Preseason Player Breakdown: Jordan Hulls

A hometown kid, Jordan Hulls grew up with Indiana basketball. And this season, Hulls will likely be tasked with the brunt of the team’s starting point guard duties. But is he ready to be the leader that the Hoosiers’ need? Hulls is the subject of our sixth preseason player breakdown.

THE PAST

Before the injury to Verdell Jones last season, the Hoosiers had a two-headed monster at the point guard position. The two point guards’ styles differed on several levels — Jones took too many shots, Hulls didn’t take enough, for example — and their synergy (or lack thereof for some of the season) hurt the Hoosiers at times.

But when Jones went out with an injury and missed four games, Hulls was forced to take a more proactive role in the offense, driving the lane much more than he was used to and creating his own shots. That experiment worked out pretty well for the Bloomington product, as he averaged more than 16 points per game in that stretch.

Hulls ended the season as one the Big Ten’s most effective shooters, with an effective field goal percentage of 59 percent. He also finished second in the conference in true shooting percentage, behind only Ohio State’s Jon Diebler.

The point guard’s defense, however, left something to be desired at times, and the criticisms that he didn’t take enough shots may be founded. Without enough shots to get a rhythm, Hulls came out cold at times, and his assertiveness could make a big difference as he tries to become the Hoosiers’ full-time floor general.

THE PRESENT

Hulls knows that his biggest improvements must come on defense, and he’s said on multiple occasions that the majority of his offseason work would be on the defensive side of the ball. And like many of his Hoosier compatriots, that degree of defensive improvement could make or break Indiana’s improvement in the Big Ten.

But beyond defense, Hulls will continue to work his way into being Indiana’s leader on the court — something the Hoosiers haven’t had for years now. He says he’s embraced this role, and his vocal leadership could be an intangible X-factor, especially on offense.

Hulls began to emerge as a vocal leader bit by bit last season, and having shown that he can create for himself on offense, if Hulls can improve his leadership and defense like he’s tried this summer, then he could be the key cog for Indiana this season.

THE FUTURE

Playing as more of a true point guard with the ball in his hands more often, Hulls’ clutch shooting could be a huge asset for the Hoosiers, especially with an increased post presence to lessen the pressure on the perimeter.

That means more open shots for Hulls and also more chances for him to be assertive on offense. If he can do that, Indiana will have a deadly offensive threat from the point guard position who should be effective dishing the ball into the post.

Defense will be the biggest question mark with Hulls, and if he can improve on that side of the ball, it’ll mean a lot for Indiana’s perimeter defense. Another year of tutelage under Crean and an increased team focus on defense all offseason should help ensure that Hulls is at least better on that side of the ball than he was last season.

Regardless, expect Hulls to prove himself as the No. 1 option at the point guard position, as Jones backs him up at point and plays at the shooting guard spot. If he can be a leader, the Hoosiers will have an even more efficient, effective weapon on their hands.

21 comments

  1. You know he will be improved. That’s the kind of kid he is. Tom Coverdale sort. He’ll also get more looks with kick outs from Cody.

  2. Jordy will get it done. If he doesn’t finish out his college days at IU bringing a championship back to Bloomington with his teammates, his efforts and pride in the candy-stripes breathe the life into our storied tradition that draws the long elusive sixth banner within our reach.

    Good write-up from Ryan.

  3. I really like Jordon Halls. He is the kind of player we need more of fundamentally sound.Hopfully that is what we have coming in fundametally sound players with a sense of what team play is. Not drive the lane throw up a player and hope to get a foul called.

  4. I think Jordy will have a break out year. He knows where to deliver the ball, and I think he will play with the confidence that he exhibited in high school. He and Cody on the floor will be fun for the basketball purist to watch.

  5. Coming to an Assembly Hall near you, Jordy 3.0. New, improved, faster, stronger, smarter and always tenacious, Jordan Hulls.

    Jordy is ready to have a great season. Go IU!

  6. One part of Jordan’s game I’d like to see added on offense is a little floater. I didn’t get to see him much in high school (since I’m now up in ME), but does anyone know if that’s part of his repertoire?

    I recently watched the Seattle Pacific (D-II) upset of Arizona and their PG reminded me so much of Hulls. He was so effective at getting penetration to the FT area and putting up a soft floater. I also played college PG and just remember how effective that is, especially as a less-athletic, little white guy that had a hard time getting all the way to the rim. To me it seems a perfect fit for his game… I can see him knocking down a couple 3’s then giving a slight fake and creating just enough space to get into that area and be effective.

    any thoughts or comments?

