Live from Assembly

The infamous block-out drills. The players have lined up at the top of the key, McCallum lofts a shot up and each player’s mission is to prevent their teammate from grabbing the rebound. I’m glad I’m not paired with DeAndre Thomas.

You notice right away that Sampson and his staff are harping intensity, and it shows. The players are constantly clapping and cheering for one another. So far, there hasn’t been a down moment all practice.

Also of note, Rob Senderoff is nowhere to be seen. I’ll see what I can find out about that.

Now, they’re running out of bounds drills. In the red (which may or may not mean something) is D.J., Stemler, Gordon and Bassett. Jamarcus Ellis has also joined them. My guess would be this is the team’s starting lineup come Nov. 4.

The white squad is made up of Adam Ahlfeld, Jordan Crawford, DeAndre Thomas, Eli Holman and Brandon McGee. Kyle Tabor and Brett Finkelmeier watch from underneath the basket.

The crimson squad looks good. The majority of the sets end with a Gordon jumpshot, and I have yet to see him miss. Time after time, he’ll run around a handful of screens and launch a baseline jumper. His shooting motion is so fluid it makes you feel like he can’t miss.

Now the teams are scrimmaging. The crimson squad’s the same: Bassett, Ellis, D.J., Stemler and Gordon. The cream squad is Crawford, Finkelmeier, Holman, Thomas and McGee.

Baskets by D.J. and Stemler have made it 5-0 Crimson with Stemler completing a three-point play.

Sampson takes whatever opportunity he wants to stop the action and talk to his players. In the crimson huddle, he was pleading with the team to “get the ball into D.J.”

Just heard from an IU media source that Rob Senderoff is absent due to personal matters. A.J. Ratliff is also absent, and I was told for the same reasons.

Stemler just took a nice shot from DeAndre Thomas beneath the basket, but was unable to draw the charge. Thomas went to the line and hit both free throws.

The Crawford-Bassett battle is as interesting as any on the court. Sampson has taken the opportunity to harp on Crawford, yelling “We’ll take this as fast as you go!” when Crawford didn’t get into the offense as fast as Sampson wanted. Both players look solid though and this daily battling in practice should help pay dividends come Big Ten season.

Crimson now leads 16-8 with 13:53 remaining after D.J. hit two free throws.

Gordon just drove the lane, almost effortlessly, and finished a layup to extend the lead to 18-8.

A few minutes later, he took the ball the length of the court, pulled up from the left side and drained a three. Needless to say, Brett Finkelmeier is having his troubles guarding him.

Crimson’s lead is now 26-12 but the team’s have been mixed up. Basset, McGee, Finkelmeier, Mike White and D.J. are all wearing white, while Ellis, Thomas, Gordon, Stemler and Crawford are in red.

Dan Dakich, hired this summer as Director of Basketball Operations, has stayed beneath the far basket and watched all practice without coaching at all. Ray McCallum and Jeff Meyer and the most vocal coaches outside of Sampson. Strength coach Jeff Watkinson is also cheering the players on.

A three from the corner by McGee makes it 28-19 white.

Stemler answers back with a runner in the lane to get the lead back to eleven.

It’s not 32-22 after a Crawford dunk to finish a fast break. The play’s gotten sloppy in the past few minutes.

Jamarcus Ellis looks impressive. He uses his speed well and isn’t afraid to attack the basket. He complements Gordon’s outside shooting ability well, and the tandem have proven hard to stop for the cream squad.

Mike White just hit two free throws (surprising, I know) to cut the crimson lead to 44-34 with 1:35 remaining.

Bassett just made a pretty shot in the lane, avoiding two defenders, to cut the lead to eight. After a crimson bucket, a monstrous dunk by D.J. ignited the crowd and cut the lead back to eight.

Gordon continues to show why he’s such a talent. I hate to keep using the word effortless, but it’s the best way to describe his ability. He just split two defenders in one fell swoop and finger-rolled it in, it seems without breaking a sweat.

The first period of the scrimmage just ended with a score of 48-38 crimson. The teams were switched up throughout the contest, so there never really one crimson squad.

The players are lining up for the start of the second half, which is set for ten minutes.

Right now, the best three players on the court are D.J., Gordon and Ellis. D.J. is able to score in the post regardless of who’s guarding him, whether its Stemler, DeAndre Thomas or Eli Holman.

Ellis is a sound basketball player with a great feel for the game. He’s constantly pushing the tempo, and he’s got a great knack for finding holes in the defense. He’s given Crawford and whoever else fits all afternoon.