The Indiana Hoosiers took care of business this past weekend in Nassau, Bahamas as they defeated BC Mega in both exhibition games. IU never trailed in the total of 80 minutes of basketball that was played.
These games were not livestreamed nor were they broadcasted for the public to watch. So, many Indiana Hoosier fans have questions as to what actually happened on Paradise Island?
We gave our followers a chance to submit their own questions about the Cream and Crimson’s trip to the Bahamas. Want the answers? Well, here you go.
“How good was BC Mega REALLY?” – @catgirllover101
It needs to be understood that this was a professional team. BC Mega is a professional men’s basketball club based in Belgrade, Serbia and they have plenty of talent. 18-year-old Nikola Jovic, a 6-10 shooting guard/small forward, is a projected 2022 NBA Draft lottery pick. This means that he will most likely be one of the top fourteen players getting drafted next season. 26-year-old Scoochie Smith, who played his college basketball at the University of Dayton, is their starting point guard.
This is a team that averaged just over eighty-one points per game last season, while giving up eighty exactly, and finished with an above .500 record of 18-15. Are they the best overseas professional team? No. But that does not mean what happened this past weekend should be overlooked. The Indiana Hoosiers dominated a team of grown men with some spectacular talent, plain and simple.
“How did the point guard play look?” – @Michaelisdds
In regards to the point guard play this past weekend it is important to react to the individual play of each player. As a collective unit, they performed really well. They dished out twenty assists of the two exhibition games while only turning the ball over seven times.
Xavier Johnson – Head coach Mike Woodson must love what he has seen from Johnson in practice because he inserted the University of Pittsburgh transfer into the starting lineup for his first game as an Indiana Hoosier. Johnson does a great job at attacking downhill, forcing the opposing big to make a decision to come up and guard him or stay back on their own assignment. If the big helps up, he makes the right decision time and time again. The first year Hoosier finished with 10 assists on the weekend. If the big he is attacking stays on his own assignment, Johnson does a great job finishing around the rim, knocking down a mid-range jumper shot, and hitting the occasional three. It was evident that Johnson was more comfortable in the second game as he led the team in scoring with 13 points.
Rob Phinisee – Coach Mike Woodson may have found the role for Phinisee that Archie Miller never could. Sixth man. The senior point guard played under control and with a certain confidence that, for lack of a better term, was lacking last year. It is important to note that Phinisee is finally healthy. Part of the reason he was never able to get comfortable in Miller’s system was due to staying healthy, but that has not been a worry all summer and in to the past weekend. It is also important to note that while he is not starting, he still averaged near twenty minutes of play in the Bahamas. He did not shoot the ball too well, but they were great looks that just didn’t find the basket. It is only August so do not push the panic button on Phinisee’s shooting ability. He is going to be just find and thrive in his new role with the Hoosiers.
Khristian Lander – We all saw the struggles that Lander went through last season after forgoing his senior year of high school to join the Hoosiers a year early. Now, he is the age of a true freshman with a year of B1G basketball experience under his belt. The 18-year-old sophomore played the lowest amount of minutes out of scholarship players in Nassau but don’t look to deep into it. When he was in, he looked much more relaxed, almost as if the game has started to finally slow down for the 5-star recruit. Fans have to remember that he has two senior point guards ahead of him. This is going to be a really important year for the basketball career he plans to have as a Hoosier. Yes, he may be taking a backseat to Johnson and Phinisee at the moment, but next year he will be the oldest point guard on the team…as a sophomore. He will get the keys next year, but now is a time to learn and grow behind two great leaders in Phinisee and Johnson.
“It looks like Kopp and Bates really delivered on what they were advertised for and beyond. What were you most surprised by for each of them?” – @c_shoda
First it needs to be said that both Tamar Bates and Miller Kopp are as good, if not better, than advertised.
Bates, a five-star recruit who committed to Indiana after decommitting from Texas over the summer, proved that he can be one of the best freshman in the B1G this year. His ability to score at all three phases as a freshman is what surprised me the most. He was not one dimensional on offense whatsoever. Three ball, mid-range, attacking the rim and getting to the foul line…he did it all.
