Hoosiers In The NBA: Mega December Recap

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:


It’s been awhile since we last checked in on our former Indiana Hoosiers currently playing in the NBA (a month to be specific) so to make up for it I will be giving a recap of what each Hoosier did in the month of December. It was a busy month that contained D-League transfers, injuries, and award-caliber play. So without further ado, let’s get started with the two players who are currently not playing in the NBA at the moment.


Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Brooklyn Nets:

Season Averages:

5.4ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.7apg, 0.20spg, 0.20bpg, 1.4tpg, 1.1fpg, 36.7% FG, 29.6% 3FG, 62.5% FT, 15.2mpg (10 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Milwaukee (L 111-93): 2 points (1-1 FG), 3 minutes.

@ Milwaukee (L 112-103): DNP – coach’s decision

vs Washington (L 118-113): DNP – coach’s decision

vs Denver (W 116-111): DNP – coach’s decision

 

Everyone knew Yogi Ferrell’s stay in the NBA would be temporary this time around and after 10 decent games he returned to the Brooklyn Nets’ D-League affiliate.

Yet you can tell that his short time in the NBA had a positive affect on his game as he’s been great playing for the Long Island Nets. In eight games, Ferrell is averaging 19.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. In addition, he’s shooting 47% from the floor and 39.6% from three-point range. If Ferrell can continue to play like he did this month, you can expect the Nets to move him back to NBA sooner rather than later.


Troy Williams: Forward, Memphis Grizzlies:

Season Averages:

5.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 0.8apg, 1.00spg, 0.38bpg, 1.1tpg, 1.8fpg, 41.8% FG, 24.4% 3FG, 60.0% FT, 17.4mpg (24 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Toronto (L 120-105): 10 points (4-10 FG)(2-3 FT), 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

vs Orlando (W 95-94): 5 points (2-13 FG), 2 rebounds, assist, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 35 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 103-100): 7 points (3-8 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, personal foul, 35 minutes.

@ New Orleans (W 110-108): 11 points (5-9 FG), 4 rebounds, assist, steal, turnover, 20 minutes.

vs Philadelphia (W 96-91): 8 points (4-6 FG), 3 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, block, 4 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

vs Portland (W 88-86): 0 points (0-3 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 steals, block, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 20 minutes.

vs Golden State (W 110-89): 11 points (4-7 FG)(2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 3 personal fouls, 19 minutes.

@ Cleveland (L 103-86): 13 points (6-16 FG), 6 rebounds, assist, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Cleveland (W 93-85): 3 points (1-4 FG), 2 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 19 minutes.

vs Sacramento (L 96-92): 2 points (1-3 FG), rebound, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 16 minutes.

vs Utah (L 82-73): 0 points (0-0 FG), steal, turnover, personal foul, 5 minutes.

vs Boston (L 112-109): DNP – coach’s decision

@ Detroit (W 98-86): 0 points (0-0 FG), 1 minute.

 

Although Troy Williams went from NBA starter to playing in the D-League during the course of December, it was actually a very positive month for the undrafted rookie.

Williams showed some promise as a starter, averaging 8.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in 13 starts for the Memphis Grizzlies. However, there are still many things he needs to work on and that’s why he’s now playing for the Iowa Energy.

This is actually a great sign as the Grizzlies like what they see from Williams and want him to continue to develop. Unfortunately on a healthy Grizzlies team there just isn’t enough playing time for Williams to get the necessary experience to improve his game, as he has only played an average of 5.7 minutes during the 11 games he has come off the bench. WIth the Iowa Energy he will have all the tools and playing time to work on his game, and you can already see the results as he’s averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 27.8 minutes through his first three games in the D-League.


Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

Season Averages:

17.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.9apg, 0.68spg, 0.53bpg, 1.9tpg, 2.0fpg, 43.6% FG, 43.0% 3FG, 83.8% FT, 30.4mpg (34 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Golden State (W 132-127): 23 points (9-19 FG)(1-1 FT), rebound, 5 assists, steal, 3 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 39 minutes.

@ Denver (W 128-110): 18 points (6-13 FG)(2-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, 24 minutes.

vs Boston (W 107-106): 19 points (6-11 FG)(3-4 FT), rebound, 3 assists, 2 blocks, turnover, personal foul, 31 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 134-95): 26 points (9-13 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 24 minutes.

