Stock up/Stock down


Cody Zeller (Indiana): Zeller came in with pretty sky high expectations, and there’s no doubt that he’s not only reach those expectations but surpassed them on his way to becoming one of the best freshmen in the country. Shane Ryan of, in a post breaking down Trey Burke’s game, compared Zeller to Burke and Kentucky freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. And with a quick glance at the charts, it appears Zeller might just be the best freshman in the country. That’s no surprise to anyone who’s watched Zeller play night in and night out. He’s the only player who’s continued to get better, even through Indiana’s latest adversity, and I’ve got a feeling he’s got a huge week ahead of him with matchups against Nebraska and Penn State.

Brandon Paul (Illinois): I don’t necessarily believe that Paul woke up one day and decided be an efficient offensive scoring machine, but that’s the Brandon Paul that woke up and almost singlehandedly beat the Buckeyes last week. He dropped 43 on Ohio State as his stock skyrocketed into the Big Ten stratosphere. Logic says this breakout was more or less a fluke, especially considering Paul’s affinity for taking plenty of bad shots and being a generally inefficient offensive player. But hey, I could always be wrong – that has happened once or twice before.

Anthony Davis (Kentucky): How does the likely No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft’s stock get any higher? Try blocking the most shots in single season Kentucky history with half of the conference season still remaining. Davis has more blocks than half of the teams in the SEC, and he’s starting to gain a scoring edge too. Against Arkansas in the Wildcats’ last contest, Davis registered quite possibly his best game of the season, with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocks – one of the most impressive lines of the season by any player. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s got the most potential of any player in the NCAA right now.


Verdell Jones III (Indiana): I wrote a column last week justifying some improvements that Verdell Jones had made this season. He was taking less shots and being more efficient on offense. And although he was turning the ball over more, those turnovers rarely came toward the end of the game. I’m not taking that column back, but it’s appearing more and more like Verdell Jones has lost his confidence on the court. He played alright against Ohio State, but against Minnesota, Jones missed wide open shots and looked rattled the entire game. After the game, he was found shooting on Branch McCracken Court for more than an hour, methodically and silently feeling out his jump shot. And this week, I heard that Jones hasn’t been very happy with speaking to the media. That’s never a good sign. And maybe, before long, there might be a change in Tom Crean’s starting lineup.

Evan Smotrycz (Michigan): Smotrycz was one of the hotter players in the Big Ten just before the conference season began, but soon after, he’s fallen off the chart a bit. He hasn’t scored in double figures since Michigan’s Big Ten opener against Penn State, and he’s playing less and less minutes for coach John Beilein when the game is on the line. Smotrycz has the capabilities to be a big part of Beilein’s offense – he loves big men who can shoot from the perimeter and pick up five or six rebounds per game. But something just doesn’t seem right.

Adonis Thomas (Memphis): Thomas, who came in as a McDonald’s All-American, had been scoring around 10 points per game for the up-and-down Tigers before Memphis announced the other day that he’ll likely miss the rest of the season due to injury. That hurts for a Memphis team in desperate need of talent that can produce. It also marks an interesting year for McDonald’s All-Americans as many continue to struggle while Zeller has risen to become one of the better post players in America.


  1. Start Sheehey over Jones and let’s move forward. Thanks VJIII for all you have done at IU, but it’s time for the next step in the rebuilding process and it starts with you coming off the bench.

  2. Monkey man, and anyone in this camp…. NO! Who cares who starts? It’s all an ego thing, and has very little to do with performance and outcomes. Sheehey is way more valuable coming off the bench, where he creates mismatches either because of his skill in comparison to the opponents bench players, or his energy in comparison to an opposing starter who has been busting it for 5 minutes already.

    I completely agree that Jones minutes need to be decreased, but the most glaring area that needs to happen is at the end of the game, not the beginning. If you want to create a stink go with the Sheehey for Jones over the last 5 minutes.

