Let’s talk about big men

Typically, the opposing head coach does not come into the Assembly Hall press room during the postgame. Peegs usually goes to talk to the coach, and someone from IU’s media relations staff records the whole thing and gives us a quote sheet afterwards.

Included in the morsels of knowledge from South Carolina State coach Tim Carter was this:

“One thing we really thought coming into the game was that their post players were not typical Big Ten post players, low post offensive guys. I spent four years in the Big Ten. We thought they might not be as good on the low block as what most Big Ten teams are on the low block. I don’t think that we tried to exploit that because they’re much bigger and stronger than we are. We just got a little lucky I think.”

Ouch. Suffice to say, Carter is probably not going to be on the Christmas card list of the Elstons, Pritchards or Capobiancos.

But he’s far from the only one to make such a statement. A lengthy discussion was held during the live chat last night about this very subject.

Here, through 11 games, are each of the three post player’s lines:

Derek Elston — 15.2 minutes a game, 6.3 points, 3.9 rebounds

Bobby Capobianco — 7.5 minutes, 2.4 points, 1.8 rebounds

Tom Pritchard — 17.5 minutes, 1.9 points, 4.4 rebounds

Combined, that’s 40.2 minutes, 10.7 points and 10. 1 rebounds. Not a tremendous amount of production, to say the least.

So, in your mind, what is the answer? Do one of the three just need 25-30 minutes a game? Should it be a game-by-game thing, determined by matchups? Is the only answer the commitment of a true center?

Discuss in comments.


  1. Elston…even though out of position sometimes needs 25-30 minutes a game, if not more. He will improve this way! Pritch looks awful throwing his hip into people at the top of the key and Capo has taken 2 steps back I think. Just my 2 cents!

  2. I think Pritchards minutes need to be cut by at least half. Elston should play 25-30 minutes a game. I feel if Elston played consistently over 20 mins he could get around 8-12 pts a game. Also Capobianco could double his minutes because he can score a bit too and is a good big body down low. Pritchard is just a statistical nightmare. He averages about double the fouls that he does points in a game.

  3. We don’t have a typical sit on the block post player. I think you are making a bigger deal of the quote than it is, because he is right. Zeller will help this issue

  4. Elston is the best offensive option and provides more energy. Pritch is the best defender (Elston gets lost too much). Capo is too slow. The answer to the 5 position question, however, isn’t wearing an IU uniform yet.

  5. I agree with the thoughts above, the answer in the post was vetoed by the NCAA. Our remaining players have some issues in trying to fill this role. I was surprised at how South Carolina State exploited our post defense in the first half yesterday.

    I think that this makes Rivers much more valuable as he is a tenacious rebounder and accepts readily the task of defending taller players.

    Agree also that Elston is the best offensive option (hence good choice to play with Rivers) and Pritch is the best defensive option (perhaps better choice to play with Sheehey and Oladipo).

  6. GFD, I agree. What is funny to me are all the people who posted negative comments toward Guy…now I wonder what those same people have to say!

  7. Guys, let’s really think about this, though. Certainly, Pritchard is more fundamentally sound on defense, but I don’t think you can consider offensive and defensive prowess separately when determining who should be receiving the majority of the playing time.

    Think about it — even if Pritchard is playing lights out defense, he’s only averaging two points per game. That’s to say, that even if he held his man to a lower-than-average output, he himself wouldn’t be able to match it with only two points.

    Meanwhile, while Elston may yield more points on defense, he scores a lot more on offense than the other two options, and spreads the floor with a solid mid-range jumper, which helps open up opportunities for other players.

    I think it’s important to look at net effect, and to consider both sides of the ball.

    So what’s your answer to the question? Which player has the greatest net effect on the game, and should thus play more than his counterparts?

  8. The problem is that we have forwards trying to play center. If Muniru would have worked out; or if Michel had been eligible, we would have had a center who, while not a scorer, could have at least played defense down low and blocked shots and rebounded. In turn, the 3 players discussed in this story would have then been free to mostly play forward (with spot duty at center), making that position deeper.