@ Oklahoma City (W 102-99): 17 points (5-10 FG)(4-4 FT), rebound, 3 assists, steal, turnover, personal foul, 33 minutes.

vs Dallas (W 109-87): 18 points (6-14 FG), rebound, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

vs Brooklyn (W 122-118): 24 points (7-15 FG)(4-6 FT), assist, steal, 6 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

vs Sacramento (W 132-98): 9 points (3-12 FG), 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks, 2 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

vs New Orleans (W 122-100): 29 points (10-17 FG)(2-2 FT), rebound, assist, steal, block, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 28 minutes.

@ Minnesota (W 111-109): 20 points (7-15 FG)(2-2 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs San Antonio (L 102-100): 13 points (4-15 FG)(4-4 FT), rebound, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

@ Phoenix (W 125-111): 24 points (8-17 FG)(1-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 4 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

@ Memphis (L 115-109): 17 points (6-19 FG)(1-1 FT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, block, turnover, personal foul, 32 minutes.

vs Phoenix (W 131-115): 15 points (5-13 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, steal, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

@ Dallas (W 123-107): 13 points (4-9 FG)(3-3 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 27 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Clippers (W 140-116): 19 points (5-7 FG)(5-5 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, block, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 24 minutes.

 

In my last Hoosiers In The NBA article, I went over how Eric Gordon was successfully transitioning into the Houston Rockets’ sixth man. Since then, not only has Gordon continued to excel in that role, but he’s also become one of the early favorites for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Gordon is averaging 17.9 points per game in just 29.8 minutes. While that is quite impressive, the main reason he’s become one of the top contenders is because of his ridiculous three-point shooting. Gordon made the transition two seasons ago to becoming a three-point specialist when he made a career-high 44.8% from deep. This season he’s nearing that rate as he’s made 43% of his attempts. In December alone, his long-range efficiency went to another level as he attempted 9.3 three-pointers per game and made 47% of them.

Add in the fact that the Rockets are 21-5 with Gordon coming off the bench compared to 4-4 with him starting, and you’ll have a tough task finding anyone more deserving of “Best Sixth Man” than Gordon right now.


*Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

Season Averages:

16.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.8apg, 0.92spg, 0.29bpg, 1.8tpg, 1.8fpg, 45.5% FG, 38.1% 3FG, 62.0% FT, 34.3mpg (24 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Washington (W 126-115): 25 points (10-16 FG), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, steal, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 45 minutes.

vs New Orleans (W 101-92): 15 points (6-15 FG)(2-7 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, 35 minutes.

@ Atlanta (W 102-99): 14 points (6-15 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Houston (L 102-99): 12 points (5-13 FG), 7 rebounds, assist, 3 turnovers, personal foul, 38 minutes.

vs Boston (W 99-96): 0 points (0-2 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 10 minutes.

@ Portland (L 114-95): DNP – injury

@ Utah (L 109-89): DNP – injury

vs Phoenix (W 114-101): DNP – injury

vs Atlanta (L 110-108): DNP – injury

@ New Orleans (W 121-110): DNP – injury

@ Boston (W 117-112): DNP – injury

vs Minnesota (W 112-100): DNP – injury

@ Miami (W 106-94): DNP – injury

@ Memphis (L 114-80): DNP – injury

 

Near the end of November, it felt like Victor Oladipo was finally getting comfortable playing with all of his new teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The dynamic backcourt of Oladipo and Russell Westbrook was starting to spark.

Unfortunately that was short-lived as Oladipo injured his shooting wrist on December 11th and hasn’t played a game since. Amazingly enough the team continues to chug along with Westbrook playing even more superhuman than before.

However with nine missed games and counting, you have to worry about whether or not Oladipo will continue his development where he left off or if this wrist injury will linger the rest of the season and prevent us from seeing the full potential of the Westbrook-Oladipo show. In my opinion, I actually think it’s a good sign that the Thunder haven’t let him play yet as maybe they’re waiting until he’s 100% before bringing him back so the injury doesn’t linger.


Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

Season Averages:

3.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 0.2apg, 0.36spg, 0.39bpg, 0.9tpg, 1.5fpg, 39.8% FG, 31.6% 3FG, 72.0% FT, 12.2mpg (28 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Indiana (W 131-109): 2 points (1-1 FG), rebound, assist, 2 minutes.

vs Miami (W 99-92): 1 point (0-0 FG)(1-2 FT), 2 rebounds, personal foul, 4 minutes.

