Live Chat transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat with Dustin, Jeremy and Andy. Thanks for being here. It may be a bye week for football, but there’s plenty to talk about so let’s get to it.

Gentlemen: How are you doing on this first Thursday in fall?

JEREMY: First Thursday of fall, huh? Guess that explains the impending convergence of soccer, football and basketball seasons. Betting there’s some questions on all three of those today, so let’s get to it.

DUSTIN: Not bad, closely following the Lourawls “Tum-Tum” Nairn announcement via Twitter. Betting they don’t have a livestream in Kansas. Anyway, the real winners in the Nairn sweepstakes are the headline writers in whatever town Nairn ends up in, because that’s just a gold mine. You get to make references to 70s soul songs AND 3 Ninjas. Anyway, that’s coming up. Might be a little in and out for that reason, but I’ll post about it in here whenever it’s official. Otherwise, let’s go.

ANDY: Just back from driving the wife to the Indy airport. It was a more successful trip to Indy than the IU soccer team had, apparently. But ready to chat.

QUESTION: What a waste of a trip to Indy for that wreck. You got mad at me for saying this was like the Freitag era but this is IDENTICLE to Freitag era.. Coughing up leads in the last min and games ending up in OT is EXACTLY what got Freitag FIRED and its happening again. To go to OT 5 times in 8 games (and 3 of the games had no buisiness being there in 1st place.)is rediculous. This mental weakness at the end is what got Freitag in trouble time after time after time.

 

This defense is weak and needs major fixing period. Maybe the team can get it together. We’ll see but I also think the talent has gotten a bit worse each year (I actually think those last Freitag teams had MORE talent) and that needs to change.

 

Also being in OT it fine but to lose 4 times in 5 matches in OT is rediculous. most temas would be like 2-2-1 or something.

 

Thoughts on all this and if this Freitag stuff goes away? I want a thorough analysis of the team.

 

IU Soccer Fan, Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU soccer fan,

I don’t get mad at you, I just beg to differ. Look, what happens over the course of eight games or even a season does not even out with what happened over the course of several years under Mike Freitag. And coughing up leads, giving up foolish goals isn’t what led to Freitag being let go — symptomatic perhaps, but there was an erosion of of not just results, but discipline and talent over time.

 

That being said, it is ironic you bring up Freitag, because I remarked last night that the loss to Butler was probably the worst/most difficult to take for an IU team since the Hoosiers let a two-goal lead slip away at St. John’s with a trip to the College Cup on the line in 2008.

 

The defense was certainly weak when it counted most, but much of the night it was pretty darn good. But when teams get desperate late, it just seems like there’s a lack of communication and responsibility for whatever reason. It’s worth noting that IU had freshman Billy McConnell at right back and Matt McKain playing inside from late in the first half through the end. And maybe not having a veteran like Kerel Bradford in there wound up hurting the Hoosiers — I’d have to go back and watch to see what happened again. I don’t know if Bradford was healthy or not — Butler was testing him with balls over the top early on, and he’s coming off that injury suffered less than two weeks ago. Regardless, whoever is in the game has to step up and make a defensive play, but at this point, it’s not like you can just trot out four new defenders. That’s not going to help.

 

And if the IU offense knocks in another goal or two, all this would be a moot point anyway, so there’s blame to go around. The crazy thing is that the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half were very good, then the first 40 minutes of the second half were the best I’ve seen the Hoosiers play all season (and by the way, Butler is a pretty good team).

 

That’s a big part of the frustration the team feels, and that fans like yourself feel. This team occasionally looks like No. 1, then No. 25, then very pedestrian, all in the same game. Consistency, I guess, is the missing ingredient. Will it come? Can’t say for sure one way or the other, but the Big Ten season starts Sunday, so the Hoosiers are going to have to start finding results soon.

DUSTIN: I have nothing to say here, but Lourawls Nairn has picked Michigan State as expected by many. Anyway, have fun with this one Sirs Price and Graham.

ANDY: I suppose it’s churlish of me to say that your ranting would seem more effective if you could spell words such as identical and ridiculous, but there it is. I’m not saying there isn’t an issue regarding closing out games, because there clearly is. However, I think your ability to evaluate talent is questionable if you think this team is less talented than the latter Freitag teams. If you talk with the players, I think a lot of them feel this is the most talented team on which they’ve played, including last year’s national championship side.

