2008-2009 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Preview
Indiana Hoosiers - Big Ten
2007-08: 25-8, 14-4, 3rd
2007-08 postseason: NCAA
I guess Kelvin Sampson was not the answer. After a year and a half of starting to successfully return Indiana slightly closer to its glory days, the floor fell out from underneath the Hoosiers basketball program. Now Coach Sampson is gone and the Hoosiers picked up Coach Tom Crean from Marquette. Coach Crean has to turn around the program and do it the right way. It will be a difficult task and one that will not be done in merely a year or two.
Who’s Out for the Hoosiers:
Only two players, who hardly played at all, are back on the Hoosiers roster. That leaves a ton of talent that is gone from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament. Eric Gordon, D.J. White, Armond Bassett, Jordan Crawford, Jamarcus Ellis, Lance Stemler, DeAndre Thomas and Mike White saw a majority of the playing time. However, the list continues down the depth chart a ways with A.J. Ratliff, Brandon McGee, Eli Holman and Adam Ahlfeld. That is quite the list.
Who’s In for Indiana:
With two players returning, this is obviously a huge and very important group of newcomers. The frontcourt has a couple of decent big men in Tijan Jobe and Tom Pritchard. Jobe, a junior college transfer, is a seven-footer with an amazing wingspan. Jobe’s lack of offense will probably keep him out of the starting lineup, but he should be a solid defender under the basket. Pritchard is a more dynamic threat on the offensive end and can score around the basket or step out and hit the mid-range jumper. He will also be asked to do a majority of the rebounding on this team. Jobe and Pritchard are the tallest players on the roster, but 6-6 freshmen Kory Barnett and Broderick Lewis may have to provide some depth at the four spot. Devan Dumes, Steven Gambles, Verdell Jones III, Daniel Moore, Matt Roth, Malik Story and Nick Williams are the newcomers in the backcourt and on the wings.
Who to Watch:
And it is that group on the perimeter that could carry IU to a surprising win or two. Jones, a 6-5 freshman, will run the point. He is not the speediest point guard around, but he has enough quickness to get the job done. His ball handling skills are solid and his versatility to play the one or two guard spot will be very beneficial to the Hoosiers. Dumes started his career at Eastern Michigan before heading to the junior college ranks. The shooting guard will be asked to do a lot of scoring and he can knock down a ton of three-pointers. Dumes is probably the guy who will have to take the big shots and lead this team in scoring. Roth, Story and Williams will compete for the starting job beside Dumes and all of them will have to be major contributors. Roth is the best pure shooter on the team and will likely be a shooter off the bench. Story is a solid all-around scorer who should provide an immediate spark to the offense. It is Williams’ ability to rebound that will probably put him in the starting five. Williams is a decent slasher and should do plenty of scoring around the basket.
Final 2008-2009 Indiana Projection:
Brett Finkelmeier and Kyle Taber are the lone returning players. Finkelmeier is a walk-on who only played in seven games last year, so he will likely be a ways down the bench again this year. Taber will have to do a lot more. Last year the 6-8 forward tallied 1.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in limited action. His role will increase, but more importantly his leadership will have to be better. Understandably, Taber was not much of a leader on the court since he only averaged 11.2 minutes per contest, but that needs to change this year if the Hoosiers have any hope of not finishing last in the Big Ten.
Projected Postseason Tournament: none
2008 Indiana Basketball Projected Starting Five:
Verdell Jones III, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Devan Dumes, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Nick Williams, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Kyle Taber, Senior, Forward, 1.3 points per game
Tom Pritchard, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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