  7. Geoff-

    Last year I think we were beginning to see signs Jordy might just be able to develop that type of shot into his game…I remember a few ESPN announcers that shouted out praises and were pretty astonished with Hulls’ rate of advancement in his game and becoming a player that could create his own shot off the dribble. I’m not sure if he’ll really need to force the issue with the more complete inside-outside game we should have because of Cody and added presence in the paint. He’ll hopefully get more 3-point looks and we’ll see some stretches in games where he goes off on a deadly streak of draining bombs. If he does display the added quickness and chooses to go to a floater-type move, he’ll have multiple options he couldn’t previously go to before we got the big 7-footer..a bounce pass to a sure-handed Cody as he pulls the inside defender away… Or, maybe he could disguise his shot and toss a floating high lob pass to Oladipo, Elston, Pritch, or Cody just outside the cylinder for an assist to a thunderous crowd-pleasing slam. A ton of options should open up this year.

  8. FWIW,
    True, he will be more effective as a scorer, as well as others, on the perimeter with Cody. You touched on what I am most impressed with, his passing ability. Hulls has awesome vision and awareness. I would like to see a compilation of his passing highlights. I think we will see more of those skills as well.

  9. The great thing about this season is that we have more scoring threats. Last year, teams could double up on Hulls and leave a non-scorer open. If you shut down Hulls and Watford, you pretty much shut down the Hoosiers.

    This year, you won’t be able to leave anyone open (except maybe Pritch, we’ll see if he improves his offense), and the only person I think the opposing teams will double up on is Cody. At the last open scrimmage, it seemed like the defense really focused on Cody and our outside shooters had a field day. Still, Cody got a bunch of “quiet” points.

    I look for Hulls and Etherington to score a bunch of points ths year from down town.

    I don’t think you can overestimate the shift this year, in which we will have 4-5 scoring threats on the floor at the same time, as opposed to 2-3 last year. EVERYONE will benefit, as this will spread the defense out.

  10. FWIW – exactly. That is the progression from adding that shot, especially when going middle because of the natural spacing. The other option you didn’t mention was kicking to perimeter shooters when he draws help from that first rotation… and then the next pass might even lead to an even cleaner look. But it’s all predicated on the defenses respect for him to make that floater. I don’t think any team is going to fear him finishing around the rim and if he gets too deep he limits his options.

    IU hasn’t had an effective penetrator since… well, Gordon, but he was a score-only penetrator. I think because of his IQ, 3-pt shooting, and toughness Jordan can be that guy to finally break down defenses and force them to make tough choices.

  11. Not that anyone here necessarily cares, but I play on a team that scrimmages local prep and college teams in the pre-season. We played(and beat) Bridgton Academy last night and they have a couple legit players heading to St. John’s. The guy that really stood out, was Darrick Wood, who is from the DC area and played for the NJ Playaz. He is the best offensive player I have seen in Maine since Caron Butler, with deep range, a really impressive mid-range game, and elite hops. He dropped 30 on a NBA D-league wing last night while only playing half the game.

    Wondering if anyone saw this guy in the AAU circuit, maybe against an Indiana Elite or other IU recruits. Can’t figure out why he isn’t ranked higher on the boards.

  12. Geoff- I agree. Plus, the changed dynamics in the middle with the addition of Zeller(many more put-back opportunities and the added presence on the boards keeping possessions alive) will take some pressure off every shot taken needing to drop. That extra inside strength naturally removes a lot of the tightness in jump shot releases that can creep into the psyche when a shooter knows his team is not very dominant on the glass. Knowing every shot doesn’t have to fall will make a marksman like Jordy all the more deadly…He’ll be looser and every possession won’t feel like a make-or-break. Second chance points around the glass works wonders on increasing a team’s overall shooting percentages and assist numbers.

  13. 6’0 tall cant play d “creans fault” cant get to the rim. all he can do is shoot and he passes up on open shots!!! just shoot the ball jordie. iv’e seen enough hulls, moores and roths to last me a lifetime. cant wait for 2012 when we get some some kids who can do more than hit open 3’s. i know it sounds harsh but every iu fan knows this is a fact. yogi is smaller than jordie and attacks the basket like carmelo.

  14. The following time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I do know it was my option to learn, but I truly thought youd have one thing interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you would fix in case you werent too busy in search of attention.

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