@ Chicago (W 112-110): DNP – coach’s decision

@ Milwaukee (L 115-107): DNP – coach’s decision

@ Memphis (L 88-86): 0 points (0-1 FG), assist, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 7 minutes.

@ Indiana (L 118-111): 6 points (2-2 FG)(2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, personal fouls, 7 minutes.

@ Los Angeles Clippers (L 121-120): 2 points (1-3 FG), 4 rebounds, steal, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 15 minutes.

vs Oklahoma City (W 114-95): 5 points (2-4 FG)(1-2 FT), 5 rebounds, steal, block, 2 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 19 minutes.

@ Denver (L 132-120): 6 points (3-8 FG), 7 rebounds, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 18 minutes.

@ Golden State (L 135-90): 6 points (3-7 FG)(0-2 FT), 8 rebounds, steal, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 24 minutes.

@ Sacramento (L 126-121): 0 points (0-0 FG), 4 rebounds, steal, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 10 minutes.

vs Dallas (L 96-95): DNP – coach’s decision

vs San Antonio (L 110-90): 5 points (1-3 FG)(3-4 FT), 4 rebounds, steal, turnover, personal foul, 18 minutes.

vs Toronto (L 95-91): 5 points (2-5 FG)(1-2 FT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 15 minutes.

vs Sacramento (W 102-89): 4 points (1-3 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, steal, block, turnover, 17 minutes.

@ San Antonio (L 110-94): 2 points (1-1 FG), 2 rebounds, 9 minutes.

 

Aside from a couple of starts in the middle of the month because of frontcount injuries, there wasn’t anything noteworthy that happened to Noah Vonleh in December. However, when you look at Vonleh’s season as a whole you’ll find a very interesting trend.

His three-point shooting has completely disappeared, as Vonleh only attempted one long ball during the month of December. The last time Vonleh made a three-pointer was on November 17th against the Houston Rockets, which also marks the last time he attempted more than one three-pointer in a game. One of the biggest skills Vonleh had going for him as a prospect was the ability to shoot from long range and thus play stretch forward or even a small-ball center. Now Portland is using Vonleh like a traditional big man, and while it may just be a short-term position, seeing Vonleh’s three-point attempts fall from 16 in November to just one in December is a bit eye-popping.


Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

Season Averages:

10.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.4apg, 0.70spg, 1.07bpg, 1.1tpg, 3.2fpg, 59.0% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 65.1% FT, 26.3mpg (30 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Dallas (W 97-87): 6 points (3-5 FG), 7 rebounds, assist, block, 2 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

vs Minnesota (L 125-120): 6 points (3-7 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 4 blocks, 3 personal fouls, 35 minutes.

@ Dallas (W 109-101): 12 points (5-5 FG)(2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, assist, block, 3 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 24 minutes.

vs Detroit (W 87-77): 9 points (2-9 FG)(5-7 FT), 6 rebounds, block, 3 personal fouls, 32 minutes.

vs Orlando (W 109-88): 9 points (4-5 FG)(1-2 FT), 7 rebounds, assist, steal, turnover, personal foul, 22 minutes.

@ Cleveland (L 116-105): 17 points (7-8 FG)(3-4 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 23 minutes.

@ Indiana (L 110-94): 8 points (4-9 FG), 7 rebounds, assist, 2 blocks, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

@ Washington (L 109-106): 18 points (6-7 FG)(6-8 FT), 2 rebounds, assist, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 30 minutes.

@ Boston (L 96-88): 2 points (1-7 FG), 10 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, 3 blocks, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 27 minutes.

@ Atlanta (W 107-99): 16 points (8-14 FG), 11 rebounds, assist, steal, 2 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 117-113): 11 points (4-8 FG)(3-4 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 25 minutes.

vs Chicago (W 103-91): 13 points (5-9 FG)(3-4 FT), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, 2 blocks, turnover, personal foul, 32 minutes.

@ Brooklyn (L 120-118): 15 points (7-11 FG)(1-2 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 5 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

@ Orlando (W 120-101): 10 points (4-6 FG)(2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, turnover, 24 minutes.

vs Miami (W 91-82): 9 points (3-4 FG)(3-6 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, block, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

 

Cody Zeller continues to grow into the position of starting center for the Charlotte Hornets, and he also proved that his career-best season wasn’t an early-season fluke.

Zeller averaged 10.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks during the month of December, and while those stats are all pretty good for what is asked of him, the most important average Zeller put up was the 28.9 minutes per game.

