There are plenty of things I’m sure you either saw or heard during or immediately after the Georgetown game Tuesday night.
For example, Georgetown is severely underrated. That is really good basketball team. Beating them by double digits is a true quality win for this Indiana team. But there are somethings you may or may not have seen or heard that you better recognize!
First, Bob Knight was right about Jordan Hulls. I know your first reaction to hearing Knight say that Hulls was a really good defender was to laugh hysterically, knowing that Knight hasn’t watched Jordy play for the last three years. But your reaction was based on what I’m calling the Verdell Jones Phenomenon. You have become so accustomed to seeing something over three years that you have accepted that as the current reality. And while that observation was once true, it no longer is, and your thinking about this case has gotten very uptight. Jordy is still not the fastest point guard in history, but his positioning and hand speed have really improved. He stole at least two passes at the top of the zone when his man tried to throw it over his head from about five feet away. He just grabbed those passes out of the air and started the break. Anyone who is still worried about how we’re going to defend bigger teams with both Jordy and Yogi on the floor is either in denial or is being deliberately obtuse.
Second, Jeremy Hallowell is a freshman, making freshmen mistakes. He is not well served by the fact that we are comparing him to Cody and Yogi, two guys who don’t, or didn’t, play like freshmen, ever. Jeremy has a lot of ability, but he gets sloppy because he’s young and still learning. Fight the urge to feel frustrated when you watch him turn the ball over three times in five minutes. He’ll grow out of it.
Third, we don’t play the ball screen well. In the first few games the decision to have Cody hedge the ball handler all the way to half court resulted in no fewer than three wide open threes because no one could figure out to whom they should recover. It made me mental. Tuesday we couldn’t figure out that ducking under a ball screen against a really terrific three-point shooter was the exact opposite of a good idea. We did it twice in the last minute of regulation and Georgetown hit two threes to help force overtime. This could either be a problem in scouting the opponent, practicing the proper technique, or in-game recognition of our opponents strengths and weaknesses. In any case, we need to learn how to do this better, or it’s going to cost us more than overtime.
Fourth, this offense works in transition and in the half court because we have five guys who can score and five guys who are willing and able to make the extra pass on the floor at all time, regardless of who is in the game. There is very good ball and man movement and it leads to open shots or strong drives to the basket.
Fifth, free throws. Just free throws. So long as we continue to aggressively attack the basket we will get fouled. We make free throws good things happen. We miss two in the final minute and less good things happen.