Hoosier Brunch

1. HOOSIERS HQ

In an offense-heavy rout, the Hoosiers slammed the Hawkeyes for an important home win, Dustin wrote.

Will Sheehey made his first start on Sunday night, and he played an emblematic role in Indiana’s new offensive look, I wrote.

With eight dunks against Iowa, Cody Zeller was unleashed on the Hawkeyes and Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey called him the best freshman he’s ever seen in the Big Ten, Andy wrote.

2. INDIANA BASKETBALL

Derek Elston had yet to be a part of IU’s offense in Big Ten play, but against Iowa, he excelled with newfound confidence, Connor O’Gara of the IDS wrote.

After plenty of scrutiny, Indiana senior Tom Pritchard earned some well-deserved love from the Indiana crowd last night, Avi Zaleon of the IDS wrote.

Changes in Verdell Jones’ game made a big difference on Sunday night, Michael Pointer of the Indy Star wrote.

Sunday wasn’t for fans of the grind-it-out, usual Big Ten style, as Indiana simply ran past Iowa, LaMond Pope of the Journal Gazette wrote.

After losing to Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio State in recent games, the Hoosiers really needed this one, Justin Albers of Inside the Hall wrote.

3. ONE FOR THE ROAD

Mark Titus, formally of Club Trillion, is one of my favorite writers when it comes to college basketball. Now with Grantland.com, he scouts for winners and losers in Sunday’s Michigan-Ohio State game, which should give IU fans a little bit of insight into Indiana’s next opponent.

25 comments

  1. Ryan- FYI, the McCaffery quote was that Zeller was the best freshman CENTER he’d ever seen. Whether he’s the best conference freshman, period, is an interesting debate, which would be sure to raise plenty of objections, especially from one blogger in particular who is a Clipper-turnedHornets fan of late.

  2. Obviously, you’re comparing outside of positions. Comparing across the Big 10 conference over the span of many years is up for a ton of debate.

    Isiah Thomas: best freshman point guard to ever come out of the Big 10(arguably one of the best to ever play int the NBA).

    Eric Gordon: most athletic freshman shooting guard to ever come out of Indiana(I’ve never seen any NBA talent that came out of the Big 10 with anything approaching EJ’s unique and complimentary package of explosive to the rim matched with unbelievable range from the perimeter).

    Cody Zeller: most poised, agile, and dynamic freshman center to ever play at Indiana. His basketball intelligence eclipses anything I’ve ever witnessed in a freshman playing at his position.

    Forward position? Scott May?

  3. Bailey’s basketball IQ was pretty darn high as was Alford’s. Their abilities on the floor as college basketball players weren’t too bad either. I do believe that Cody is displaying a level of ability, IQ and poise seldom seen in a freshman in any conference, let alone the B10. Sadly, those traits may get him him sucked up to the League before we are ready to let him go.

  4. Talent and b-ball IQ are forever debatable…What remains more obvious is the unfolding truth there will never again be a freshman that single-handedly infused instantaneous energy and recruiting vitality back into a program teetering on possible stagnancy for many years to come. He is the reason quotes from Tom Crean will remain on the walls of Cook Hall.

  5. HFH, you obviously didn’t see Quinn Buckner play. Without QB, Knight doesn’t get a program built at IU. Really similar situation to the current one with Zeller.

  6. That’s right, I had forgotten freshmen were ineligible back then…Steve Downing was subjected to the same NCAA rules a few years prior. When did the NCAA drop the restriction? 1974?

    Could Downing be in the discussion with Cody as impacting 1st year player if he could have taken the court as a freshman? He did eventually end up outplaying a redhead from California that many considered the best center in the country at the time.

  7. Buckner was a special defender and a super intelligent point guard. Isiah was so damn smooth and versatile offensively he just left more impression on my memories.

  8. I thought Knight building off of McGinnis and Downing(Watson recruits) gave him the real upstart in his program. Didn’t they play as teammates at the same high school? Indianapolis Washington H.S.?

    Had McGinnis stayed at IU, he would have played his last two years for Bob Knight, the man who succeeded Watson in 1972. McGinnis is frequently asked if a free spirit like him could have played for Knight.