By all accounts, Indiana thoroughly dominated the last stages of the first half and 40 minutes of the second half against a good Butler team on the road only to get stung twice at the very end. This is partly just how soccer can be. Your header hits post. Their header hits home. But this has happened enough times now that it can’t simply be attributed to happenstance. IU has to feel snake-bitten heading down the stretch of games and certainly into overtimes, because it’s happened enough times to get into just about anybody’s head. It is undeniably an issue now, one with which the coaches and players have to deal.

How does one deal with that? By making damned sure you finish chances on your end and don’t allow chances at their end when it’s crunchtime. It’s pretty basic at this point. And that’s going to be a test of focus and determination. What was essentially the same group of players certainly aced that sort of test the latter part of last season. Let’s see if they can’t do it again.

I haven’t seen every match but, going on what I have seen, I do think IU has some communication issues in its back third, with a new goalie-center back combo. If so, that needs to get worked out, pronto. And the distribution out of the back isn’t always what it needs to be, either. I also think Tommy Thompson is emerging as a force as a striker now, which will continue to pay dividends.

 

As I’ve noted before, soccer, more than most sports, has a tendency toward results that don’t quantify play very well. Indiana has gone through a really bad spell of that this season. Those things tend to even out over time (even in overtime, so to speak) but this is now somewhat of a psychological hurdle the Hoosiers have to clear. Perhaps moving onto the Big Ten stage will allow them to hit the refresh button a bit, mentally and emotionally. It’s a clear demarkation point in the season. A nice win Sunday over Ohio State would surely help, particularly if it involves some key late scoring for the home team and a lack of chances down the stretch for the visitors.

QUESTION: 1. Well that Missouri game was a trainwreck. How long does Wilson and particularly Doug Mallory get if this effort continues? Also what is the final record in your opinion? I’ll go 4-8 with wins over Purdue and Minnesota. What do you think the record will be?

 

2. Who would have thought that Women’s Soccer of all things (have not seen a single match or analyzed a game but saw they are undefeated) would be the only sport doing well this fall? Hopefully winter and spring bring better because I see across the board this looks like it has been one of the roughest falls I have seen.

 

3. Now to the good it looks like basketball recruiting is back on track and the future classes will work out after all!

 

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. Football fellas …

 

2. Well, I wouldn’t have thought women’s soccer would be carrying the fall sports banner. But their season is due to get a little tougher, starting with Ohio State today, so we’ll see how they hold up. Not sure what to make of the surprising results of the men’s soccer team, to be honest, but the raw talent is there to still make some noise, so wait and see before writing that one off. Same with football to a lesser extent, but winning four Big Ten games to make a bowl is asking a lot.

 

3. Basketball recruiting always works itself out, it seems. Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn is headed to Michigan State now, and that’s no surprise to me, especially after IU landed Robert Johnson last week. MSU just offered Nairn both an elite destination and an opportunity to step in right away — Spartans were desperate to land a point guard. Ideally, I suppose IU would like to add Blackmon, Okonoboh and Robinson for a four-man class, but I think two of the three would be acceptable as well.

DUSTIN: 1. I’ve corrected my record prediction to 5-7. Wilson’s getting five years unless there’s a truly disastrous season that speeds it up. And by disastrous I mean like 2-10. 4-8 is still about status quo for Indiana football, and that sort of record isn’t enough for frantic termination of a 7-year contract. As for Mallory, I don’t think there’s any point to making a mid-year change, but as defensive coordinator, his seat is certainly warmer than Wilson’s (because Wilson ultimately makes decisions on his own assistants) and there’s a possibility he could need to show progress on that side of the ball the rest of the way to keep his job. That being said, the Mallory name is an issue. His father’s firing is an old nasty wound that no one wants to reopen, and the atmosphere around the football family has been much better with the Mallory family back in the fold. Bill has been an advisor to Wilson and I don’t think he’s looking to lose that. Wilson’s life would be a lot easier if the defense would make at least some tangible improvement.

