Preseason Player Breakdowns: Will Sheehey

Chris Howell | Herald-Times.

In the first of our individual player previews, gearing you up for the start of the season on Nov. 11, we take a closer look at Will Sheehey, who should play an interesting part in the Hoosiers’ logjam at the No. 2 through 4 spots.

THE PAST

Having earned a reputation for his athleticism and with clear signs of raw basketball tools, Sheehey showed some flashes of being a serious contributor last season. At the very least, he showed the ability to get to the hole and absolutely throw down every once in a while.

Case in point:

Sheehey had a decent effective field goal percentage at 51 percent — which puts him at third on the team among the main contributors — and averaged just less than five points per game. Scoring-wise, Sheehey’s two best performances came in consecutive games — both losses to Iowa and Purdue at the beginning of February.

Coming in as a freshman, Sheehey — a three-star recruit — showed that he can slash and drive whenever he’s given a lane. There’s still a lot of ground to cover and potential for Sheehey to be more explosive in traffic, but as a freshman, he was far from being a disappointment. That youth showed in a few other categories as well, as Sheehey struggled from the free throw line (shooting a tick under 65 percent), 3-point line (around 30 percent) and on defense.

He was far from a liability on defense, showing lots of energy as a defender, but that energy as a freshman also lent itself
to some erratic play. Other times, he was a bit overmatched defensively and had to guard some physical Big Ten forwards down the stretch. Those matchups resulted in a fouls committed per 40 minutes (FC/40) rate of 5.5 — the highest of the team’s top contributors, aside from Derek Elston.

THE PRESENT

Sheehey showed in the scrimmage at Hoosier Hysteria that he is capable of getting to the hoop — at a higher level than he had before — and putting the ball in the basket. Unofficially, he led his team in scoring during the scrimmage. His confidence was obvious, and as a byproduct, he looked aggressive on offense.

The sophomore will likely be one of the most talked-about players heading into the season, considering how many players are capable of playing similar positions. Sheehey knows this, and he’s had the tough task of trying to improve as a guard — shooting from the perimeter and handling the ball — and improve as a post presence — getting stronger and preparing on defense to use his athleticism in the post.

And the results have shown a bit, at least physically. Just comparing Sheehey ’10 to Sheehey ’11 shows that the sophomore has gained some muscle (he’s listed five pounds heavier this season, at 6’6″, 200 lbs).

THE FUTURE

Sheehey should be a wildcard this season, and if he pans out, it could pay dividends for Indiana on both sides of the ball. Improvement on defense and at creating offense would make Sheehey one of the team’s top contributors and put him in the conversation for a starting spot. He’ll be competing with a whole mess of Hoosiers for those minutes.

But with the tools there, Sheehey can take a huge leap forward this season. And similar to fellow wing Victor Oladipo, his improvement on offense would give Indiana another valuable weapon to bolster a more consistent, deep attack.

Projected role: Reserve, could be the most versatile player of the bench though, definite 6th-man candidate.

38 comments

  1. “far from being a disappointment”

    “far from being a liability”

    What the heck are you trying to say? I guess those were meant to be compliments but if you’re ever giving a Best Man’s speech you might want to punch up the praise a little bit.

  2. Good call Chet!! Will is a nice IU student athlete and represents the university well. I look forward to 3 more years of watching him grow as a player and then many more years as a alum. Go Will Go!!!

  3. Didn’t read the article yet, but here are my thoughts based on what he showed me last season.

    -His jump shot on the move is very suspect.
    -Not much of 3-point threat.
    -His ball handling skills are a liability when he’s in traffic.
    -He’s athletic and can get vertical. We get an occasional highlight moment from an open lane dunk. When he gets a rebound is when things get scary.
    -His happy-go-lucky cockiness is not backed up by his true skills as a refined basketball player. Cut him a bit of slack because he can’t help not being an Indiana product.
    -He’s been compared to Randy Wittman..He’s nothing close to even a John Laskowski. I would be more confident with Danny Moore on the floor.
    -He would have found a lot of pine in his rump under a Knight team.
    -He should have probably pursued high jumping instead of hoops.

    Now I’ll read Ryan’s piece.

  4. What a Debbie Downer.. Maybe Jerry T, you should challenge Will to a one on one. If you are so good. He is just a kid.. What 19 – 20. doing something positive with his life. Get a grip!!!!

  5. Maybe Jerry T, you should challenge Will to a one on one. If you are so good. He is just a kid.. What 19 – 20. doing something positive with his life. Get a grip!!!!

  6. JerryT. Well, that was a waste of your time. The Hoosier Scoop has a lot of people that really, really follow what’s going on with the Hoosiers. If you don’t want to do that than there are plenty of places to post but, on the Scoop, your post are going to get analyzed pretty closely. Keep posting but go a little more in depth and don’t just give your feelings.

