‘Nearly invisible’ is probably not a good thing

Let me first say this: I love Ken Pomeroy. If Ken Pomeroy (and his site, kenpom.com) were a religion, I would be giving up the whole Catholicism thing. The guy is a huge stat nerd, but he really knows the game of basketball — I called him a couple of years back and he talked for 15 minutes about the ineffectiveness of Javier Gonzalez and Farnold Degand. Who are Gonzalez and Degand? Exactly. The guy knows his stuff.

Which is why I put quite a bit of weight into his stats, which seek to take tempo out of the game and allow us a better view of which teams and which individuals are the best in the country. And he waits for a solid sample size, which is why he just broke down the key players on every team.

And, well, that was not good news for Tom Pritchard, Jordan Hulls and Tijan Jobe. All three have been labeled, for the moment, by Pomeroy as “nearly invisible.”

What does that mean? The best I can figure, the percentage of minutes these three play has not led to significant contributions. Not startling for anyone who has watched the games thus far this season, but “nearly invisible” is a damning phrase.

What about the flip side? Verdell Jones, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford are the team’s “major contributors.” Jeremiah Rivers, Derek Elston and Devan Dumes fall into the “significant contributor” category, while Bobby Capobianco is a “role player.”

Creek has the highest offensive rating on the team, and is actually 103rd nationally. He’s also third in turnover percentage.

Rivers has a turnover percentage of 32.4, worse than anyone but Jobe’s (a jaw-dropping 61.6). Watford has done a nice job of drawing fouls, and Elston has been the team’s best overall rebounder.

Oh, and Pomeroy also likes to predict a team’s overall record. He has Indiana winning its next four, including that Big Ten opener against Michigan, but winning only once the rest of the way, at home against Iowa, to finish with a 10-20 record.

29 comments

  1. maybe this is why i am feeling that elston needs to be starting over pritchard.. pritchard is invisible because hes always on the bench with foul trouble..

  2. I too like Pomeroy’s research for performance analysis. But like Moose I’m surprised with the 10 W’s. I don’t normally predict W/L records but with accelerated progress of two players in particular I did think we would be much closer to a .500 season. All though no doubt the long B10 season will take a toll on a young player.

  3. Why did we recruit a Mr. Basketball?

    I’ll be the first to admit that I was a doubter of Jordan Hulls.. With the complete decimation of our basketball program by the indiscriminate wielding sledgehammer of the NCAA, Crean’s decision to completely gut the roster and start fresh, and the “New Generation” of Hoosiers selected to be part of the rebuilding phase to bring back the hearts of the faithful fans, I just figured Hulls was recruited to restore some of that lost apple pie image..Hulls being the Bloomington South local boy à la mode to bring back the old school alumni fan base….Fred Glass was our new Aunt Bee….Tom Crean came in as Sheriff Andy Taylor…Tijan Jobe our goodhearted Deputy Barney Fife(the shoot yourself in the foot klutz we all can’t help loving.). And then came Jordy…Wasn’t Jordy to be the star of the show?…Who’s going to watch if Opie is not in an episode? Mayberry has come to Bloomington. But are all the characters finally in place?…All with the exception of Jordy.

    All kidding aside, where does Jordan Hulls fit into this basketball program? Where does he fit in if we claim to rights one of those 5-star guards we’re all getting futuristically dreamy over?..Did we recruit the runt with the highest basketball honor from our state so he could blister his butt in his one and only season of realistic playing time before the sea of superstar guards arrive? Is there an upperclassmen honor code that will forever keep him glued to the bench this year? Is Crean reluctant to put Rivers on the bench? Why is he reluctant? What is there to lose? Does he not shine in practice? Practice means crap! Give the kid a chance to lead on the floor…The more Hulls sits on bench, the lower his game will fall..the more his shooting touch will elude…the more his confidence will wane.