ANDY: Darren:

 

1. Coach Wilson gets at least five years and probably longer, unless something really drastic happens. Fred Glass believes in him and understands this is a process, a long-term rebuild. I think a lot of IU people understand how unwise it has been, how much upheaval there has been, to try changing coaches every three years or so. Especially for an attempt at culture change of this magnitude.

 

As for coordinators, that’s another story. There is no doubt that coaching college defense is especially challenging these days, but that the coaching on the defensive side of the ball at IU has to be under some scrutiny, given the general results so far. That’s just the reality of it. And I think some IU head coaches in the past have stayed loyal to coordinators, which is understandable and admirable in most respects, when it ended up being counter-productive. But that’s Wilson’s call and nobody else’s. He’s the guy ultimately responsible for the direction of the program, and he’s certainly in position to be a better judge of his staff than anybody else.

 

2. Berbary does seem to be a bit of a dynamo, doesn’t she? (And a special shout out to Zibba Huck, a sophomore defender for the IU soccer women and Bloomington North grad who is the daughter of former IU quarterback Chad Huck. The Hucks are good people.) But other than the soccer women, as you note, it’s been a tough fall so far. I can’t imagine the soccer men won’t turn it around at some point. And if the football team rallies, that obviously would cast things in a better light.

 

3. Basketball recruiting is probably always going to work out pretty well with Tom Crean in town. That’s my take. I think the evidence bears that out. IU’s not always going to get everybody it wants, and goes after so many guys that it inevitably won’t get most of them, but the final results always seem pretty doggone good. Fans need to be patient during recruiting cycles. The 24/7 internet age makes that harder to do, but it’s still the wise approach for fans to adopt.

QUESTION: Good morning gentlemen, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for the chat and for all of your other hard work! On to the questions.

 

1. The Missouri game was the first time I think the offensive line has really felt the impact of all the injuries. The line is deeper than it was in the past but I think losing so many quality players really showed up as Missouri pressured Nate Sudfeld on nearly every dropback. I know Feeney can’t come back this season but do you think Taylor and/or Eckert can play against Penn State next Saturday?

 

2. The bye week in college usually means rest and healing for starters and increased workloads for guys who haven’t played very much. Do you think there will be any shake-ups in the 2-deep on either side of the ball for the game against the Nittany Lions and if so, which players do you think could work their way into playing time?

 

3. I can’t believe basketball season is getting started this week. I guess having a baby in the house accelerates time (or is that age?). Anyway, I spent a little bit of time at work thinking (you didn’t think I would actually be working at work did you?) about how IU would defend the perimeter this season without the singular defensive wrecking ball of Victor Oladipo. How do you think they will defend elite perimeter scorers like Gary Harris? I kind of settled on IU throwing a variety of guys (Sheehey and Williams for length, Gordon and maybe Etherington for strength, Robinson and Ferrell for speed) who offer different things that can keep a scorer from getting into a rhythm. What do you think?

 

Thanks for everything guys, enjoy the bye weekend and rest up for a what should be a really big week with basketball practice getting underway and then IU hosting Penn State in a game I am deeming huge (because I will be there for it so obviously, it’s important). God bless and go Hoosiers.

 

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

Glad to have you on board, as usual. I’ll leave 1 & 2 for the football fellas.

 

3. I know the start of practice having been moved up by the NCAA is part of the reason, but it still always sneaks up on you to a point.

 

Defensively, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head .There are a number of guys who can be effective defenders, ranging for the quickness of Yogi to strength and experience of Evan Gordon to the generally pestering nature of Will Sheehey. And the length of a Troy Williams or quickness of Stan Robinson can be a factor as well. I think IU will rely on having some depth to rotate defenders, giving guys different looks and trying to wear them down.

DUSTIN: Hey TJ, good to have you on.

1. Wilson sounded about 50-50 on that on Tuesday. Certainly the bye week comes at a good time there, but the nature of the injuries themselves are still causing problems. I gather that Taylor’s ankle sprain is a little more standard and that’s just a matter of time. But Eckert’s back has apparently been irritable. He’s been in and out of practice for two weeks, and it seems there are certain things it doesn’t react well to. The idea of a redshirt has at least been floated for him because he hasn’t used it yet, so not sure what to make of that one.

