Hoosiers prepare for Oakland, Bader

In the span of about eight minutes at his press conference on Monday, Indiana coach Tom Crean compared Oakland’s Travis Bader to Jon Diebler, Trevor Cooney, Jordan Hulls, Matt Roth and Steve Novak.

It’s pretty high praise, but Bader has already made more 3-pointers in college than any of them.

Heading into today’s 7 p.m. game against Indiana at Assembly Hall, Bader is just 60 3-pointers away from tying former Duke star J.J. Redick’s all-time record of 456 in his career. That’s a very attainable number, considering that Bader has already hit 40 of 98 3-point attempts so far this season.

Bader is very much a volume shooter, entering this season with a modest career 3-point percent of 40.3 and he’s also challenging the all-time record for 3-point attempts. But he is also the centerpiece of Golden Grizzlies’ offense averaging 21.1 points per game, and the fact that he is a fearless gunner makes him all the more dangerous. 

“He never stops moving,” Crean said. “He’s the top returning shooter in the country and the leading one right now. He has some traits of some of the Michigan guys in the past. He does a great job using his body to get open. He pushes off to get open. He shot fakes. He definitely knows how to set you up. He can change speeds, he can shoot it off either foot, which is a real strong trait for a great shooter like that. He doesn’t have to be squared up to make a shot. He’s only a threat every time he has it. He’s one of those guys. If you relax for a second, it’s going up.”

He’s been defended in just about every possible way. North Carolina and UCLA used 6-foot-9 defenders on him and he still managed to get shots up.

That suggests that he’s going to get his, but the point of playing a team like Oakland is to learn how to chase a shooter of that caliber and to do it better than they did against Syracuse on Tuesday.

“This is a little bit of a better moving Cooney,” Crean said. “Cooney, the No. 1 thing we didn’t want to let Cooney do is get lost in transition. We let him get lost twice. The great 3-point shooters, and this is going to be a key to the game tomorrow night, Hulls was like this, Roth was like this, Steve Novak when we had him was like this. You can’t let the great shooters get lost in the game. You can’t do your job blocking or one guy doesn’t block out, they get an offensive rebound and you’re not within 10 feet of Travis Bader, because they’re going to find him. They know how to find him. … With a player like that, he moves so well without the ball, and he doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands to create. He’s very quick. He’s a high-level player. He can play in any league in the country. … To me, you’ve just gotta have incredible awareness of where he’s at.”

The Hoosiers have taken that to heart.

“He can get the ball off really quick,” IU sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell said. “I’d say as quick as Cooney. He gets it off as quick as him and he’s knocking it down. There can’t be any air space when we’re guarding him. He can fire from NBA range and from anywhere. … We just gotta limit his touches. That’s just going to be our key, especially defensively.”

Bader isn’t the Golden Grizzlies’ only weapon. Oakland enters this game 2-7, but that is in large part because they’ve played a difficult schedule that began with games against North Carolina, UCLA, California and Gonzaga. The Grizzlies also have a center in Corey Petros averaging 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and a guard in Duke Mondy who is averaging 11.7 points per game and has 25 steals in just six games.

“Quick, quick hands,” Crean said. “Goes for the ball. I think he’d be the kind of guy you’d want on your defense in football. … If he was going for the ball carrier, a running back or a wide receiver, he’d strip a lot of balls, take them from them. He just reaches in and takes it from you. … Much like Victor (Oladipo) became last year. Young Victor was too much of a reach and gamble guy. The older Victor became just fantastic at taking the ball from people. Mondy reminds me a lot of that.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell

2 comments

  1. Nice write-up. Interesting team they have out there. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the Bader assignment. Yogi got tossed around trying to break through screens away from the ball covering Cooney in the ‘Cuse game. I’d say let him have another shot. Yogi needs to get better and this would be a good test.

    Re: Troy Williams. He needs to watch a lot of Victor Oladipo tape. Vic’s shooting % went up not because his jumper improved, but because he found the right tempo to drive to the hoop. Also, Vic found himself laying in more shots than going for dunks. Troy should make it his mission to work on tempo for the rest of the year.

  2. Dopirak or Price,

    While I am glad Indiana is on tv tomorrow, why did ESPN decide to air this game? Does this have to do with a contract ESPN signed when they thought they were getting Kentucky? I remember last year at this time we played Florida Atlantic. Just curious.

Comments are closed.