    “It would have been difficult,” he said. “I don’t think any kid who played for Coach Knight says it’s easy or enjoyable. It is usually after they leave that they understand the toughness he gave them. Looking back, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to try.”

    It pains McGinnis to think what he could have done for Knight’s second team, which went to the 1973 Final Four and had UCLA on the ropes before losing to John Wooden’s Bruins. It was a game that changed dramatically when Steve Downing fouled out on a collision with Bill Walton, who also was in dire foul trouble.

    Said McGinnis, “I remember Steve getting those horrible calls and that all UCLA had at forward were Larry Farmer and Jamaal Wilkes, a couple of guys that were 6-4 and 6-6. No way could they have handled me.” (courtesy: Herald Times)

  9. One can only imagine McGinnis and Downing playing together as seniors. Look what McGinnis was doing in the ABA the same year Downing was leading the Hoosiers to a magical Cinderella trip to the Final Four.

    Sorry to dominate the discussion…I get quite nostalgic thinking of those early years the Hoosiers were capturing my young passion for hoops.

  10. Wilkerson and Buckner used to position at the mid court line.
    The opposing team could not get the ball past mid court.

    Should have seen Quinn hit people when he played 1 year on the IU Football Team. He could really lay em out.

  11. Quinn was possibly the best player on the football team as a freshman. Tremendous db.

    Don’t forget that if Isiah had stayed he would have continued to team in the backcourt with Randy Wittman. Not a bad tandem.

  12. Wish I knew those early Hoosiers. I know Quinn Buckner only as a commentator; my strongest memory of Isaiah is when he kissed Magic as a member if the Pistons. Earl Calloway is my Isaiah. But somehow that doesn’t diminish my love for the stripes.

    Where does Cody rank amongst Big Ten freshman centers of the last 20 years? Can we put him in Oden company?

  13. I think so. Oden was physically more imposing. More physically mature which, now that he’s in the NBA, is translating into an old body in a young man. Nature is harsh on giant people.

  14. Quinn Buckner disrupted the other team on both ends of the floor, ran that team, and came up with points, steals, or anything else IU needed when the games got tough. The Greatest WINNER who ever played for IU.

    Freshman could play when MAY was a Freshman (that was also Buckner’s Freshman year). May and Wilkerson didn’t play because they were ‘non-qualifiers’ as far as grades and/or test scores coming out of high school and had to sit out. They started as Sophomores.

  15. Don’t forget Larry Bird hitch hiked out of Bloomington.
    Wish that could of been a part of IU Basketball History, but I think I get a feel concerning the challenges at the time.

  16. You know, if Larry Legend had stayed on campus (remember, he matured a couple years) he might never have become the player we knew.

  17. I love Cody Zeller.
    I’m sure he has played on a court somewhere with NBA rostered players. I don’t think he will go to the NBA after his 1st year. If he came up to the Pacers practice court at BANKERS LIFE and went up against the following Pacers, what would be a consistent result?

    Tyler Hansbrough
    Jeff Foster
    David West
    Roy Hilbert

    Then from the wing
    Danny Granger
    Paul George
    Dahntay Jones

    Not to mention Blake Griffin from the Clippers.
    Pick your own NBA P.ayer as a match up or mismatch.
    I will follow Cody when he makes the jump to the NBA.
    He won’t go till he is ready and he is not strong enough
    yet.

  18. Besides jumping center and being a top rebounder Wilkerson was the defensive stalwart on that team. 6’7″ guard with very long limbs and cat quick he was a nightmare for every offensive star. He changed the offensive game plan dynamics for every opponent with his keen talent for mam to man. Early on he had much to do with helping May’s development as they went at it 1 on 1 repeatedly. He did not play the role of a shooter or big scorer but for the Hoosiers he was that “intangible” piece.

  19. Iulongago, you’re correct. Buckner’s only problem was that he was a poor free throw shooter (except late in the game when the game was on the line).

  20. lulongago/Oldguy

    You are right.

    Buckner at the free throw line
    I bet he stole the ball and it converted to a basket to make up or even out the missed free throws. The undefeated season at least.

  21. I don’t remember the exact numbers but at one point he was shooting a ridiculous field goal percentage, something like 65%, and would air ball free throws.

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