    Is one outside scoring threat going to be enough to have any shot at winning against teams in the Big Ten; teams that will possess more muscle and experience under the basket than our young Hoosiers?
    I’ve had enough time to evaluate Rivers and Jones…..Jones has demonstrated some improvement, but a slow release hampers the slim window of opportunity to take advantage of his open shots from the outside…I think he is still weak driving to the basket and often has trouble protecting the ball in the lane.
    Rivers has had spurts of greatness..Also spurts of horrible inconsistency…He is unquestionably athletic ….He’s a powerful kid providing great size to defend the backcourt….There are definite positives on finding considerable minutes for Rivers. Unfortunately, I’ve not been impressed with his decision making and court direction. He has no jump shot…He often bricks free throws(22-38, .579)..If you’re not reliable at the stripe, then is there great advantage in always going hard to the basket? He’ll never be a scoring threat from the outer limits to compliment Creek…The more teams key on Creek, the more difficult it will become for us to find the points from the perimeter…Kentucky clamped down on Creek in the second half and we couldn’t find more points from the outside or in a middle dominated by Kentucky’s athleticism and size…Those cocky 5-stars, anxiously awaiting their one-and-done season to conclude and move on to multimillion dollar contracts and a game where showboating and slacking defense is the norm, were likely given quite the tongue lashing at halftime to start playing defense on Creek…I’m diverting ….Let’s get back to the Hoosiers and Hulls..If not Creek, where will consistency from the outside come? Who will drain the open shot when the window is barely cracked open? Who will claim enough deep scoring respect to draw his defender out and thus free up the middle? In the limited minutes Hulls has played the point guard position, I see more of a floor general. I see a kid that moves the basketball with passes and doesn’t stymie the offense with ridiculous attempts to dribble into crowds and clog up the paint..I see a kid that can shoot the deep 3-ball from corner pocket…With more time on the court he could become equally dangerous as Creek…I see a kid that won’t come up empty at the stripe when he draws fouls driving into the trees…I see a leader. Why should he is erased from opportunity to prove what he can do in a starting role? What better time than now? Three games in December…..Maybe even a Michigan start.. Let him strip himself the Opie Taylor image and show there was a reason he was Mr. Basketball. I think he’s up to the challenge..I think he’s got GAME, GUMPTION, GUTS, and GLORY written all over his GRUMPY face..GIVE Hulls a chance!

  4. I’m sure you were trying for humor with your comment about Catholicism, but in these secular times I would have been more impressed if you would have put a statistical approach to sports somewhere behind your religious beliefs.

  5. correction: “Why should he [be] erased from opportunity to prove what he can do in a starting role?”

  6. I think Rivers is comparable to Chris Kramer at Purdue…kid with a high BB IQ, plays hard, knows the offense, plays hard-nosed defense and tries to make something happen. Rivers usually tries too hard to make something happen; although he has significantly reduced his turnovers lately. I would like to know what is his assist to turnover ratio. All in all I like Rivers he is a tough player who just needs to slow down a bit. I do agree with the assessment of Pritchard. TP simply is too slow and a step behind. He needs to anticipate much better. I’d like to see Elston start, or TP should develop a running/moving hook shot ala Jabbar or Benson. A hook shot would give him another weapon as he is too slow to pull the trigger on a short jumper, plus he lacks the spring to get a slam dunk off quickly.

  7. I could see Jordan developing into a consistent leader down the road but not as equally dangerous as Creek offensively. Thats quite a stretch!

  8. Hey, “A Case” if you can’t dazzle them footwork, baffle them with bs. Keep trying, I am sure with continued work you’ll get there. That was 700 words, or so, that said absolutely nothing. I thought you were talking about Roth.

  9. Jay you didn’t say much either, although with not as many words. Plus, you don’t split your messages like you used to, and the effect is not nearly as im

  10. Mike Tyson,
    1. I have both ear lobes in tact, thank you for asking.
    2. I was not aware that my cursor bouncing around was important to you, or anyone else.
    3. You want a message in a few words? I thought the statement “I thought you were talking about Roth” was saying quite a bit.

