Anunoby impresses during Haunted Hall scrimmage #iubb

To find time on the floor this season, to earn his role in Indiana’s rotation, O.G. Anunoby will have to work the fringes, understand his strengths and show an ability for quickly adjusting to the speed of the college game.

Saturday was a positive development on all fronts.

Anunoby, the rangy and athletic freshman wing, was the surprise star of Indiana’s Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage, helping the Red team to a 57-49 win over the White squad before a crowd of costume-clad children and their parents at Assembly Hall.

Anunoby scored 15 points, while going 7-for-9 from the field, finding the basket in transition and taking advantage of his length on defense during another informal introduction to Indiana basketball. While center Thomas Bryant has received the bulk of preseason attention among IU’s group of newcomers, Anunoby showed Saturday that he can use his versatility to become a contributor and impact this year’s Hoosiers through crucial avenues.

“He’s a guy that will eventually develop and play out on the perimeter,” assistant coach Tim Buckley said. “He can do that at times now, but he can also post up and be strong inside. He’s big and physical, so he may have to guard those kinds of matchups.”

The offensive effort he turned in Saturday was impressive, but it will be Anunoby’s presence in other areas that could create his clearest path to playing time this winter.

With a 6-foot-8 frame and 7-2 wingspan, Anunoby can cover a large swath of ground around him. That’s what first attracted Indiana’s coaching staff while Anunoby was still showcasing himself on the AAU circuit.

And it’s what made him the star in the open scrimmage this weekend.

His general activity on the court turned into production, including a block on the wing when he burst through to swat away a 3-point attempt from Tim Priller early in the afternoon. He also finished with two steals and posted four rebounds, using his athleticism to impact the Hoosiers in areas where they could use extra hands. Length like Anunoby’s also means the freshman doesn’t have to risk taking himself out of position to make plays. He used his reach and length at one point to force a five-second call on an inbounds play.

Anunoby has shown signs of his potential behind the scenes during preseason practices, but doing it in front of a crowd — albeit a smaller one — is an indication that the Missouri native can emerge as a rotational player when called upon this month.

“I think you have to get in these situations where it’s in front of a crowd (and) where it’s a little bit different,” Buckley said. “In practice you can stop it, you can go over things, but in the game you can’t. In these situations you don’t, so you try to get through things in timeouts and you see how guys listen and how they understand.”

Beyond Anunoby, the Red team also collected a game-high 17 points from James Blackmon Jr., who ran the point and offered a look at his ability to initiate offense more regularly this season. The White team, which included Bryant, Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Zeisloft and Priller, was paced by 15 points each from Ferrell and Bryant.

Although there was little explosion to Bryant’s game on Saturday, the biggest takeaways were his steadiness and vision in the post.

“He’s a guy that really changes things for you offensively because he reminds me of Cody (Zeller) in that you can run offense through him and the ball doesn’t just go in there and he shoots it every time,” Buckley said. “He finds cutters and makes good passes and plays with a great energy. It really lifts up the energy of his team, especially on the offensive end.”

Max Bielfeldt produced another standout performance for the Red side, chipping in nine points and nine rebounds.The Michigan transfer’s development in the span of his first few months at IU has consistently earned praise from coaches, and Saturday’s effort showed his ability to play with poise, too.

“I think Max played pretty well,” Buckley said. “Max has really expanded his game from the time that he’s gotten here. He’s handled the ball more than maybe he had before. I think now, he’s understanding when to shoot it, when to kick it, how to set up other guys. I think he’s a really good passer out of the post.”

4 comments

  1. A few observations:
    It doesn’t appear that opponents will be able to sag into the lane and gum up our drive and kick offense.
    With a +6 wingspan and high level athleticism, OG will disrupt opposing offenses on day 1.
    Bielfeldt & Bryant will demand that opposing bigs guard them out to 16-17 feet, both are triple threats (dribble, shoot, pass) at this range.
    Troy’s jumper (body control & release) looks much smoother.
    I can’t wait to see what happens when the lights come on. Go Hoosiers!!!

  2. No. Observations say some of the deficiencies that hurt the team last season have some potential solutions.
    But that doesn’t matter to the Lord of the Zero-Sum Game. Apparently, if it’s not a championship it’s worthless. Enjoy your extra hour of pessimism. Go Hoosiers!!!

  3. No pessimism here. Expectations vs. reality from once what was a storied elite program for a lot of years. I will enjoy big ten championship + final 4 + NCAA championship. Hey! It’s Hoosier basketball and I have not died yet.

Comments are closed.