2. Don’t know that I see any major shake-ups just because it seems like all of the freshmen who were going to play already have. I think the offensive rotations are going to stay the same across the board. Maybe Jacob Bailey beats out David Kaminksi or Jake Reed at one of the guard spots, but I doubt it. On defense, I’d say there’s an opening for David Kenney to get more playing time at defensive end if he gets his head together over there, as he’s clearly the most purely talented pass rusher they have. That being said, Nick Mangieri has been very good, Zack Shaw has been better and Ryan Phillis has been at least solid, so he has to be a lot better to make a difference. You’re already seeing a lot of T.J. Simmons, Marcus Oliver and Clyde Newton at linebacker. I don’t think that changes. Antonio Allen is already getting as much or more playing time than Mark Murphy at safety alongside Greg Heban and I think IU is thrilled with what it’s getting from Tim Bennett and Michael Hunter at corner. If there’s one difference, I’d say they’re more likely to stick with bigger defensive tackles and not move defensive ends there as much. You’ll see more Darius Latham, Alex Todd, Ralph Green and Adarius Rayner and a little less Shawn Heffern and Mangieri.

3. Time is moving fast, but it is more than a little early this year. NCAA moved up the start date by basically two weeks, so there’s a reason this doesn’t feel quite natural. As for perimeter defense, like you said, it will certainly depend on what’s on the rest of the roster. Ferrell and Sheehey certainly earned the right to take on elite perimeter players and Gordon has a very good reputation there as well. I do think Sheehey gets the top wing assignment for now, but even with Oladipo, there was a cycle especially against Trey Burke and Khalif Wyatt. The difference here is that while the Hoosiers don’t have any defender as dominant as Oladipo, there also isn’t really anyone they have to hide as they did with Jordan Hulls, who, again, was an extremely intelligent off-ball defender and good at getting in the right positions, but just not quite athletic enough to keep certain guys in front of him. They have length and speed up and down the roster this year, and they’ll be able to mix it up with guys like Robinson and Troy Williams and even Devin Davis. Not sure where I’d put Etherington in that mix because I’m going to need to see him back first. But point being, they don’t have to go into every game trying to figure out who any one starter can possibly guard.

Thanks as always TJ.

ANDY: TJ:

 

1. Agree totally regarding the line, though I also thought there were concerns in earlier games. Too many missed assignments, among other things. Eckert is practicing. The key question there is going to be whether his performance level, after missing so much time, is going to clearly exceed that of Ralston Evans, who is starting to play pretty well in Eckert’s absence. Eckert has a redshirt available and how he performs during this bye week and next week might determine whether or not he plays this season. Taylor has already played and I would imagine will re-emerge into the rotation when healthy. He was still wearing a boot, I believe, as of last week. Not sure what his timetable is.

 

2. Very good question. The Hoosiers still aren’t mounting enough of a pass rush, so perhaps there is a chance a guy such as David Kenney could see more time if he can develop. And Marcus Oliver is one of the young linebackers who looks like he moves well laterally, better than some of the others, and knows how to hit. The same holds true of Antonio Allen at safety. If young guys such as they can get comfortable and really start turning it loose out there, they’ll play more. And I think we could see some shifting on the offensive line, too, in terms of the two-deep. Whoever is making the calls up front, and I would presume it’s center Collin Rahrig, needs to make sure guys are on the same page. Missouri’s stunts were giving Indiana fits up front.

 

3. As far as perimeter defense goes for the hoops Hoosiers, one thing I really like about Yogi’s game is his on-the-ball defense. That was a big reason IU beat Michigan State twice last season, I think — the job Yogi and others did on Appling. Sheehey can D-up guys on the perimeter, too, though he lacks the lateral (and overall) quickness of Oladipo. But as you note, this IU team should have a lot of options to its approach regarding perimeter D. It’s a very athletic group and there is no reason it shouldn’t develop well defensively. It might not be Oladipo-level defense, but I think it’ll be pretty effective, and, as you note, it could well benefit from the ability to rotate different sorts of defenders onto key opposition scorers.

 

Thanks, TJ.

QUESTION: Who will be our starters for the upcoming basketball season? I think it is pretty safe to say Will, Noah and Yogi are, but what about the other two spots? Has Jeremy, Hanner and Austin made enough improvement to challenge for the other two or will we be surprised?

