(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)
As the season approaches, IU is easily one of the most intriguing programs in the nation. Sure, a lot of the hype revolves around bringing in one of the most acclaimed high school players in the country, Romeo Langford. But, what really makes the Hoosiers interesting is that no one knows what to expect. How much can they grow? How will the new players handle the spotlight? How quickly can the coaching staff fully implement their blueprint?
As Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon famously proclaimed: winning teams focus on the process, not the outcome. Well, last year was certainly a “process” year for the program. Archie Miller spent his first season molding the team to fit his style of play, primarily promoting possession efficiency and teaching the foundations of the pack-line defense. In fact, it was well-established that often 75-80% of some practices were spent solely on defense. Last year, was the first step. It was the foundation for what the team eventually will be. It is important to note that Miller’s experimentation is still ongoing and that while anticipation is through the roof, there are certainly more unknown variables at play than constants.
But, with that being said, let’s take a look at the IU guards and their potential impact for this season…
I mean, do I really need to run down the resume? If you’re reading this, chances are you know who Romeo Langford is already. Indiana Mr. Basketball, McDonald’s All-American, one of the top recruits in the nation, etc. He is going to be the focal point of the team… He is going to be really good… And, he is probably going to be in the NBA next season. Enough said.
The 6-3 Junior point guard is the player that is most likely to have a breakout season for the Hoosiers. Green averaged 7.6 points, 2.5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and 1 steal per game last season, while shooting 33.7% from 3. Although he shot 43.6% from beyond the arc his Freshman year, so his percentages will likely rise this season. Green showed flashes of brilliance last season. He is an athletic guard with a great all-around skill set. He can do just about anything on the court that you would want your PG to do. Unfortunately, he has moments of streaky play and inconsistency. For example, if you look his stat lines from last season, his best performances were always followed up with single-digit point games. He never quite seemed to put together consecutive outstanding performances. He also often seemed to be finding himself on the court and occasionally failed to put his game into the fifth gear and take it over single-handedly. But, overall, Green has the tools. Look for him to take a big step forward this year.
Phinisee is yet another of IU’s impressive recruits. According to Rivals, he is ranked #99 in the nation. However, he exploded up the recruiting charts over his last two years and the eyeball test shows that he may be significantly undervalued. Phinisee is a point guard who likes to push the ball up the court. He can dart and maneuver through traffic and is a strong finisher at the hole. Moreover, Phinisee has a beautiful jumpshot and great mechanics. He should be able to step right on the court and help the team immediately.
Durham is another young player that could have a significantly greater role this season. Durham averaged 18.8 minutes per game and made 9 starts during his freshman campaign. While only posting a 4.8 point, 2 rebound, and an assist per game average, he did have a few standout games where he showed he is more than capable of positive contributions (10 points at #22 Seton Hall, 14 points against Illinois, and 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists versus USF). This experience and a full off-season of work will likely lead to more opportunities for him to play a meaningful role for the team.
Follow us at @IndianaHQ and check the site regularly for team updates. Part II of the 2018-2019 season sneak peak coming soon.