  11. It’s a little much to expect Hulls to be a major contributor this year, but for my part, I value the fact that he doesn’t turn the ball over much and does the best he can on defense (against UK, he was always guarding a future lottery pick it seems–tough to really make much of an impact other than not getting burned). And he hits 3-pointers when he occasionally takes them. I think he hit 2 against UK. It’s not like he goes out there and kicks the ball around. I’m not worried about his ability to contribute over the course of his career.

  12. eric-

    I think he’s being undervalued and underutilized..We may be overlooking Napoleon in candy stripes. Give him a chance to lead us into battle. What is to lose?

    Tom mcg-

    I was following up a statement on 3-point shooting effectiveness…I wasn’t comparing overall skills….Hulls could become as dangerous from the outside as Creek. The main focus: Why not give Hulls a chance to start at point guard? The statistical expert cited above(Ken Pomeroy) predicts the Hoosiers to finish 10-20..What is lost by building chemistry with our other freshman now? What is wrong with giving Hulls a majority of minutes at point guard for a few games. I think he’s shown a lot of maturity in accepting his limited role…This is a kid that led his team to a Class 4A state championship…Has there ever been a Mr. Basketball recruited by Indiana University given such limited time on the court his freshman year?

    Jay-

    I’m flattered by your repeated stalking..You’re very sweet, but I’m not interested in a love connection.

    Roth has no foot speed..I don’t think he can bring the ball up against a hard press with the same effectiveness as Hulls…A deadly long range bomber, but strictly a shooting guard.

  13. “A Case”, no love connection you can relax. You are not the only person that thinks Hulls is good, me included. Can he be a factor in major college bb that is the question? A coach plays the players that present the best opportunity to win. If Mr. Basketball is not one those five, what would you do? Hulls will have 3 years left, if you are correct he’ll develop into the player that everyone hopes for.
    Don’t you deserve stalking? How many names have you taken, how many cynical statements have you made, do you remember aisle #17 and looking for #13 brass wood screws, to what end? Are you happier? No one made fun of your tear jerking recollections of going to Bloomington with you family before Thanksgiving. How soon we don’t forget.

  14. A Case,

    I too would like to see more of Hulls. Hopefully as this season evolves he is given more game time opportunities to adjust to the college game.

    Tom Coverdale was the Mr. Basketball in 1999. He rarely saw time in that 1999-2000 season. Think it was only a few games and sparse minutes per game. Knight and later Davis admitted they should have redshirted him.

    It will be interesting to see how Hulls’ IU career plays out. Will he get lost in a guard shuffle down the road when IU hopefully lands those 4 and 5 star recruits. Who knows? All he can do right now is make the most out of the opportunity that Crean is giving him.

    For his sake it probably would be in his best interest to take a few more shots and not be as hestitant to drive. He’s a smart player (probably the highest b-ball IQ for the freshman class). But not making a mistake by not proactively getting involved only can only get you so far.

    Production from Hulls will have to eventually come or he’ll get lost in the rotation.

    Does that have to come now, maybe not. But down the road Jordan will have to be more assertive as a playmaker.

    Cheers,
    PB

  15. Well, I know Hulls can hit the 3 but I still dont think he has the range that Creek does. I also fail to see how him not starting this early in his college career would cause him to deteriorate.

  16. Does anyone really think Hulls expects to start or steal a lot of playing time from the junior above him on the depth chart? I highly doubt his morale or mental makeup are being tested that much simply because he doesn’t see a lot of time. Most freshman with a more athletic, older player in front of them don’t see much time in their first year.

    For that matter, in a normal team situation, we wouldn’t be relying on any of our freshmen nearly as much as we’re forced to. If Hulls really is the intelligent, team-oriented player he’s portrayed to be, then I think it’s safe to say he understands his role.