With a career average of 22.1 minutes per game, Zeller has always had to split time at center with another player. The first three years it was Al Jefferson, and even though I thought Zeller wouldn’t have to split minutes with anyone this season, the Hornets made it clear in the preseason that Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes would split time with Zeller. Yet after a month where all three were healthy and Zeller still posted the his highest minutes per game in a single month, it seems like Zeller is finally getting the playing time he deserves.

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Indiana Flirts With Multiple School Records In Blowout Win Over Austin Peay

With Big Ten season about to start, the Indiana Hoosiers used their last tune-up game as a chance to make team history.

The Hoosiers flirted with three different school records during their 97-62 win over the Austin Peay Governors. They ultimately fell short on all three but the Hoosiers look more than ready for when they face Nebraska next Wednesday and transition to the conference play

Here is a look at the three school records that were within striking distance on Thursday:

Most Threes In A Game (Team):

  • IU Record: 19 vs Illinois (2016)
  • Attempt At Record: 15 vs Austin Peay (2016)

The magnitude of this record has gradually desensitized due to how many times this record has either been broken or threatened. This became the ninth time under Head Coach Tom Crean that the Hoosiers have made at least 15 three-pointers in a game. The Hoosiers have already broken the record twice in the past two years, hitting 18 against Minnesota during the 2014-2015 season and then breaking it the next season when the Hoosiers made 19 against Illinois. On Thursday, the Hoosiers made 11 three-pointers in the first half, making the necessary 20 to break the current record a realistic goal. After the final buzzer sounded, seven different Hoosiers made a three-pointer including Devonte Green, who made a half- court heave right before the halftime buzzer.

“Yeah, once you see one or two go down, the rim gets a little bigger,” said James Blackmon Jr. about the team’s three-point shooting.

Most Threes In A Game (Individual):

  • IU Record: 9 (Roderick Wilmont and Matt Roth)
  • Attempt At Record: 6 (Robert Johnson)

Robert Johnson opened the game on fire, hitting three three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game. It was so ridiculous that Johnson attempted a “heat-check” three (or basically a difficult shot you’re only allowed to attempt when you have made a couple in a row) with 15:35 still left in the first half. Johnson only slowed down a little as he finished the first half with five made shots from behind the arc. Yet the inevitable blowout cut Johnson’s time short in the second half as he only made one more deep ball after halftime. His six three-pointers set a new career-high and he fell one point shy of matching career-high for points in a game (he finished with 20).

“I was just getting a lot of open shots,” said Johnson about his performance. “It just happens the way we move the ball. It can be any guy at any time. So when you see an opening you just gotta take it.”

Most Assists In A Game (Individual):

  • IU Record: 15 (Michael Lewis and Keith Smart)
  • Attempt At Record: 11 (Josh Newkirk)

This seemed very realistic when Josh Newkirk dished back-to-back assists to Juwan Morgan with five minutes left in the first half. After the second layup went in, Newkirk had already accumulated eight assists after just 15 minutes. Newkirk was a big reason behind Johnson’s performance, assisting on four of his six three-pointers. In fact, seven of Newkirk’s 11 assists were on three-pointers. However, the most impressive thing about Newkirk’s performance was the fact that he didn’t commit his first turnover until six minutes into the second half, after he had already dished out his 11th and final assist of the night. Newkirk also recorded his first career double-double as he also scored 11 points.

“I was more in attack mode,” said Newkirk about his career-best night. “When I saw the defense colliding I just made the simple pass.”

 

 

Listing All The Career-Highs From Indiana’s Blowout WIn Over SIU Edwardsville

It was a night of career-bests for the Indiana Hoosiers during their 83-60 blowout win over SIU Edwardsville, as numerous players set career highs in several categories. Here is a rundown of every player who set a new personal-best and how they performed overall on Friday:

Juwan Morgan: In the absence of his close friend OG Anunoby,  Morgan really stepped up his game and came very close to putting his name in the IU record books. His 8 for 8 shooting night was one field goal short of the most field goal attempts without a miss (Will Sheehey once hit all nine of his shots). Nevertheless, Morgan will “settle” for earning his first career double-double, tying his best rebounding mark of 10, and setting a new career-high for points with 18.

“I think just mentally I’ve been thinking too much about shooting, I just got back to what I was at last year and (do) things that helped the team,” said Morgan about how he was able to have such a great performance on Friday. “I didn’t have to make plays or anything. If I ran hard and set a screen, I knew my teammates would find me.”

