The 2010’s were not the best decade for Indiana basketball. In fact, it was one of the worst in program history for a program with as much history as Indiana. It marked the first decade since the 60’s that Indiana did not make the Elite Eight or Final Four as well.
Despite the mediocrity, the Hoosiers still had numerous memorable moments (Watshot, “The Movement”) and players that have come and gone through the program under either Tom Crean or Archie Miller. The NBA and other professional leagues will consistently look towards the Hoosiers for future NBA stars, and there were 6 drafted in the last decade alone from Indiana and others who were signed after the draft.
The 20’s should be a better decade for the Hoosiers. They are starting the decade at a neutral to positive trajectory rather than recovering from the Kelvin Sampson blowout near the end of the 2000’s. At this rate, it will be surprising to see the Hoosiers go another decade without a return to the forefront of college basketball.
There is no way to objectively create an “all-decade” team for basketball as there are a number of metrics and methodologies to use to rank players into an all-decade team. The teams below are assembled based on a combination of their impact to the Hoosier program (including their length of their Indiana University career), their stats on the floor, and their playing ability. Additionally, these teams attempt to keep together a team that could all be seen on the court together such as a combination of guards, forwards, and centers.
Guard – Verdell Jones III (2008-2012: 11.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.3 apg)
Verdell Jones III’s impact on the Hoosiers spanned the late 00’s to the early 2010’s and it was felt for years to come. He was a highly recruited point guard out of Illinois and held offers from other strong programs including Kentucky. Despite the controversy that surrounded Indiana at the time of his recruitment, he stuck with the Hoosiers and was a starter for most of his four-year career – 103 of 117 games he appeared in. Verdell ended his career 23rd in the all-time scoring list with 1,347 points and 9th in assists with 389.
Guard – Romeo Langford (2018-2019: 16.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, NBA)
Romeo was one of the more controversial players of the decade with some uncertainty surrounding his high school career and leaving for the NBA after a year when many felt he could benefit from staying another year in college. His presence was felt on the court with an impressive 16.5 ppg and making plays in difficulty situations. His potential has yet to be seen in the NBA as he has continued to battle injuries early in the season with the Celtics.
Forward – Noah Vonleh (2013-2014: 11.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, NBA)
Vonleh was a very highly recruited player under Tom Crean and made an immediate impact on the court in the void left by the departure of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. He spent his one year with the Hoosiers, started in all but one game and averaged nearly a double-double each game in his short career before being drafted to the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 draft.
Forward – OG Anunoby (2015-2017: 6.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, NBA)
OG was a situational bench player for his first year and saw his stock rise incredibly during his second year with the team. Ultimately, he was drafted 23rd overall by the Raptors and won the 2019 NBA championships with them. His college career was cut short by a season-ending injury to his right knee that required surgery to repair. He was averaging 11.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg his second year with over a block and steal each game.
Forward – Will Sheehey (2010-2014: 8.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Will Sheehey should be added as well to wrap up the third team for the 2010’s. Sheehey had a consistently productive career at Indiana and despite starting in less than half of his career games at Indiana (50/130), he ended 41st in the all-time scorer’s list for Indiana. He was named the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year (Coaches) in 2013 and set an IU single-game record by going 9-for-9 from the field against Purdue on Feb. 16, 2013. He was an honorable mention for all-Big Ten (Media) in 2014 as well.
Guard – Robert Johnson (2014-2018: 11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Robert Johnson was another one of the Hoosiers that was productive each of his four years, but unlike Verdell Jones, his productivity went up as his career progressed. He started in 118 of 129 games and accumulated 1,413 points over his illustrious four-year career thus making him 21st in Indiana’s career scoring. He became more of a sharpshooter and team leader as he went through his years as a Hoosier.