 

indianavelt, Fort Wayne

JEREMY: indianavelt,

I have a feeling you may be surprised from game to game. As you say, Will, Noah and Yogi are pretty safe bets. But I think there will likely be some experimenting with the lineup both within games and to start games, at least through the first 10-12 games of the season as Tom Crean tries to figure out how the pieces fit.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollowell started at the 4 and Noah at the 5, with possibly Evan Gordon at the 2. But I also could see Noah at the 4 and Perea or even Fischer at the 5. Like I said, figuring out where the pieces fit, who gives you the spark you’re looking for off the bench, who’s better starting out games, who’s better closing out games. When you have 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, it’s hard to know anything for certain until they get in game situations.

 

Etherington, we’ll have to wait and see. He’s still less than 10 months removed from a pretty significant knee injury, so even though he’s back on the court, I don’t know if he’s game-ready just yet or at what point he might be this season.

DUSTIN: Right now, I’d guess Evan Gordon at shooting guard and Jeremy Hollowell at power forward with Vonleh playing something centerish. Gordon has some experience and some toughness and the Hoosiers don’t have a lot of the former right now so they could use his steadying force. Not sure Robinson or Williams are ready to start at the two guard, so having Gordon will help there. I’m not sure how ready Hollowell is, but I think he’s probably better than the alternatives, which would be either Perea or Luke Fischer. I think Fischer needs to bulk up some before he can be a starting center and certainly, Perea needs to show he’s got some coordination before they put him out there. And as for Etherington, he’s back practicing, but he’s still coming off a major knee injury and he wasn’t playing that much before he got hurt. Certainly a lot of evaluation has to be done there. But I actually spoke to Tom Crean about this a little bit for a Blue Ribbon preview story and he said in August he had no idea who his starters would be and that he actually doesn’t expect to have one steady lineup like he did last year. You could see a lot of shakeups throughout the year because this is a very young team.

ANDY: indianavelt:

 

Good question, and I would probably add Gordon to your list of probable starters, at least early in the season. This team can use another older, more experienced presence on the court while the younger guys are acclimating. I do think this will be an up and down season, as is generally the case with a young and inexperienced squad, and that the lineup will likely fluctuate quite a bit. But I would go with Ferrell, Sheehey, Vonleh, Gordon and then it might depend upon matchups. If IU wants to go big, you might see Fischer. If they want to go athletic on the perimeter, you might see Williams (presuming the hand injury doesn’t set him back too much.) If IU wants to go more athletic in the frontcourt, you might see Mosquera-Perea. If IU wants more shooting, you might see Etherington. Hollowell is a real wild-card for me. The key there is consistency. I’ve never seen it from him, and I’ve watched him play since his sophomore season at Lawrence Central. If he can consistently harness his considerable skills, he’d be a pretty good candidate for that fifth starter.

QUESTION: OSD is back for another rodeo. People in Beverly Hills call it R0-De-O. Strange people out there as they pronounce Carmel, Car-Mel. Glad to be in God’s country though I can barely see the heavens for all this smog up here in NW Indiana. Now onto the questions.

 

First as you are starting this chat Lourawls will be announcing his choice. I think he will choose IU. No reason just think so. If not we can survive anyway. My question is if he does say yes what about JB JR? Would CTC just quit contacting him so he gets the hint there is no room at Cook Hall? Would he keep recruiting even though we would not need 3 guards and if we get a big it would make a 4 man class for 3 spots? How does it work in these situations where you only have limited spots and you have already offered guys?

 

Since RJ JR declared after our chat last week wondering if you guys were surprised? I know Andy called it like the shark he is. Would love to take him to Vegas if he can pick them like that.

 

Who is scheduled to come to Hoosier Hysteria? Still do not understand why PU does not have an event. Does not make sense but fine with me as it gives IU advantage.

 

Do you guys still think we get GO? Heard he is going to Vegas for visit. Most recruiting gurus think he is coming to IU which makes me nervous as most thought RJ JR was going to NC.

 

Well better get back to work. At least IU won’t lose in FB this week. I threw that in as Andy likes me to mention FB in these chats. Just hope we get better as we do not want to eat another contract.