  7. I hope he improves. It was my honest assessment. He looks like a heartthrob that would be a ton of fun at frat party. He’ll have no problem getting dates on campus. I’m just not nuts about his inflated ego that comes far short of his basketball skills.

  8. Honest questions for Jerry T. Have you met him? More than once? Had a real conversation with him? Seen him interact with people outside of a basketball sphere? If you have, then by all means you’re entitled to your opinion. However, if you have not actually spoken with the boy in these settings…that’s a rather revealing comment about your opinions of others. Just sayin.

  9. That article was far from awful ; )

    Sheehey and Deepo are keys to a successful season for IU this year, and I’m optimistic about both of them. Just because Sheehey has fun and grins alot, I wouldn’t confuse that with a big ego or cockiness. I like his swagger, and I like that he has fun out there and gets other players fired up.

  10. My eyes happened to fall on this story. I assume this is written by the new kid, Michigan…I’ll be kind…please read Chet’s first comment. Take that advise.
    …T yrreJ Spe…your table is set,… enjoy!

  11. How sad. This was, at one point, my favorite site for IU sports. It is still a place to look at football comments but the basketball is so negative by the same few people all the time. I am tried of the hate and negative comments to the point that I refuse to click on and read the crap anymore! Surely there are some positive things to be said about our Coach,team and players but it seems that those of you who love IU basketball don’t have a chance for good pure basketball discussions because of the haters on this site. I don’t need to name name’s because you all know who they are. Some of this crap would not be allowed on other sites. I am not saying that everything is all rose colored but no matter what is said there are a few who ALWAYS respond with negative unreal comments. ALWAYS!! The folks that run this site should seriously look at stopping these readers from commenting before you lose all your readers. I post on another site that had over 2000+ different folks post on there site last year and I can’t find one who is as bad as your regular negative IU haters on this site. To me it is so sad how a hand full of folks have been allowed to ruin my Scoop! I know,big deal, who cares if I leave but other have left and they just left silently but I had hope it would change but not anymore. Instead of talking IU basketball you all want to tear down this young man without even knowing him. It’s ok to comment good or bad about his basketball skills but it is shameful to tear him down as a person. So long Scoop

  12. I saw the Hoosiers opening night then, had the honor of attending practice yesterday that was open to high school coaches. Will is easily the most improved player on the team. The summer playing with top college and pro players in Indy has paid off. Will is playing at a new level and taking a leadership role out there on the floor. The jumper and confidence are the bggest improvements. Will is going to be a big part of the Hoosier success this year.

  13. Southport65- I couldn’t agree more. I rarely read off this site because of the negativity and putting down of other posters or players. TsaoTsu- Your eyes didn’t happen to fall on this story. You’re commenting on stories all the time. And you are the negative person on here. Must have had a disappointing childhood. And it’s advice, not advise. Jerry T- Congratulations! You nailed down Will’s game as a Freshman. That’s exactly what he was. A lightly touted three-star freshman learning the college game. His expectations weren’t high coming in. He has vastly improved since I watched him last. As far as his attitude or ego goes, he celebrates a great play and gets his teammates involved as well.

  14. As Steve Martin popularized….EXCUUUUUUUUzzzzzzzE ME! I did the critique in the style of Bobby Knight. Sue me. You guys sound like Bruce Weber at a press conference after an EJ bank shot. Sorry I didn’t give Will a giant swirly lollipop. Of course he has many positives in his game. The major one being his versatility and ability to play at multiple spots on the floor. Got to get better from the line, though ….65% won’t cut it.

    Here’s what I would like to see this year…I’d like to see a team mean and lean…. a chip on the shoulder instead of Animal House toga party…I want to see these guys have fun, but not at the expense of draining their will(“Will”…pun intended) to inflict as much pain and sweet revenge as possible on the teams from our conference that believe Indiana is forever kaput. I’m tired of being spanked in football and basketball. I’m ready for a basketball team that marches with pride and doesn’t look like a bunch of spoiled jokers that lose by 20 points and then hop and skip the next day going to classes. There is a time for play and a time for war. I sure as hell hope Crean has this young men ready for war. If I want to see the b-ball version of Showboat, I’ll turn on an NBA game..Oops. No I won’t! That’s the bunch of spoiled grown men that can’t get their crap together when 1/4 the country is unemployed.

    Prove me wrong, Sheehey. Prove you have more at stake in representing Indiana than most the one-and-done millionaires-to-be that flash their greatness on YouTube clips and have no investment the colleges they attend. Save the handsome big smiles and swagger when this great basketball school with unmatched tradition a passion for the game brings a championship trophy back to Bloomington. I don’t know what the hell everyone is smiling about when in our backyard Butler, Butler for God’s sake, just went back-to-back at the Final Four. Man up and have a mission to make the candy-stripes intimidate rather than disintegrate into a dusty has-been. Sampson is the guy still laughing and watching interest compound on the dollars his buyout swagger.