De’Ron Davis: The freshman big man had his best game yet, as he surpassed his career-high for points in the first half when he led the team with 10. He finished with 14 points and also set a new career-high for assists as he dished out three dimes.

“He did an excellent job with what the game was giving him,” said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean about Davis’ performance. “He played well and I think (he) will continue to grow as he gets healthy and as he gets into even better shape and he understands how hard he has to play for how long.”

Curtis Jones: Jones set a career high for playing time as he logged 21 minutes on Friday. He played well during that time too as he finished with seven points, two rebounds, and two assists.

Tim Priller: The junior came into the game rather early as he checked in for the first time with 9:18 left in the second half. Priller responded to the extra playing time by grabbing a career-high four rebounds. He also blocked a shot, the fourth of his career.

Grant Gelon: Just like Priller , Gelon too saw the court earlier than usual as he logged a career-high seven minutes. He scored two points and grabbed a rebound during that time.

 

Indiana Plays Like A Champion In Front Of 1981 Title Team, Beats #3 North Carolina

Before the game, former Indiana baseball star Kyle Swarber was honored for helping the Chicago Cubs win its first World Series in 108 years. During halftime, the 1981 Hoosiers were honored for winning the NCAA championship 35 years ago. Following each of those two events were two 20-minute periods that culminated in the 2016-2017 Indiana Hoosiers beating the #3 North Carolina Tar Heels 76-67 and looking very much like a team that could be honored on its own one day as a champion.

Coming off an impressive performance in Maui, the Tar Heels were put in an unfamiliar position as they never led once on Wednesday with the Hoosiers taking control of the game from the tip and never letting go thanks to some great defense and rebounding.

“Coach (Rob) Judson did a great job with the game plan”, said Rob Johnson about how the Hoosiers were able to slow down the explosive offense of the Tar Heels. “He gave us a breakdown of everything each guy liked to do. So we just wanted to take those away and make it tough for them.”

“We know their bigs are the best in the country”, said Thomas Bryant about the importance of keeping North Carolina off the glass, “and we knew that we had our work cut out for us at the beginning. So we wanted to establish that mindset and get out there and get after them.”

On the offensive side, OG Anunoby stepped up in a big way as he led the Hoosiers with 16 points and added five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the final minutes.

Anunoby is a bit of an enigma, as came onto the scene late during his freshman year as a three-and-D wing. This season, he’s trying to show that his athleticism can translate into him becoming a superstar. While not close to being one yet, his importance was clear last week when a serious illness kept from being much of a factor during the Hoosiers’ upset loss to Fort Wayne. That’s what makes his performance on Wednesday so encouraging and his ankle injury so potentially discouraging.

Yet even if Anunoby misses time, the Hoosiers showed they were a great TEAM on Wednesday with multiple players playing crucial roles in the victory.

  • Thomas Bryant (14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) scored seven of the Hoosiers first 11 second-half points to counter North Carolina’s comeback attempt in the early minutes after halftime.
  • Rob Johnson (11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) was the first half catalyst as he scored seven points and assisted on another basket to help the Hoosiers jump out to a 17-7 lead during the first six minutes.
  • James Blackmon Jr. (14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists) came back after missing the last game and grabbed six rebounds during the final 10 minutes of the game, including a couple of huge defensive rebounds that helped prevent the Tar Heels from narrowing the Hoosiers’ lead.
  • Josh Newkirk (10 points, 3 assists) did a great job running the offense at times and De’Ron Davis (5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) was a key part of the Hoosiers’ 13-4 run that ballooned the Indiana lead to 28-11 midway through the first half and also made a clutch post-up bucket with 3:02 left to push it to a three-basket Indiana lead.

People remember the 1981 Hoosiers as being Isiah Thomas’ team. While he was a big part of their success, they wouldn’t have cut down the nets if it weren’t for the play of Ted Kitchel, Ray Tolbert, Randy Wittman, and Landon Turner.

While it’s way too early to compare this season’s group of important players to those legends, the potential for them to work together and complete the same goal is a very real possibility. Anunoby, Bryant, Johnson, Blackmon, Newkirk, and Davis are all capable of playing a key role in winning a championship.

Just like Schwarber played a key role in the Cubs winning a championship.