Guard – Jordan Hulls (2009-2013: 9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Jordan Hulls may not have the best stats of the early 2010’s team, but he was the glue that allowed the rest of the team reach their potential. As a dangerous shooter from three, he spread the court and allowed players such as Cody Zeller and Christian Watford get more space to attack the rim. His .442 3pt% was in the top 5 at Indiana and he ended 26th in career scoring with 1,318. He set a record for most games played at Indiana with 135.
Guard – James Blackmon (2014-2017: 16.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Blackmon was an incredibly productive player with 17.0 ppg in his junior year, and in his freshman year scored 518 points which was third most in a season at that time (now fourth with Romeo Langford scoring 528 in 2018-19). He contemplated entering the draft after his freshman season, but decided to come back and had a rough sophomore season after suffering a season-ending injury. He entered the draft at the end of his junior season and was not drafted, but signed with the 76ers shortly after the draft conclusion.
Forward – Troy Williams (2013-2016: 11.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 apg)
Troy Williams played in only three seasons before entering the draft, but made it to 43rd on the all-time Indiana scoring list with 1,115 points. He was third-team All-Big Ten his junior year and won Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week honors his sophomore season in December. He started in all but 5 games of his 99 game career and entered the NBA draft as a junior. He ultimately went undrafted and was signed by the Grizzlies.
Center – Thomas Bryant (2015-2017: 12.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, NBA)
Bryant was one of the highest recruited players to come to Indiana (22nd overall in 2015 per ESPN) under Tom Crean. He was recruited to fill the void left by the departure of numerous Hoosiers the prior season such as Mosquera-Perea, Hold, Robinson, and April. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious and the team was markedly better when he was on the court. The NBA saw this potential in him and he was drafted 42nd overall by the Jazz.
Guard – Victor Oladipo (2010-2013: 10.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.7 apg, NBA)
Oladipo is arguably the most electrifying player to play for the Hoosiers in recent memory. He started the career as a predominantly bench player for the Hoosiers and progressed into a nationally recognized star. His accolades included Sporting News Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year and the National Co-Defensive Player of the Year during his junior year. He was the first POTY the Hoosiers had since Calbert Cheaney in ’93. He ended his career 42nd in scoring for the Hoosiers with 1,117. He selected second overall in the 2013 draft by the Magic.
Guard – Yogi Ferrell (2012-2016: 14.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.6 apg)
Yogi Ferrell was tasked a huge task to fill the hold left by the graduation of Verdell Jones III in a team with immense potential in his freshman year. He not only succeeded in doing so, he developed into one of the best guards Indiana has had in program history. After the departure of Zeller and Oladipo, Ferrell scored over twice as many points per game and continued to be the center of the offense over the next three years. In his senior year, he was one of five finalists for the nation’s top point guard.
Forward – Juwan Morgan (2015-2019: 10.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Morgan was only a starter for about two and a half of his four year career at Indiana, but easily reached the record books for Indiana. He reached 24th in scoring with 1,374 and 10th in rebounds with 757. He was rated the 7th best senior in the country by ESPN and was awarded the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week award for his 34 point effort with 11 rebounds against Notre Dame his junior year and again in week 12 of his senior season.
Forward – Cody Zeller (2011-2013: 16.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, NBA)
“The Big Handsome” was one of the highest rated recruits in program history and brought back Indiana basketball with his commitment to Indiana in 2010. He started in all 72 of his games at Indiana and even though he only played in two seasons, he reached 40th in all-time scoring with 1,157. Zeller’s size and energy on the court made him a highly sought after draft pick and was chosen fourth by the Bobcats in the 2013 draft.
Forward – Christian Watford (2009-2013: 13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Christian Watford was one of the most iconic Hoosiers in the history of the program. He came in to the program when the program was in turmoil from the Kelvin Sampson fallout and had one of the biggest shots in Hoosier history with the “Wat Shot” against Kentucky to defeat them in their last meeting before cancelling the series between the teams. He started in all but 2 games in his 132 game career and made it to 10th in the all-time scoring list with 1,730 points and 9th in rebounds with 776.
Cover Photo: USA Today