Bye-week helps Hoosiers re-incorporate Watford

As much of an adjustment as it is for a team to lose a player who is not only its leading scorer and rebounder, not to mention a 6-foot-9 swingman whose game can’t be imitated by anyone else on the team, it’s almost as much of an adjustment to get him back.

Indiana found that out on Saturday against Michigan when sophomore forward Christian Watford returned after missing three games with a broken left hand. Watford still had a strong outing with 14 points in just 22 minutes, but it was evident that the Hoosiers’ execution and timing was thrown for a loop by adding such a significant piece to the system.

“Definitely with our timing,” freshman guard Will Sheehey said. “He’s a great offensive player as well. Getting those things back in our lineup is definitely something you gotta get used to, you know? From a timing aspect, from just playing with each other. This past week has been great incorporating him into what we’ve been doing.”

The Hoosiers only had one day of practice with him before the Michigan game, and he was still limited at that point. The week the Hoosiers have had between games has given them a chance to figure out what it will be like to have him in the fold.

“He’s been able to actually play,” Sheehey said. “Before it was like, he’d be able to this, be able to do that. Now he’s actually free and going. He’s just like everybody now.”

And Watford said he also feels like he’s back in a flow. He’s still playing with a bandage, and he showed off a sizable scar on the back of his hand on Friday, but he says it hasn’t been much of a problem.

“It’s been great for me,” Watford said of the bye week. “It gives me a chance to get my rhythm back, give me a chance to jell with these guys a little more. Missing three games really hurt me. It was great.”

As they adjust to life with Watford, the Hoosiers also have to remind themselves that even with him in the lineup, they were still carved up the first time they played Northwestern, surrendering 93 points in a 93-81 loss to the 3-point shooting, back-cutting Wildcats. The Hoosiers have made a point in practice to be more alert.

“We did not make it tough enough for them to score there,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 1

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2

AUDIO: Christian Watford

AUDIO: Will Sheehey

2 comments

  1. Quick Thought:

    Is Ajet (I think that is how you spell it) good friends with Perea/Jurkin?

    If so, would IU ask Ajet to do a Donnie Hale and stay in school one more year (another year of prep school)? He would look awfully nice in our 2013 class.

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