What I was most surprised about with Miller was his vocal leadership. We know what he’s going to do on the court but his ability to lead with his voice, as well as his play, was extremely impressive. IT was also nice to see his willingness to step in front of an offensive player and take a charge. Kopp also showed the ability to take his defender off of the dribble and get to the paint rather than just being a spot up shooter.
“What player was able to impress the most these past games?” – @toomey_ethan
Every player that played in the two games showed that they all have something to give on the basketball court for this Hoosiers team. With that being said, there were two players that really jumped out.
Tamar Bates – As mentioned early, Bate’s ability to score the basketball is something that Indiana has been missing the last two seasons from a guard. It was not just offense. The talented freshman was wreaking havoc on defense, forcing turnovers and being disruptive.
Jordan Geronimo – Geronimo is my standout player from the weekend. We all know about the athletic ability that Geronimo possesses but these last two games he was able to show that he is far more than an athlete. His motor was off of the charts. He battled for every rebound (led the team n rebound in the first game), every loose ball, and was a menace on the defensive end. Geronimo seemed to be given the assignment of guarding Jovic, BC Mega’s best player, and held him to three points in the first game and 11 in the second.
“What were the biggest coaching differences between (Archie) Miller and (Mike) Woodson?” – @cole_whitlock1
Indiana fans must remember that these are two exhibition games in August. There was plenty to take away from how hard Indiana played, their ability to defend, and the things they were able to do differently offensively. But it is hard to pinpoint things that Miller and Woodson do differently at the moment. Woodson told the media that the last two months have been focused on teaching IU how to defend the proper way. There is no more pack-line defense. In fact, Woodson told the media shortly after getting hired that he does not know what that is. He also noted that there has not been a lot of time to implement any offensive sets so it was nice to see the team produce points without really getting to run anything that they will be during the season.
Are they two totally different coaches? Absolutely. It will just take more time to see the exactly how.
“Which transfer – Johnson, Stewart, or Kopp – do you see having the biggest impact this season?” – @Life_of_Pudlow
It must be stated that all three players are going to have a significant impact on the season for the Hoosiers. All three were inserted into the starting lineup for both of the exhibition matches and all were productive in their roles. All three have very different roles, but are all roles that are going to have to be filled if the Cream and Crimson want to have a successful season.
Xavier Johnson has the ability to have the biggest impact because of the role that he plays. The ball is constantly in his hands and he runs the team when he is on the floor. Johnson has the ability to score and find his open teammate. Johnson and Trayce Jackson-Davis work the pick-and-roll to near perfection. There were multiple times this past weekend that they worked together as a one-two punch that lead to a TJD alley oop assisted by Johnson. Johnson totaled 10 assist and only recording four turnovers all while leading the team in scoring in the second game. He finds a way to be involved in almost every aspect of the game.
“Did Trayce show improvement in any area? If so, which part of his game improved the most? Do you think that IU will have a huge change in their transition game? How is Miller Kopp’s ankle?” – @FindleyOwen
Over the course of 80 minutes of basketball there was not anything really new with TJD’s game. With that being said, he did not have to show anything because BC Mega did not have an answer for his athleticism. He did attempt a baseline jump shot, and even though it was only one, it was good to see he is willing to take it.
Indiana will see a huge jump in transition baskets this year. Their defensive intensity is going to lead to fast and easy baskets on the other end. Parker Stewart had four steals in the first game and each led to easy layups on the other end. Indiana had 34 fast break points in the first game off off 24 BC Mega turnovers. So, as long as the intensity on the defensive end can stay up, then they will have a big year in transition.
Mike Woodson’s direct response to a question regarding Miller Kopp’s ankle was, “Shit, he will be alright”. Kopp himself said on a YouTube video posted Aug. 16 that his ankle is okay and he just needs to take it easy for a few days.
Photo Credit to Indiana University Athletics