Monday, July 19, 2010

Frontcourt Preview 2010

For the next few weeks, I will be evaluating the Hoosiers for their upcoming football and basketball seasons. Although it is further away, I will be starting with the basketball team.

Today, we examine the Hoosiers front court...

C Guy-Marc Michel - Junior college transfer from North Idaho JC, originally from Martinique. Signed with the Hoosiers in early May and has two years of eligibility remaining. The 7-1 Michel has a wingspan of 7-8, and looks like a more developed player than Muniru and Jobe were. He has tremendous upside due to his size and athletic abilities, but is yet to face any real college basketball competition.

PF Jeff Howard - Preferred walk-on from Westfield, IN. He was being recruited by a couple of local programs and had offers from Western Kentucky and the University of Indianapolis. He averaged 16.8 points and 12.9 rebounds during his senior year and will definitely provide some depth for the Hoosiers front court. There is nothing not to like about this kid, who comes to Indiana with an opportunity to contribute and without using up a coveted scholarship slot.

C Tijan Jobe - Didn't show up on the stat sheet very often, but was definitely a fan favorite when he was able to get into the game. He came to IU as a junior college transfer and played sparingly in his two years in candystripes, but he definitely left a lasting impression on this rebuilding program.

C Bawa Muniru - Transferred out of the program after just one season, in which he played a total 62 minutes and score 11 total points. Muniru was definitely a project and needs a couple more years to really come into his own as a college player. After Crean and staff brought in Michel as a transfer, it made it clear that Muniru didn't have a place in the Hoosiers rotation.

Keys to success after the jump..

* Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco are the keys to the front court. Period.
* Elston showed his skills throughout the season last year and looks like he's got what it takes to be a star in the Big Ten. If he continues to develop and work with his teammates, he will be an absolute force. He finished the season strong, scoring double digits in each of IU's last three games. He is a big strong presence down low and has a soft touch from the mid-range. Elston needs to add some more weight and spend some time in the weight room, but there is no doubt that he is going to be a star and help re-establish the in-state presence in Bloomington.
* Bobby Capobianco's contributions do not shine through on the stat sheet, but he played a very important role on last year's team. Every team needs a bruiser down low that's not afraid to mix things up and throw his weight around. He was a post presence on defense and showed his offensive skills when needed. He scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in IU's late season win against Northwestern (My last home game as an IU student, fwiw). Right now, I think the most important thing for him to do is get bigger and stronger and keep playing hard. There is always going to be a spot in the rotation for a hard nose big man and that's exactly what the Vanilla Gorilla provides this roster.
* Tom Pritchard is the only player that was less productive last year than the previous year. Pritchard just didn't look like a Big Ten caliber forward in any aspect of his game. He needs to get bigger, stronger, and most importantly PLAY bigger and stronger. He is too soft on defense and is by no means a force on offense. His tendency to weakly foul his man after getting beat and allowing countless three point plays was one of the most frustrating parts of last season. He's got the height, he's got two years of eligibility, and he's got a coach that continues to put faith in him no matter what he has done on the court. I think he will benefit from playing against better competition in practice with the addition of Michel and the improving Elston and Capo. Hopefully, the staff and his teammates can help whip Pritchard into shape and get him to be more aggressive in the Big Ten.
* Christian Watford no longer has to spend any time playing in the paint at the 4. Despite his height, Watford is definitely a wing-man and should have a fantastic season playing his natural position.

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