New Face, New Place: Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana basketball has had a number great recruits come through their program. Over the years we have seen the likes of Isiah Thomas and more recently Cody Zeller don the candy stripes. Indiana has had great success recruiting highly regarded high school players especially McDonald’s All Americans. It is not only the fact that they have been signing the highly ranked recruits, but they have had great success developing an underrated player like Troy Williams who was rated as the 54th best player (when he was getting recruited) according to ESPN. Now, he has the potential to be a lottery pick in next years NBA draft. This year Indiana has the potential to do something special. Most of their rotation is returning from last season which is rare in the era of “one and done”. I wanted to give Hoosier fans a little glimpse of new players in Bloomington. Some of the additions will play big roles in their first season like Cody Zeller, but others look to grow each year like Troy Williams.
Max is the exception to the article’s title because he played at Michigan the last 3 seasons. He had one year of eligibility left and he chose to be apart of a Hoosier team that could do something special. As a Wolverine he averaged 5.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 0.5 assists a game. As a veteran and most likely a bench player, look for him to average about those stats this year. His role on the team is to help be a leader, and role model for the younger guys like Juwan Morgan and Thomas Bryant. He will provide valuable minutes off the bench. Others who were around Bielfeldt say he is a great teammate and a very good leader which will help the younger guys develop and help the team grow throughout the year.
There are a couple reasons why IU recruited a consensus 5-star recruit Thomas Bryant. The Hoosiers really needed to solidify the center position. Last season they didn’t have a true center. Hanner Mosquera Perea started at that position, but he was only 6 feet 8 inches, which is considered small for that position. Also, he was not the best rim protector, let alone defensive player. Bryant immediately is the best rebounder on the team, an above average rim protector, and a threat on offense. He can shoot the three ball, he is great in the pick and roll game which will help out Yogi Ferrell a ton, and is a great rebounder. He will be counted on to have an immediate impact on both ends of the floor. He also is a great guy. I spent some time with him at IU’s orientation a couple of weeks ago. He was very approachable and just seemed like an average college freshman. The potential to be a lottery pick in the draft next year is reasonable, but he will have to live up to the hype of the skil-set he brings to the court. The one thing that could hold Bryant back is foul trouble. But I am hoping Thomas is able to keep his foul count low so he can make the biggest possible impact.
Juwan Morgan was a 4-star recruit according to ESPN. Indiana is pretty stacked up front at the power forward position, which is where Morgan will most likely position he will end up playing. This year it may be tough for Tom Crean to get his freshman power forward a high volume of minutes but in the future it looks like Morgan may be a force. He gives the Hoosiers energy with his active play on the boards and will add some scoring to mix as well. He needs to improve his jump shot and add range to it, but that should just come with time and practice.
Just like Morgan, OG Anunoby figures to be part of the future of IU basketball. He is a 6 foot 7 small forward who is a slasher. He is a raw athlete but then again; Oladipo and Troy Williams were raw athletes. He fits the mold of those two players. OG is very athletic and when you get him running in transition, you may see a grand finish above the baskets at Assembly Hall. He is a project but if the comparisons to Victor Oladipo and Troy Williams are accurate, then O.G. could be special.