Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guard Preview 2010

Today we will be previewing the guards on IU's 2010 basketball roster. We are splitting up the backcourt so that we don't have one post discussing more than half of the team.

Additions:
G Maurice Creek - Yes, I know he was on the team last year but since he was injured before the conference schedule started, I consider him a KEY addition to the Hoosiers chances in the Big Ten. Creek was easily the best offensive threat that the Hoosiers had in the first half of the season. Before his injury, he was averaging 16.4 pts/games, and erupted for 31 points on 9-14 shooting (5-8 3-pt) against Kentucky. He then went on to drop 29 points in the Hoosiers' next game and was heralded as the player who would carry this team back to prominence. Of course, he was injured in garbage time two games later and missed the rest of the season. This past Monday, MC3 tweeted that he was back in action with his teammates.

Losses:
G Devan Dumes - While DD didn't have the same offensive clout his senior year as he did his junior, he definitely provided a spark from time to time despite playing nearly 10 minutes less per game. Devan played well in consecutive wins against Minnesota and Penn State in January, scoring 13 and 15 points respectively and hitting 3 3-pointers in each game. He also exploded for 20 points in a loss at Minnesota late in the season. Dumes took a giant step back from the spotlight this past season as the younger Hoosiers became the focal point of the offense, but he will always be rememebered for his feiry on-court attitude and his ability to drain three's from DISTANCE (27 points, 5-5 3-pt in IU's lone Big Ten win in 2009). Unfortunately, he will also be remembered for throwing some vicious 'bow's' against MSU, one of which caught Goran Suton in the man-region.

READ ON AFTER THE JUMP..








Keys:
* The most important aspect of the Hoosiers guard play is again, Maurice Creek. He has proven that he is a force on offense, and would often drain three's in the face of his defenders. He is not afraid to have the ball in his hands and more importantly, not afriaid to shoot it up. This is something that has plagued the Hoosiers two years ago, when Dumes was the only one who was willing to shoot. Creek is a much better version of DD, and he has the ability to do more than just pump 'em from long range. He can drive and draw the foul, buckle down on defense and set his teammates up with his passing. He was the complete player in the first half, but Hoosier fans will have to wait and see if he is able to return to form following this injury. The good news is that he recovered quickly and is officially back to playing with the team. The bad news: a bad knee injury like his will often require more time for the player to get back in top shape. So while he may be recovered from his injury, he has a lot of work to do to get back into form.
* Jordan Hulls needs to step up and be a leader. He has shown flashes of brilliance with his passing and basketball IQ, but as a freshman he was never able to really lead the offense. Now in his second year, the Hoosiers NEED him to become a leader. He has the tools and the abilities to be a solid four-year player and to really contribute on both ends of the court. We have seen his offensive ability (see: making it rain with 8 3-pointers against Northwestern for 24 points). He is the point guard of the future for the Hoosiers and this is the year where he needs to show that he has capable of filling that role.
* Jeremiah Rivers either has to learn how to shoot free-throws or just get out of Hulls' way. Rivers was a stabilizing presence on the offense last year, but he has to have been the worst-shooting starting PG in all of Division 1 basketball. I don't know how to look up this statistic for real, but I've got to believe he's one of the only starting PGs to ever go an entire season without ever hitting a 3-pointer. He had some flashy dunks and passes here and there, but overall his offensive production was minimal at best. Not to mention that the so-called defensive specialist did not really stand out on that end of the ball either. The worst facet of his game, however, was the free-throw shooting. Especially late in games. He was the most unclutch shooter I've ever seen and his bricks from the charity stripe cost the team at least one or two wins. It is hard for me to believe that with Doc Rivers as a dad, Ray Allen on dad's team, and a younger brother who is a top 10 high school prospect, NO ONE can teach JR how to shoot!
* Verdell Jones will be expected to play a variety of different roles this season. I think Verdeezy has been the most consistent of the players that Coach Crean brought in two years ago and he has shown that he can do work with the ball. He makes questionable decisions on occasion, but this past season he was able to make up for it with buckets. He is still a young player but after hitting the weight room and adding some muscle, he became a much better player and athlete. He stills needs work on his ball control, but with the emergence of Creek and Hulls he won't have to have to bring the ball up as much. I love watching Verdell play, and he was the man who I always wanted to have the ball late in the game (after Creek went down). Verdell seems to be the wildcard in all of this. With Creek coming back, Hulls coming into his own, Watford being able to play more wing, and Oladipo and Sheehey coming in as combo guards/wings, it looks as if VJ3 will be somewhat of a journeyman. He can, and probably will, play 3 different positions and we will be seeing him in each position quite regularly. I think that while his offensive stats may dip a bit, Verdell will continue to be the junior leader on this team and contribute in ways that don't show up in paper.
* Matt Roth - Not sure what will be happening with Roth this season. He played sparingly in the first 2 games last year before breaking his ankle in practice. His role on the team is solely as a three-point shooter. But now that we have Hulls and Creek that can fill that role, Roth may very well be the odd man out. One promising scenario I see is to have each of the three shooters out there at the same time. Setting Roth and Hulls up on the perimeter and putting the ball in Creek's hands can open options up for everyone. If Creek drives, he can collapse the defense and open it up for the two lethal shooters or he could get to the hoop and draw a foul on his man while the defense stays out on the perimeter. The problem: This is a 3-guard lineup that requires both Verdell and C-Wat to be sitting on the bench.
* Daniel Moore - Don't expect a whole lot from him, as his role continues to shrink with the growing talent on the roster. He provides an energetic spark off the bench and is a scrappy defender that can really annoy opposing players. The Hoosier fans should appreciate what he brings to the team, but I really hate to watch that kid shoot the rock. Also, he looks ridiculous in a face mask.

NEXT TIME: PREVIEWING THE HOOSIERS WINGS/FORWARDS

1 comment:

  1. Not a bad assessment of IU's talent. I still think we are biding our time until next year when Crean should be able to pick up some 4-5 star recruits. But they should win a few more games than last year.

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