Indiana Basketball has the potential to compete for titles next year. Not just Big Ten titles, a National Title. In reality, you must give props to Coach Tom Crean, his recent success comes to the adjustments a great coach must make if he wants to put his program in place to succeed for years to come. Tom Crean has done just that. So now we start a player-by-player breakdown of what is expected and how minutes plays a part. This team has no identified leader so the question is will it be solely one person or a combined effort from multiple guys?
Colin Hartman: The lone senior fans know for sure is returning and has been a glue guy for the past seasons. Look for him to be one of the most fundamental player in the conference and out with a point to prove. Leadership role should be his role heading into next season. I would not be surprised to see Colin come off the bench in an accepting role of being able to start the taller O.G. Look for Colin’s stats to go up a small amount in all categories as more scoring will be needed. Minutes Per Game: 22
James Blackmon Jr: Expect JBJ to be considerably better on the aspects of which he needs to improve. His defense will be better because he knows it has to if he wants to play. His ball handling will be better, he will have the ball in his hands if its a close game. He will begin to take a leadership role much like Yogi took in his Junior Year. No doubt in my mind you will see a new and improved James Blackmon. Minutes Per Game: 26
Robert Johnson: Undergoing off-season ankle surgery will hinder a small step of off-season improvement. Robert Johnson will be asked to guard the other teams best perimeter player next season. Look for him to have the ball in his hands a lot more to create. I really look for his shot to take off next season and he will be one of the most consistent players in the conference next season.
Minutes Per Game: 25
Tim Priller: His role will not be expanding unless for unseen injuries. He is a great player to have in practice but still needs tons of improvement if he plans to see the court. Minutes Per Game: 2
Josh Newkirk: The biggest question mark for this team is Josh Newkirk. Can he run and control the ball handling for this team? He has received much praise from Coach Crean in practice. He does not have to be Yogi Ferrell, he must be solid though.
Minutes per game: 23
Freddie McSwain: A recent Juco Transfer who can jump out of the gym has all IU fans excited to see him. Asking for quality minutes in a crowded backcourt is asking too much. He will not contribute a ton until his Senior season. Likely he will be in a role of an energy player to bring off of the bench and to play his role.
Minutes Per Game: 10
Thomas Bryant: Plain and Simple, he’s the most important player to return to the team. He should dominate in the Big Ten and he will be called upon to yet again be the spark and energy this team needs.
Minutes Per Game: 28
Juwan Morgan: Coming off of surgery, a very serious one at that will be a great deal of work. Having experienced this in both of my shoulders it is no fun but expect Juwan to have drastically improved from everything I hear he is one of the hardest workers on the team.
Minutes Per Game: 16
O.G. Anunobouy: A fan favorite, for great reason. He will score more he will rebound more I also expect him to possibly be in the conversation for Defensive Player Of The Year in the conference. I see him starting over Colin in the starting lineup.
Minutes Per Game: 24
De’ron Davis: De’ron will contribute from day one. He will be the back up big and look for him to dominate any fours that try to match up with him. He will be a defensive presence but much like Thomas Bryant he will need to get faster laterally. I look for him to dominate in the Big Ten as he only will improve.
Minutes Per Game: 16
Grant Gelon: Grant is not physically built enough to contribute this season. I can see him Redshirting for two reasons, He physically is not ready and Tom Crean has not had Redshirt Freshman for quite some time. This would only help him and look for his game to resemble Zeisloft.
Minutes Per Game: 1
Curtis Jones: A sneaky athlete who can win dunk contests and three point contests. He has the skills to be the first guard off the bench and should be a serviceable player for four years. His game reminds me a lot of James Blackmon.
Minutes Per Game: 13
Devonte’ Green: A new york kid with a bright future with Indiana Basketball. An above average perimeter defender I expect for him to be a top player in this four man recruiting class. He is also the brother of Danny Green who went to UNC and plays for the Spurs now.
Minutes Per Game: 8
All in All this could be Indiana’s season to make a run at a Title. I expect them to have a high seed in the tourney. As you know you must have young players and established vets to win titles. Tom Crean deserves credit for preparing this team not just for next year but the program for years to come.