    I’m guessing he’ll see more time in the next three games, given the drop in competition, and that will undoubtedly be helpful, but he needs to get stronger, faster and more decisive before he earns the right to play in big-time games.

    Let’s also not forget that Rivers has another year after this season. I think it’d be hasty to begin grooming Hulls at the expense of Rivers’ senior season. Rivers is clearly better overall and has the athletic ability to run the floor, and I think it’s reasonable to assume that he’ll continue to improve and iron out the kinks in his game before next year.

    I’d rather have Rivers continue to get the bulk of the play this year so HE can improve. By that time, Hulls will have a full year of working with and under Rivers, and Rivers will be smarter with the ball, and ideally will combine smarter-decision making with his already athletic abilities.

    Honestly, during the Kentucky game, I felt uneasy and nervous every time Hulls came in. In games against superior athletes, I just don’t think he can hang at this point. Does anyone else share that sentiment?

  17. Kentucky spent almost the entire game attacking the guard opposite Rivers in the zone, be it Creek or Hulls. They were also very intent on attacking Hull’s dribble. He’ll be ok, and has already made good progress. He’s not better than Rivers. Just ask Calipari.

  18. Jay,

    2. Sorry I thought that was your signature move.
    1. Funny, but don’t worry, they’re safe.
    3. Didn’t understand the Roth reference. Cheers!

  19. That’s the funny things about statistics, they’re only useful when they’ve been determined to be “statistically significant”, or unlikely to have occurred by chance. That Pomeroy waits this long into the season to provide his individual statistical analysis is also to say these results are just now becoming statistically significant. But, as Hugh professes, his analysis as unbelievable as it is useful. However, it doesn’t quite qualify as gospel at this point in the season. Rather, consider it a jumping off point. As more data is compiled, the picture will become clearer, and, thus, the results more meaningful.

    From here, I’d expect: Pritchard’s stats to remain marginal & relatively unchanged; Jobe’s will slightly improve; & Hulls’ will rise significantly. Aside from our team’s aversion to feeding the post in the half-court offense, Pritchard & Jobe appear to have a relatively low ceiling, & the increasingly grinding & well-scouted rigors of the Big 10 won’t aid them much in increasing their productivity. Hulls, however, has a much higher ceiling & will only find room for growth within Crean’s system and the dynamics of conference play. Though it’s evident that he’s taking some time adjusting to the speed and athleticism of D-1 ball, his entire game is built around finding his niche in each particular contest & leaning on the most complimentary aspects of his game to contribute to his team’s success.

    Thus, if Pomeroy is only beginning to find significance in his statistical analysis, even he would likely agree that his analysis today may only be 66% accurate by season’s end. For the sake of Jordy & our W’s column, let’s all hope so.

  20. Hulls, however, has a much higher ceiling & will only find room for growth within Crean’s system and the dynamics of conference play. Though it’s evident that he’s taking some time adjusting to the speed and athleticism of D-1 ball, his entire game is built around finding his niche in each particular contest & leaning on the most complimentary aspects of his game to contribute to his team’s success.

    Great thoughts, Chronic.

    GAME, GUMPTION, GUTS, and GLORY…Give Hulls more PT and his growth would accelerate exponentially. Statistical analysis is a bubble world perspective that doesn’t look at opportunity cost, leadership ability, camaraderie, court awareness, and all the other intangibles that can create the chemistry to build a nucleus of winning attitude and belief in attainable results. It’s part of Hulls core and it sits on bench..He might as well change his name to Danny Moore or Brett Finkelmeier.

    BLAST FROM THE PAST:

    Hulls picks IU
    • By Chris Korman | Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    • Mike P | May 22nd, 2008 at 9:02 am |

    Your right, Jordy is a true point guard, something this team has not had in a while. I have said before that he is a floor general, he runs the show and makes things happen. He will be fun to watch.