    It is correct that our post players aren’t the kind of brawlers maybe you’d expect, but it’s also true that with a balanced roster (that is, the arrival of Zeller, Perea and Jurkin the next 2 years), they’d be playing their natural position and be more effective. They’re good Big Ten forwards (esp. Elston), but only serviceable Big Ten centers.

  9. The question becomes can IU, without a true low post option, force their style on other teams? Pushing the ball up the floor…spreading the offense…..good pressure on the opposing guards….help side defense. That’s a tough thing to do throughout the entire Big Ten season.

    But without a viable 35 minute-a-game center they have no other choice. Eric is right that IU is playing with forwards at center.

  10. Elston should be allowed to play more and develop as a player. He is the only one out of the three who is an offensive threat. The other guys simply are not. Elston should be a starter.

  11. JPat,
    Oh what fond memories of the Guy conversations. It was obvious to me, well before he was recruited what we needed to get over the hump. Crean knew it too. It just didn’t work out. And yes, Capo has taken a step back.
    Now, if we could keep Watford down low a little more with Elston in there. Those guys are definatley your scorers as bigs. They are more versatile.

  12. No one will ever accuse Coach Carter of being a very smart guy. He just got walloped 102-60 but he was convinced that “we just got a little lucky”. So was he expecting a score of 120-45?

  13. The coach is correct, we don’t have a legit post player. Elston should play more, but I think Pritch should start. Elston brings a ton of energy off the bench. Let Pritch play about 3 minutes, bring Elston in to play to about the 11 minute mark, give him a blow and let him come back in at the under 8 and finish the half. 2 of the 3 games Elston started he picked up 2 quick fouls. Heck, Pritch usually does that and we need Elston’s offense. We don’t need Elston on the bench with fouls. Let Pritch spell Elston and with 14 minutes a half from Elston, we will get the offense we need, solid minutes from Pritch and Capo as the back up should we need him.

  14. Pritchard is the closest thing IU has as a post player. He is limited in that he has only one offensive move when under the basket…that being his reverse layup. He has absolutely no other move in or near the basket! I believe a classic running or moving, if you will, hook shot would help him, & IU tremendously. He only needs to take a couple of steps to set this up & being left handed should give him a real advantage. A classic moving hook shot (not a jump hook)is near impossible to stop. If anyone does block it more often than not they will also foul. You guys on Hoosier Scoop need to mention this to the assistant coaches. What have they got to lose, they aren’t getting production now. Try it, if it doesn’t work then fine. But I can tell you this…what TP is doing now IS NOT working. Uwe Blab & Kirk Haston, not to mention Kent Benson, used this shot to great effect. Using a moving hook gets TP the space to get the shot off, it creates cutting lanes, draws fouls from the opponent, gets IU’s big men involved and gives TP at least one other move to go with his reverse layup. Anyone out there, ask TP what are his three best moves to the basket and I’ll bet he hasn’t any other than his over used reverse layup. The hook at least gives him a 2nd option. Try it, you’ll like it!

  15. in response to markme. I agree that a hook shot would be
    very benificial, but not for TP. If I were the opposing team, I would foul him every time. Someone needs to work with him on free throws! Several years ago, I coached six graders who could shoot free throws better than the high school players. Why? Because I taught them to square up on the line with both feet. In one game they hit 19 straight free throws. And, because of their better free throw shooting, they improved on their other shots. Just an observation. Thanks for letting a guest speak out.

  16. I would love it if Elston could play 25-30 minutes but he seems to get into foul trouble fast. Pritchard has the same issue thus preventing either one of them from playing extended minutes.

  17. Northern Iowa has played two 2010 opponents common to IU.

    W 66-52 South Carolina State

    W 68-47 SIUE

  18. Curious, as I haven’t seen his name on here in a while. Has 4guards been restricted from posting on The Scoop or did he leave on his own accord?


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