  15. Ryan, you’ve label WS as the wildcard for this season. Correct, as he is so versatile. I realize your article is focused on Will but I would also add Watford, Elston and Pritchard to that wildcard list. There has never been enough resources in the post to reveal whether they can be solid performers. No doubt Zeller will perform to high expectations even as a Frosh. He will demand constant attention allowing these veteran big men to sink or swim. I have thoughts as to which of them will successfully fulfill that description besides Sheehey. Fun to read.

  16. Regarding Will Sheehey’s basketball talents displayed last season… the problem with freshmen basketball players is that they are freshmen. Granted, Will made errors as a freshman. From what I see I believe Will to be one of the most improved players on the team coming into this year. I think part of the problem with him is the fact that he is so versatile that he plays several positions not concentrating on just one or two. Comparing him to Wittman is not fair, I liken him more to a Steve Eyl from the ’87 team. Now a soph I see great things coming from Will this season, especially since there is more talent around him. Let’s look for the positives and keep the negatives to a minimum, OK? Go Hoosiers!

  17. There is very little doubt that Zeller, Watford and Hulls are the stars of this team. If any one of the three can become a top 5 All-Big 10 player, this will be a good (20+ win) season. Vic and Will are the next best players and have to get 22-25 minutes/game on the floor each. Elston and Pritchard have to do it on the floor, “being 6’9” is no longer good enough. Derek could be great, but can he develop the mental side of his talent? Verdell can show that he is the senior leader that we have desperately needed for the last three years. If he can accept lesser “billing” but play great, then this can be a special season. Austin and Remy have to bring it all and bring it hard every second on the floor. They each have some real talent that Indiana has sorely needed. I hope that Matt Roth hits 50% of his 3’s because if he can’t Danny Moore might. Danny does a lot of good things in short stretches. No more excuses now for Coach Crean, it is win NOW time! We miss and love you Mo Creek and want to see you play again at 100%! GO IU!

  18. Jerry T,
    You might be right with all your talking points,but you need to look up the word arrogant.Better yet,can you tell Will it’s better to be humble,than arrogant like me!

  19. Good comparison to Eyl. Although I think Sheehey is a little more athletic. And Eyl was good. What Sheehey and Vic, Able and Austin bring to the table is depth. You won’t have a fall off of talent when they are in. Just as important is that, practices will be better, with a higher level of competition and expectations.
    I think for IU to have success, it will be in the ability to hit from outside. Where IU has had good games the last few years was when Hulls or Creek were nailing from the perimeter. And now, with the pieces in place to keep people honest on the inside, there should be a little more room out there. So maybe Roth or Austin might be the benefactor or dark horse.
    We know Hulls and CWat can hit but they will be keyed on. Who is going to be that pain in the ass player that takes advantage of the situation. You know, that one player on other teams that kills you when you have everybody else guarded. As long as IU can get some penetration, Pritch and Zeller can finish. But can we knock down the kickout. Cause Hulls will need to be penetrating quite a bit. Just a long winded thought.

  20. Did not mean to leave out Remy. If he can bring solid PG minutes, that obviously will free up Hulls. Jerry T does make a good point about free throws. Creans offense is geared to take advantage of getting to the stripe. And we all know how Coach Knight won 75% of his games. Hitting more foul shots than your opponent takes. Those figures always and still do baffle me. You have to have a good team free throw percentage. Somthing IU has struggled with lately.

  21. Something in the back of my memory is telling me Cowboy GM Tex Shramm wanted to try developing Steve Eyl’s physical talents on the gridiron as a tight end after his BB career at IU. I do not know if he made the attempt. Anybody else got a recollection of that trivia.

  22. Had to comment on the Steve Eyl comparison, since Sheehey also reminded me of him. But it seemed to me that Sheehey was a better shooter as a freshman than Eyl ever became. Both were great athletes, with Eyl better defensively, at least throughout his career and compared to Sheehey as a freshman. And Hoosier Clarion, I do have a vague memory of someone wanting to have a look at Eyl as a pro football prospect, but know nothing more about that.

  23. Uh, you Jerry person or whatever, you are really, really, really embarrassing yourself. Might want to ya know, go away. No one cares.

  24. And mine Chet. A time for play and a time for war? At Assembly Hall? Please Jerry T, go read your comic books.

    I’m also totally amused with your explanation…you did it Bob Knight style…you fantasize in every dimension Jerry T.

  25. Yes, Tsao. You have made sure their is no fantasy here. There is no escape from the heavy reality you’ve dumped on this website every day for the past 6 months. Persecutor..Prosecutor, Judge, Jury…and now another sentencing…You’re the barometer of perfection on here. JPat is buried in the fantasy foxhole you dug for him. Your Yale degree was your shovel, I suppose. His blogging gravestone, his source for a bit of fantasy the harsh world some carefree discussion, is marked by your upholding the honor of all our tongues. I’ll get back to my coloring books. You get back to Scoop and making this place your everlasting monument of perfection.

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