 

You boys keep on keeping on. I guess if I have to take a pay cut I won’t switch jobs with you.

 

With a mighty Hi-O OSD has left the chat………………………………….

 

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY: OSD,

Welcome as usual. Sorry to disappoint, but Lourawls Nairn is headed to East Lansing. The good news is that you’ll still get to see him play once or twice a year against Indiana.

 

Regardless, I don’t think Crean is backing off Blackmon. Keep in mind that with Evan Gordon graduating after this year, IU has just two true guards on the roster in Yogi and Robinson, so I think Crean wants at least two more guards for next year. And while the numbers may not add up for you and me, he probably has to just assume that he’s not getting all of these guys he wants. And if he does, he’ll figure it out next spring.

 

I was a little surprised with Robert Johnson, just because he visited three ACC schools, all of which appealed for varying reasons and the option to stay close to home is always tough to overcome, plus IU had the first visit and Johnson didn’t pull the trigger, so the longer he waited, the tougher it became for Indiana. But I’ll at least pat myself on the back for saying several months ago on this very chat when IU first was linked to Johnson, that I had a feeling about him. He just seemed like an IU kind of kid with the right kind of connections via Boo Williams and assistant coach Kenny Johnson’s recruiting to end up in Bloomington.

 

I believe Robert Johnson and Devin Robinson are the 2014s headed to Hoosier Hysteria. Pretty sure 2015’s Malachi Richardson is as well, not sure beyond that.

 

Not sure about Goodluck. Seems like IU is in pretty good position with him, but maybe like Lourawls he sees more playing time available elsewhere right away. And just the fact UNLV is getting a visit is very interesting, but if he chose Ohio State I wouldn’t be shocked either. Reading the tea leaves on this 2014 class has gotten far too difficult.

DUSTIN: OSD,

Wrong on that call. Nairn to Michigan State. Good fit there. Kind of similar to the Gary Harris situation in some ways… well similar if you take out the in-state drama involved in recruiting Harris. Point being, Michigan State had an immediate need at point guard it needed to fill and Nairn would have likely been an understudy to Yogi Ferrell for at least a year. Nairn was getting the keys to that offense right off the bat. Tough to beat that sell.

Don’t know what Crean would have done if he got Nairn, but I don’t get any impression they would stop recruiting Blackmon. There aren’t a lot of guards in the class, and I think they still really want him. As far as scholarships, it’s obviously very situational. As you’ve seen, Crean has no fear of over-signing, and last year, you saw why. he was only scheduled to lose three and he ended up losing seven. So in Crean’s mind you just keep recruiting, you have things you expect and you have a backup plan in mind. But at this point, I think they focus on Blackmon, Robinson and Okonoboh and try for a four-man class.

I was a little surprised on Johnson, just figured he’d stay ACC, good recruiting job.

I think they get Okonoboh. Not sure why, just do. Think the Vonleh connection matters. But yeah, I’m no expert on these things, and I don’t think I’ll ever be an expert on the decision-making of 18-year-olds. Not sure I want to be, really.

Thanks OSD.

ANDY: OSD:

 

Michigan State was the consensus guess for Nairn near the end and it panned out that way. I’ve heard he’s very Yogiesque, so to speak.

 

I think the IU door remains very much open for Blackmon, should he opt to walk through it. Johnson is obviously a very similar player in many respects, but it’s also true that the program needs a good infusion of shooters, and both Blackmon and Johnson fill that bill.

 

Thanks for crediting me with the correct call on Johnson but, if I made it, I was just guessing like everybody else was. But it’s a good sign that IU has a pretty decent batting average going head-to-head with UNC lately, including getting kids from traditional Tar Heel/ACC recruiting grounds. The Kenny Johnson/Boo Williams connections are clearly paying off.

 

The Hoosier Hysteria visitors list is huge (and not all, of course, are on official visits). And there are a lot of in-state guys coming in, which should help allay the concerns of those fans out there who mistakenly think the Hoosiers aren’t recruiting the state hard. Here is the list, as far as I know it:

2014: Robert Johnson and his good friend Devin Robinson, along with Ahmed Hill.