    • Tim | May 21st, 2008 at 11:19 am |
    Bottom line is . . . Crean has a plan. He knows the kind of players that will fit into his system and fill the roles on his team. Not everyone has to be a 5 star recruit, who will average 20 points per game at IU. Hulls is a solid point guard prospect who thinks “pass first’, and can shoot the ball when needed. Nothing wrong with that on a team that will push the ball up the floor offensively which requires a point guard to make smart decisions with the basketball. (i.e. Bobby Hurley with Duke.) Anyone with a little knowledge of the game knows that teams with solid point guards to direct the offense, distribute the ball to the open man, make the open shot, handle the ball during crunch time, and make clutch free throws are teams that go deep into the tourney, come March. Obviously, Crean feels like Hulls could fill that role. He’s our Coach, let’s trust his decisions until he proves otherwise.

    • Laffy | May 20th, 2008 at 6:16 pm |

    Sorry, but how many f-ing 3 Star guards do we need? Is he even a Top 150 player?

    Count me as one who is unimpressed with all the 3 Stars or worse we’ve stockpiled.

    First, a 7 foot kid who gets 3 points/rebounds in JUCO and now, ANOTHER guard that we don’t need.

    Yipee!!

    • Mike P | May 20th, 2008 at 6:52 pm |

    I am pumped. Jordan will be a solid player and a team leader all 4 years at IU. He is a lot better of a player than most of you know or that he has got credit for. Just follow what he does in AAU and his senior year at South next year. He will be a solid 4 star recruit before it is said and done.

    That said, I am more pumped for Jordan and that all his hard work and dedication has paid off and is giving him this opportunity in life.

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+

    Source: Rivers commits to IU
    • By Chris Korman | Monday, May 26, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    • ALLMU | May 29th, 2008 at 11:10 am |

    Hilarious. Rivers has no offensive skills to showcase – too funny! Crean is up to his old tricks – quantity not quality, too many guards, not enough big bodies. Wait and see. He’ll have half of the team with injuries or out of gas before the season is half over because he runs bad practices. The guy is a good recruiter, poor coach.

    And by the way, I’d have loved for Knight to replace Crean at Marquette. He’d take them to the final 4 this upcoming season. It’d have been the ultimate irony and a big FY to Indiana.

    • Mike P | May 28th, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    Anyone else have a bad feeling about this kid and his attitude coming here?

    This kid is leaving Georgetown, and according to the HoosiersHQ article he told The Indianapolis Star that the Hoyas offense didn’t showcase his talents.

    Has Georgetown changed coaches since Rivers originally committed or started there? If not, I worry about him fitting into Crean’s system, considering he couldn’t evaluate the Georgetown system to know if it was a good fit.

    To me this kid sounds bent on being the star, and making the team about him, and his talents.

    Maybe I am wrong, and I hope I am, but this just feels bad.

  21. Nice thoughts Casey.

    I’m not too uncomfortable watching him with the ball. I think by the Big Ten, Jordan will hold his own. He’s not doing too bad all things considered. Jordie’s played top tier talent on the AAU circuit Believe he played Wall’s team this past summer. Although it’s not the same as D1 college ball, it counts for something.

    Hopefully when the Big Ten season is in full swing Hulls min per game will be up towards 20 minutes. You never know, he may even get some starts thrown in there.

    With the added bump in playing time his stats should increase for the better and he most likely would enter the Pomeroy “role player” zone.

    Unfortunately, right now his stats look like Luke Jimenez, not what one would expect from a Indiana Mr. Basketball.

    Best case scenario would have Jordie perform like Michael Lewis (the all-time assists leader at IU) did his freshman year. We’d all be happy with that.

    For now the body of work is incomplete.

  22. Hulls watching Wall fly over him for the dunk is why he does not play ahead of Rivers. I hope the best for Jordan because it helps IU. I’m not convinced he has the skill set to be a Big Ten player.

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