Hoosiers In The NBA: Gordon’s Success As A Sixth Man

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:


Stat Comparison: Gordon As A Starter Vs Gordon As A Reserve

When James Harden moved to point guard, the idea of starting him along with Eric Gordon became a very intriguing idea from an offensive standpoint. However, with both players being less than stellar defenders it made more sense to have a plus defender start alongside Harden.

With Patrick Beverly finally healthy and Gordon fully entrenched in his role as sixth man, I wanted to compare Gordon’s performance as a starter to his performance off the bench:

Gordon as a starter: 15.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 39.6% FG, 36.1% 3FG, 32.3 minutes (8 games)

Gordon off the bench: 16.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 43.3% FG, 40.7% 3FG, 30.6 minutes (10 games)

One of the first things that stands out is that while Gordon’s statistical numbers are similar in both roles, the Houston Rockets have a much better record when Gordon comes off the bench, going 7-3 in those games compared to just 4-4 in games where Gordon starts.

Gordon has also had his best games this season when playing the role of sixth man, as four of his five 20+ point games have come in games he hasn’t started.

At the end of the day, the Rockets’ success will be tied to how well Harden plays, but it’s worth noting that Gordon is turning into a big asset for the Rockets as a secondary scorer coming off the bench.


Williams’s Chance To Start

The Memphis Grizzlies went through an injury apocalypse last season and this season isn’t starting off any better as the recent injury to Mike Conley is yet another blow to a promising team that is already without some key players.

For Troy Williams it’s somewhat bittersweet as two of those injured teammates are the players ahead of him on the depth chart (Chandler Parsons and James Ennis). As a result, Williams has been given the opportunity to start the past two games and will likely get a few more starts before one or both return in the next week or two.

During his second career start and first since November 1st, Williams played a huge role in helping the Grizzlies beat the Miami Heat as he scored a career-high 18 points, including two clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter that put the Grizzlies ahead.

While he’ll likely be relegated back to the bench soon, there’s a lot of hope that his performance these few starts will give him the confidence to make a bigger impact when comes off the bench in the future.


Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

Season Averages:

16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 0.72spg, 0.50bpg, 1.9tpg, 2.2fpg, 41.7% FG, 38.7% 3FG, 82.5% FT, 31.4mpg (18 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Oklahoma City (L 105-103): 13 points (5-20 FG), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, block, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 39 minutes.

vs Portland (W 126-109): 16 points (6-15 FG)(2-3 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 24 minutes.

vs Utah (W 111-102): 20 points (7-16 FG)(2-2 FT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 37 minutes.

@ Detroit (W 99-96): 0 points (0-5 FG), rebound, 2 assists, steal, block, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 29 minutes.

vs Toronto (L 115-102): 9 points (4-13 FG), rebound, 2 assists, steal, block, 4 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

@ Sacramento (W 117-104): 14 points (5-13 FG), 2 rebounds, assist, steal, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

@ Portland (W 130-114): 26 points (9-15 FG)(2-3 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, turnover, personal foul, 30 minutes.

@ Utah (L 120-101): 24 points (8-17 FG)(4-5 FT), 2 rebounds, assist, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 32 minutes.


Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Brooklyn Nets:

Season Averages:

5.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.9apg, 0.22spg, 0.22bpg, 1.6tpg, 1.2fpg, 35.4% FG, 29.6% 3FG, 62.5% FT, 16.6mpg (9 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Oklahoma City (L 124-105): 6 points (1-5 FG)(4-4 FT), 4 rebounds, assist, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 19 minutes.

vs Portland (L 129-109): 0 points (0-3 FG), assist, 12 minutes.

vs Boston (L 111-92): 0 points (0-3 FG), rebound, 8 minutes.

@ Indiana (L 118-97): 10 points (3-9 FG)(2-4 FT), 2 rebounds, steal, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 21 minutes.

vs Sacramento (L 122-105): 5 points (2-6 FG), rebound, assist, block, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 17 minutes.

vs Los Angeles Clippers (W 127-122): DNP – coach’s decision


Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

Season Averages:

16.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.00spg, 0.37bpg, 1.7tpg, 1.9fpg, 46.0% FG, 40.2% 3FG, 67.4% FT, 34.6mpg (19 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Houston (W 105-103): 29 points (12-18 FG), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 40 minutes.

vs Brooklyn (W 124-105): 26 points (11-17 FG)(1-1 FT), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

vs Indiana (L 115-111): 14 points (6-14 FG), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 38 minutes.