2015: Malachi Richardson (obviously big news there) and Aaron Jordan.

2016: Eron Gordon (Indianapolis North Central), Kyle Guy (Lawrence Central), Joey Brunk (Southport), C.J. Hedgepeth (Evansville), D.J. Wilkins (Merrillville), Braxton Blackwell (Nashville, Tenn.), Barret Benson (Chicagoland.)

2017: Paul Scruggs (Southport), Kris Wilkes (Indianapolis North Central), Zach Gunn (Hamilton Southeastern.)

Still think IU is in good shape with Okonoboh, from what I’ve heard, but that is hardly definitive.

Gotta say your football comments are both pithy and on-point this week.

And you would indeed almost certainly have to take a pay cut. But we love our jobs.

QUESTION: What are you hearing in regards to D Robinson and Goodluck?

 

Who are our major competitors?

 

Dave, Avon

JEREMY: Dave,

If IU’s courtship of Devin Robinson wasn’t in earnest before, it is now with his good friend Robert Johnson heading to Bloomington. And Robinson is coming to Hoosier Hysteria, which is never a bad experience for recruits. I believe he had an official to Notre Dame last weekend and is also looking at UConn, Florida and Oklahoma State.

 

As for Goodluck, IU has long been in a primo position with him and having his friend and former AAU teammate Noah Vonleh aids the cause. But not unlike Robert Johnson, he’s doing his due diligence and exploring all the options with visits to Ohio State and UNLV this weekend and into next week.

DUSTIN: As you know, Robert Johnson and Devin Robinson are pretty tight, and that certainly helps IU’s cause on that one. Connecticut, Florida, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State are the chief competitors on that one. I haven’t gathered that it’s anything other than even on that one, but I’m not totally dialed in there. Okonoboh, I think they’re in better shape because he’s been such a priority for them and the Vonleh connection really helps. He’s down to Ohio State and UNLV and he has visits to both of those over the weekend. I think he picks IU, but you can never be sure.

ANDY: Dave:

 

IU is right in there on both those guys, and getting either and/or both would clearly be huge news for the Hoosiers. I’m hearing Notre Dame, UConn and Florida as the primary competition for Robinson. I don’t think there is much doubt that Robert Johnson’s decision last week is a positive, if not necessarily decisive, factor for IU with Devin. Goodluck is visiting UNLV and it’s always possible he might opt to stay closer to home. It might come down to the Hoosiers and the Rebs for him.

QUESTION: Where does IU stand with Devin Robinson? Hopefully Crean can finish the class with Robinson and Goodluck. Second question is Who is going to emcee Hoosier Hysteria this year?

 

Bill, Bloomington

JEREMY: Bill,

See some of the previous questions on Robinson, but you have to like IU’s chances at this point.

 

Haven’t heard anything on an emcee for Hoosier Hysteria. Maybe Victor Oladipo returns to man the mike?

DUSTIN: Again, pretty good thanks to the Johnson connection. Emcee? Good question and I have no idea. Maybe Tom Crean takes the mic back.

ANDY: Bill:

 

IU stands right there with Devin Robinson, whose pal from middle school Robert Johnson picked the Hoosiers last week. Notre Dame is right there, too. Also hearing UConn and Florida as possibilities. Most folks think it’s between IU and UNLV for Okonoboh. Don’t know who the HH emcee will be. Perhaps Dustin and/or Jeremy do.

QUESTION: Hey guys,

 

Hoosier Hysteria is obviously very close. Who or what are you going to be looking at the most during the drills and scrimmage?

 

Do you see Marlin playing a big role this year? He’s obviously a good shooter and with the athleticism of the whole team, the team defense could still do alright even if he’s a step slow if he can space the floor on the other end. Any minutes at the backup pg spot are only going to be spot minutes anyway.

 

Who takes the 5 spot?

 

Thanks.

 

Yes, Bloomington

JEREMY: Yes,

Is everything a bad answer? Man, there are so many questions. How’s the backcourt play out, how’s the frontcourt play out? How do these guys play with each other? Can IU shoot well enough from outside to keep defenses honest? That’s just for starters.