    If you are looking for another starter to replace Jones go with Roth, who brings a specific skill and doesnt turn the ball over, or Abel who brings great defense, but needs to be surrounded by multiple scorers to be most effective right now. Also Abel brings some break-down ability (with a lower turnover rate than VJ3) to play opposite Hulls.

  3. or his energy in comparison to an opposing starter who has been busting it for 5 minutes already.

    Where have I heard that before? Hmmm? Not sure.

    When I said that a few days ago, I only intended it as hypothesis in attempting to explaining Crean’s thought process on starting Jones..Most are still baffled. A very famous coach that used to spend some time in Bloomington, felt the opening five minutes to each half were the most critical points in a basketball game. I don’t care to debate the fact..I tend to think most games hinge on key momentum swings…It seems many of these big shifting points tend to happen about 2/3 the way through a half when teams are vulnerable due to substitutions and fatigue…It’s at these points, the true stars and clutch performers somewhat remove the X’s and O’s and coach-driven aspect of the game away and tip the scales toward individual talent. It’s often in these stretches that the player that’s ‘just on fire’ or ‘in the zone’ that will account for the difference everything else in the pluses and minuses canceling out…The energy from a home crowd can provide added boost during those momentum swings. Teams get separation. The margin of error is very will be small tonight against Nebraska while we’re on the road.

    Though I attempted to find reasoning for starting a guy that leads the team in mistakes, it wasn’t very good logic. I still like putting the best on the floor to begin a game/half. Of course, foul trouble can dictate 2nd half starting decisions. I also like experimentation and we have nothing to lose in giving the energy of Remy, or the deadly shooting of Roth, a try in the opening minutes. We don’t lose anything defensively and Jordy might have a better chance at the leadership role without the sabotage of a counterpart that seems to fall into the same old traps and mistakes of wanting to be the “big man on campus.”

    Sometimes putting a guy unaccustomed to starting on the bench at the beginning of a game can provide the chance to see a lot of the opposing teams/ players’ idiosyncrasies from afar that are often difficult to consume in the heat of battle. Jones may digest those moments, gain a better understanding where he can be valuable in terms of identifying opponents overall weaknesses, and be a better player because of the study hall time when he does come into the contest. The coach doesn’t have to hand him the news of a non-starting assignment like it’s detention. Give Remy the start and test a different hypothesis…Good point in the season to build confidence in the young kid that has proven he’s not afraid to battle and take the ball to the rim. Could get Zeller a lot more involved..I see a lot of benefits in trying something new.

  4. Love your post Harvard, second paragraph is pure gold, no sarcasm… I completely agree with your assessment.

    This also isn’t the first time I’ve defended the point of keeping Sheehey as the 6th man. As you may have seen from my post about next years line-ups, I’m in favor of him filling that role for a while. I am pretty sure Jason Terry is just fine with his role and minutes, and I think Sheehey should adopt that attitude.

  5. I only intended it as hypothesis in attempting to explain Crean’s thought process on starting Jones.


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  6. How in the world did VJ3 play “all right” versus OSU? 7 pts, 3-8, 0 FT attempts (again, his one true ability has always been getting to the line) 2 rebounds 2 assists and 3 turnovers, in 27 minutes. How is that acceptable? He hit one late open 3 to pad those numbers. At the beginning of the game, when IU still had a chance, he was nowhere to be found.

    Sorry. That’s not “all right”, that’s an extension of the Minnesota game.

  7. oops.

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  8. Fire Crean….. He acts like Mike Jagger without the moves. His strutting and flapping has to go. Sit down and let these kids play. Quit the micro managing every play.
    Bench VJ Watford…..

  9. Look at your Fall,walkons, Kris Byrd is one of Indiana’s best point guards … But without the : P R bread crum trail. Leave the clik, Do a true evaluation. He’s not good because his friends gave him the most playing time or exposure. He’s good because of what he has to ,Over Come ! And : Oh,Oh……what he brings to the Game.

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