@ Los Angeles Lakers (L 111-109): 14 points (6-13 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, block, 3 turnovers, personal foul, 39 minutes.

@ Sacramento (L 116-101): 18 points (7-15 FG)(1-2 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 36 minutes.

@ Denver (W 132-129): 26 points (11-19 FG)(2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, turnover, personal foul, 42 minutes.

vs Detroit (W 106-88): 18 points (6-10 FG)(3-6 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 2 personal fouls, 33 minutes.

@ New York (W 112-103): 8 points (4-11 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, steal, block, 2 personal fouls, 31 minutes.


Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

Season Averages:

3.1ppg, 3.4rpg, 0.1apg, 0.27spg, 0.47bpg, 0.9tpg, 1.5fpg, 35.6% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 88.9% FT, 11.7mpg (15 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Houston (L 126-109): 9 points (3-5 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 16 minutes.

@ New Orleans (L 113-101): 0 points (0-1 FG), 6 rebounds, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 16 minutes.

@ Brooklyn (W 129-109): 2 points (1-1 FG), 3 rebounds, steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 6 personal fouls, 15 minutes.

@ New York (L 107-103): 2 points (0-0 FG)(2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, block, 2 turnovers, 6 minutes.

@ Cleveland (L 137-125): 0 points (0-2 FG), 5 rebounds, turnover, personal foul, 14 minutes.

vs New Orleans (W119-104): 0 points (0-2 FG), rebound, assist, steal, 5 minutes.

vs Houston (L 130-114): DNP – coach’s decision


Troy Williams: Forward, Memphis Grizzlies:

Season Averages:

4.8ppg, 1.1rpg, 0.7apg, 0.58spg, 0.17bpg, 0.7tpg, 1.3fpg, 48.8% FG, 30.8% 3FG, 55.0% FT, 12.8mpg (12 games)

Recent Game Logs:

@ Los Angeles Clippers (W 111-107): 2 points (1-1 FG), assist, steal, personal foul, 9 minutes.

@ Dallas (W 80-64): 0 points (0-0 FG), turnover, 2 minutes.

vs Minnesota (W 93-71): 2 points (1-1 FG), personal foul, 2 minutes.

@ Charlotte (W 105-90): 0 points (0-1 FG), 4 minutes.

@ Philadelphia (W 104-99): DNP – coach’s decision

vs Miami (L 90-81): 9 points (4-8 FG)(0-2 FT), 6 rebounds, steal, block, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 20 minutes.

@ Miami (W 110-107): 18 points (6-12 FG)(4-6 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 35 minutes.

vs Charlotte (L 104-85): 9 points (4-9 FG)(1-3 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, personal foul, 31 minutes.


Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

Season Averages:

11.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.3apg, 0.53spg, 1.07bpg, 0.8tpg, 3.3fpg, 60.2% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 61.8% FT, 23.6mpg (15 games)

Recent Game Logs:

vs Atlanta (W 100-96): 23 points (9-10 FG)(5-7 FT), 3 rebounds, assist, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 31 minutes.

@ New Orleans (L 121-116): DNP – injury

vs Memphis (L 105-90): DNP – injury

vs San Antonio (L 119-114): DNP – injury

@ New York (L 113-111): 15 points (7-10 FG)(1-4 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 23 minutes.

vs New York (W 107-102): 11 points (2-7 FG)(7-12 FT), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 2 blocks, 5 personal fouls, 25 minutes.

@ Memphis (W 104-85): 3 points (1-3 FG)(1-2 FT), 8 rebounds, assist, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 21 minutes.

vs Detroit (L 112-89): 8 points (4-6 FG), 10 rebounds, steal, block, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 28 minutes.

Three Things The Hoosiers Can Learn From Their Upset Loss In Fort Wayne

Eleven days after the Indiana Hoosiers upset the Kansas Jayhawks in overtime, the Hoosiers found themselves getting upset by the Fort Wayne Mastodons 71-68 in overtime.

While some might argue that Tuesday’s loss negates the impact of that classic opening night victory, I actually think this could be a positive building block for a team that should still have the same aspirations as they did coming into this game. The key will be whether or not the Hoosiers learn from the mistakes that cost them their first loss of the season.