 

I don’t know that Jonny Marlin plays a big role. I don’t even know if he plays a little role. But he certainly could wind up important, as he’s only an injury or two, even foul trouble, away from a big role. My guess is Stan Robinson gets some time as the backup point guard, and maybe Marlin too.

 

The 5 spot could be Vonleh, Perea, Fischer … who knows? Probably will be all three at varying points, but I suppose I’ll have a better answer once we actually get to see something like Hoosier Hysteria.

DUSTIN: I don’t know about a huge role. I’d say the ceiling is Jonny Marlin is to Yogi Ferrell as Spike Albrecht is to Trey Burke. He’s going to get some backup minutes simply because there isn’t an obvious backup PG. Stanford Robinson would get some time there, you would think, as would Evan Gordon, but I think there will be a time for minutes for Marlin. In the scrimmage, I’m just looking for everything. Unlike with last year’s freshmen, there are members of this group we haven’t seen much up close. I’ve seen Luke Fischer and Noah Vonleh at AAU tournaments but I don’t think I truly understand their games. I’ve only seen Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson up close at the Derby Classic. I’m very interested to see how all of these parts come together and I don’t have the first clue how they will yet. It’s kind of fascinating.

ANDY: Yes:

 

Won’t be at HH this year, but I’ve always been a Jonny Marlin fan since seeing him play for Center Grove (where he, among other things, pretty much single-handedly beat a state championship-caliber Bloomington South team in overtime at the Hall of Fame Classic.) Dude is indefatigable. Should have been an Indiana All-Star. I think he’ll definitely see some back-up minutes at the point. I’m still thinking Fischer emerges at the 5 at some point.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us. Be sure to follow the IU sports scene on The Hoosier Scoop blog and app.

 

Gentlemen: Thanks for your time. What else should we know before we say goodbye?

JEREMY: You should know that we’ll do this again next week. And Andy will have the coverage on Sunday’s Big Ten opener for IU men’s soccer against Ohio State. And basketball practice starts this weekend. That should about do it. Thanks for joining us.

DUSTIN: Football has a bye week this weekend, but basketball practices is already starting up and we’ll have coverage today from player availability. And there will be plenty more beyond that this weekend. Thanks everybody.

ANDY: Going to take some time Saturday to go watch my younger son Evan march with the Pride of Mid-America, Ball State’s band, and hopefully get back for some Lotus Festival enjoyment that evening. So this IU football bye week was good timing for me. Hope everybody is pointing toward a similarly enjoyable weekend. Thanks, as always, for chatting and/or checking in.

QUESTION: Hey guys,

 

Hoosier Hysteria is obviously very close. Who or what are you going to be looking at the most during the drills and scrimmage?

 

Do you see Marlin playing a big role this year? He’s obviously a good shooter and with the athleticism of the whole team, the team defense could still do alright even if he’s a step slow if he can space the floor on the other end. Any minutes at the backup pg spot are only going to be spot minutes anyway.

 

Who takes the 5 spot?

 

Thanks.

 

Yes, Bloomington

ANDY: I think perhaps this question was listed twice? Thanks, anyhow, Yes.

3 comments

  1. Interesting to hear Andy get his heart rate up over Jonny Marlin.

    I suggest Southport65 examine the full extent of deep emotions in those couple sentences from Andy as he talks of the high school heroics of the little walk-on that could. Did you feel that? There’s nothing objective in those goosebumps. That’s the little high school and small town that knocks the giants off their crown. That’s the love of the underdog and the upset come to town. He may sport a St. Louis Cardinals cap, but he’s as hometown Hoosier as Hinkle, Crispus Attucks, French Lick, Bird, Big O, Bobby Plump hickory chips meets maple at Damon Bailey’s backyard barbecue as they get. If Crean builds Indiana with only talk and not true investment those too damn proud their state’s basketball traditions, he’ll lose more than a chess game to Jim Boeheim.

  2. “indefatigable” I think I once used that adjective to describe DeAndre Thomas.

    I’d be willing to bet a Trojan Horse dinner for the entire Scoop journalists team(max prize value = $40.00) that that was the only appearance of “indefatigable” ever to be used in the history of any print to find the Hoosier Scoop screens(Live Chats, stories, ScoopTalk, commentary, quotes, bloggers’ comments) anywhere, anytime. You da man, Andy.

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