five points and 3-4 rebounds a game in about 15 useful minutes a game is a decent estimate, and I think with that group, that helps. I don’t know if he’s going to be a great defensive player in terms of a post-defender, but he’ll be a presence as a shot-blocker and a rebounder if he gets time and I think that can help.
ANDY: Uwe! Is that really you! I thought you were living in Texas, at least the last I heard, but I thought about you just this week when we were driving past your old high school haunt of Effingham on the way to St. Louis.
Hanner spent most of the time his freshman exhibiting hands like yours, if you catch my drift.
But he looked much better in that regard in the exhibition game. If he’s learned how to really snag the ball, there is little doubt that his athleticism will lend itself to him getting some things done. He’s always been a decent shooter for a big guy, too. I would expect he’ll play meaningful minutes in the rotation, if not as a starter, and will get a fair amount of points and even more rebounds in and around the paint. I also think he’s got real potential defensively. He’ll play a reasonably key reserve role for this team, at both the 4 and the 5, if the exhibition game was any indication.
QUESTION: Are we gaining momentum with JaQuan Lyle? I thought he was out of the picture. What is going on with his recuitment? Do you think he would be a good fit for Indiana?
indianavelt, Fort Wayne
Indiana was definitely gaining momentum with Lyle prior to the Blackmon announcement. Not sure how that impacts things from his end, but my feeling is IU is still interested.
Is he a good fit? His versatile skill set is certainly a fit, and he seems to be gaining maturity with his move to Huntington Prep, so maybe better than you would have thought six months ago.
DUSTIN: As I said earlier, I think so. And I never know entirely what’s going on with his recruitment because it’s been truly all over the place. (Really, JaQuan in general is a little all over the place. Good kid, but a little eccentric.) Do I think he would be a good fit for Indiana? In some regard. Really good athlete and really good scorer and passer. Been known to make the occasional insane decision. I can never tell where Crean is with him. But it seems like they’ve been more involved lately and he seems receptive to it. Not sure if they go for another guard after getting Blackmon and Johnson, but I wouldn’t rule it out either.
I think he’ll be a spring signing someplace, maybe IU, after he’s had his year at prep school. His recruitment has probably intensified from an Indiana perspective, I think it’s safe to say, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll come to ultimate fruition. CTC and staff can obviously gauge this much better than I ever could, but I’ve always been a bit leery of adding Lyle to the Hoosier mix, given some of the on-court and off-court issues that have overtly arisen in past years, even though he is clearly a prodigious talent and could very well be a great kid for all I know. I’ve seen him play, both for Bosse and at the AAU level, and he seems to really turn it on and off. When he’s on, watch out. But if getting away from home to prep school lends itself to further maturation, his potential would really beckon.
QUESTION: I saw where someone wrote “this team will make Crean pump his fist and pull his hair out, all on the same possession.” Watching the first exhibition, Troy Williams seems to b the embodiment of that. He obviously did some impressive things, but was also all over the place. He got burned on the same back door play a couple times in a row and just seemed out of control on some plays. How long and what will it take, do you think, before he polishes things up?
That was Rick Bozich who wrote that to give proper credit.
Don’t expect Troy Williams to be a finished product this season, but like all freshmen, he’s going to find how to get the speed of the college game and the speed of his game to get in sync. The big thing is that Williams is a guy who will bring enough pluses that you will forgive the minuses every now and again.
Of course, the other thing, and Crean mentioned this at media day yesterday, is that Williams was practicing with one hand until the last week or two, and still has a wrap on that right hand he injured, so there’s plenty of room improvement just because of that, particularly as it relates to his jump shot, which has always been a bit erratic, but I think will get honed in a bit over time.
DUSTIN: I think it will be most of the season before he’s polished, but I think it will be a short time before he’s making enough plays that you’re willing to forgive him for some of the mistakes. He’s going to make some strides in the non-conference season, but I’m sure you’ll see occasions early in Big Ten play when he’s confused again because the game changes when you get into league play. He’s going to play and I think his impact will be more negative and positive, but he’s going to require some patience.
I think that was a Rick Bozich line, if I recall, and a good one. And, yes, Williams probably personifies it as much as anybody. He seems pretty raw in some respects and it might take a while for true polish to shine forth but, when it does, watch out. And even before it does, he’s going to play entertainingly, with effort.
QUESTION: Extremely happy to have James Blackmon back in the fold. He can shoot lights out, and all I care about is that we landed him at the end of the day! However, I am curious whether he still would have committed to IU if Devin Booker had committed to a school other than UK. What role, if any, did Booker’s commitment play?
Due to a bet with a co-worker that is a UK fan, I now am now required to forever acknowledge that Calipari is a clean recruiter, since JB Jr. committed to a school other that UK. As far as losing bets go, this one wasn’t so bad.
HoosierInChapelHill, Chapel Hill, NC
JEREMY: Chapel Hill,
Take a walk past the Old Well for me, will ya?
Hard to say what impact Booker’s decision had. It certainly couldn’t have hurt, but you’d think Blackmon didn’t change his mind at 4 o’clock because of Booker when he had a scheduled announcement at 9 himself.
You may have to acknowledge Calipari as a clean recruiter, but it doesn’t sound like that has to go for Kentucky as a whole, so you’ve still got that.
DUSTIN: I don’t know exactly right now. Tried to get ahold of both James and his father last night and neither took my calls. I would say it had to have some effect. It certainly seemed like there was a sea change in the momentum after Booker committed earlier Thursday. If I ever get James on the phone, I’ll certainly ask.
Afraid to even address that bet …
Blackmon decided before Booker officially announced, but Blackmon obviously might well have known what Booker planned to do. Don’t know if it was a factor, but it could have been, given how crowded the UK backcourt was getting. It could have had an effect, since JBJ clearly considered Kentucky strongly.
Got to think that was an unwise bet. Not all recruits are on the take. A fair amount of them aren’t, believe it or not. (And not all programs cheat, either) My clear sense is that the Blackmons, unlike some families involved in big-time recruiting situations, weren’t looking for anything. That doesn’t completely preclude the possibility it was offered. Not saying it was, either, mind you, by UK or any other school involved. Don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t. I just think that was never part of the picture with the Blackmons.
QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Big weekend with IU Homecoming Saturday; find full coverage, game updates, photos and more on The Hoosier Scoop blog and app
Gentlemen: Thanks, as always,f or your time during these chats. What else should we know before we head into a busy fall weekend?
JEREMY: Did you know that Old McDonald was a really bad speller? C-O-W-E-I-E-I-O.
Have a great weekend everybody.
DUSTIN: Thanks as always everybody. We’ll have lots of football coverage the next two days. Really big one for the Hoosiers as it will probably determine whether or not Indiana plays in a bowl game. We’ll be live-chatting and we’ll have plenty of stories and video afterwards. Thanks as always.
ANDY: The Redbirds shall rise again.