Here are three things the Hoosiers can learn from this loss to become even better later on in the season:

  1. Be less reliant on the three-pointer: Success from behind the three-point line has been a huge factor for several years in determining whether the Hoosiers won or lost. Yet it feels like this year’s team is even more reliant. Look no further than the first four minutes of the game where five of the first six IU shots where from deep. Indiana went 1 for 5 and fell behind 13-3. A similar thing happened at the beginning of the Kansas game when IU’s first eight shots were from deep. The difference then was that the Hoosiers went 4 of 8 on those shots. No team in the country is as lethal from behind the arc, but that can’t be your whole offense. Expect to see the Hoosiers run an offense more like the one shown in the second half where the ball always went through the post, whether it was a long-range jumper or not.
  2. Become more consistent from the free throw line: Granted the Hoosiers have already made a couple of clutch free throws so far this season, but the foul shooting as a whole really needs to improve. Indiana was already shooting a lackluster 70.4% (57 of 81) from the charity stripe before shooting 57.9% (11 of 19) against the Mastrodons. While Bryant’s two free throws at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime, the game was lost in part to missing the front-end of two one-and-ones in the extra period. Practice is the only way to get better, and considering the shooting talent on this roster, this team has the potential to be close to automatic from the free throw line.
  3. Take better care of the ball/adjust to the pace: In addition to three-point shooting, another staple of recent Indiana teams is the breakneck pace. However, going at a such a fast pace has made the Hoosiers very susceptible to committing turnovers either because they are going too fast or they become too impatient when the opponent slows down the tempo. It’s the second one that hurts the most as the turnovers are compounded by the fact that the other team is limiting the number of possessions in the game. Being able to adjust to a slower pace and limiting mistakes have been an key attributes of recent successful Hoosier teams (2013 and 2016) and will need to be a key attribute for this team if Indiana wants to reach its potential.

The New And Improved James Blackmon Jr. And Three Other Observations From Indiana’s Blowout Win Over UMass-Lowell

After coming off an emotional high of beating the Kansas Jayhawks in Hawaii to start the 2016-2017 season, the Indiana Hoosiers took care of business in their home-opener by defeating the UMass-Lowell River Hawks 100-78.

It was evident early in the game that the aftereffects of the overtime thriller as well as the jetlag of traveling five time zones had caused the Hoosiers to start relatively sluggish, clinging to a 16-16 tie by the under-12 media timeout. Yet the hero from the Armed Forces Classic came alive yet again as James Blackmon Jr. had 15 of his game-high 23 points during the final 11:30 of the first half to help the Hoosiers seize control of the game as they took a 53-36 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“I think there’s a confidence when they look at him”, said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean about the impact Blackmon makes on the offense.

Coach Crean also talked about the fact that Blackmon made himself become physically stronger while returning from his injury and how it has improved his game.

“James is a lot more explosive than what he was. He could always dunk and things like that but he’s playing with more force. He’s playing downhill more. He’s covering more ground.”

His new strength combined with an iron-willed determination to make up for all the time he lost last season, points to this likely being the norm we’ll see from Blackmon Jr. this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he eventually steps into Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell’s shoes and becomes the Hoosiers undisputed leader.

However that wasn’t the only thing I noticed during my first trip to Assembly Hall this season. Here are three others:

  1. Last Saturday it was Curtis Jones’ 15 points (including some big shots in overtime) that stood out from Indiana’s freshman class. Wednesday was Devonte Green’s time to shine as he finished with six points (two of which resulted in an explosive one-handed dunk) and four steals, which makes him the first Hoosier to have that many steals in a game since Blackmon Jr. did it against Alcorn State during the beginning of last season. It’s starting to look like this freshman class could play an integral part in the Hoosiers’ success.
  2. De’Ron Davis had some clutch free throws late against Kansas, but against UMass-Lowell he scored eight points and it was how he scored those four baskets that’s important. Each came on a variety of post moves where he took his defender one-on-one and beat him to the bucket. If Davis is able to do this on a nightly basis, it would make an already potent offense even more dangerous for opponents.
  3. While it would be great to see more Davis post-ups, I’d similarly like to see Thomas Bryant take more three-point shots when they are given to him. Bryant showed off his range in small quantities last year before hitting two big ones in the early minutes of the Kansas game. He has a great stroke, but on numerous occasions he was given up a wide-open look because he either hesitated until a defender closed in on him or he passed it to another open teammate. I understand why he’s not taking these shots (play decoy and cause the defense to scramble), but sooner or later teams will dare him to shoot and I know he has the ability to make those teams pay if he actually takes those shots.