Friday’s live chat transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Thanks for being here.
Andy, Mike and Jeremy: How are you today? Ready to get started?

JEREMY: As ready as ever this Friday. Let’s dive in.

MIKE: Hey, everybody. Doing well. Let’s chat.

ANDY: Sure looked and felt like football season last evening as IU concluded its spring sessions with a public practice, with a ton of other IU athletes from sundry sports present for the festivities. Got one in the mood to … chat.

QUESTION: With the circus that was IUWBB this offseason, what should fan expectation be for next year? Lost two huge assets for next year including Brooks and Stratman!

Robert, Bloomington

JEREMY: Robert,
Good question, and keep in mind that IU may not be done adding pieces for next season. The spring signing period runs through May 20.
That said, I think you have to expect progress. For one, because the roster is at least a little more balanced in terms of guards and bigs. For two, because this will be the second year under Teri Moren’s system and with players who theoretically suit her preferences. That said, there won’t be a senior on the roster, so still a very young team overall.
The full schedule hasn’t been released yet either, so maybe we can revisit some actual numbers then.

MIKE: Tempered. They still don’t have a post player that can help them achieve the kind of conference breakthrough that they need. I expect they’ll do fine in November and December, but I’ll be curious to see what the non-conference schedule looks like when it’s released this summer. It’s been embarrassingly soft the last few years, something that is partly — maybe mostly — attributable to coach Jack. I know Miller wanted to beef it up a bit down the road, so I imagine we might see a game or two of his choosing this year. Personnel wise, I don’t think they’ll have a single senior. So I don’t know, but I’m not expecting a much different win/loss record than this year’s. Best case scenario is getting rid of all the drama that followed this team from beginning to end and giving Teri Moren an opportunity to try again with players who have bought in to a system they feel comfortable with.

ANDY: Robert:
Circus, maybe, who was the ringleader for the circus? I’m hardly an expert on the women’s program, but I sense this team perhaps had a clique or two. I find it intriguing that Brooks and Agler both ended up at Texas Tech. And that Agler’s dad, Brian, reportedly angled for the IU job and didn’t get it (and if so, just guessing here, perhaps due to some NCAA transgressions while at Kansas State in the mid-1990s). And that Agler’s dad just hired Curt Miller with the LA Sparks. All of that at least implies, to me at least, that Coach Moren probably had some issues to confront upon her upon arrival in Bloomington, both overt and covert. Could she and her staff have handled situations better? Maybe. I’m just looking in from the periphery. But I also don’t know that I’d lay all of the off-season “circus” at her feet.
I imagine Stratman, who ended up never playing a second for Indiana, will head back to Butler. Muensterman, who seems like a great kid, wasn’t going to be a great fit, given the style Coach Moren wants to play, and Belmont seems a good avenue for her.
As for expectations next season, well, the roster almost certainly isn’t set as yet. But there will obviously be some growing pains as Coach Moren rebuilds the program and reshapes it in the image she prefers. The hurdle got a little higher with the transfers, to be sure, but in the long run the program might be better off with players who are happy in Bloomington and anxious to play for Coach Moren.
As for expectations

QUESTION: 1. How come when Justin Alber’s tweeted “but Yogi leaning towards entering nba draft” none of you verified his report or retweeted it? You were quick to retweet Rabjohns report about Blackmon staying yesterday? I am not blaming you guys and not in the least accusing Albers of making stuff up but in this day in age with the 24/7 news cycle when one reporter for a team has a breaking tweet like that other reporters like you guys are quick to give the same information and wondered why this time was different?
2. Did Fred Glass screw up Chris Lemonis hire? Way to early to say but the teams steal bases at all cost and inability to execute is worrysome. This team is not anywhere as good as last couple but it should be 10-15 games over .500 and 4th in Big Ten on talent and it is no where near that.
Mike, Seymour

JEREMY: Mike,
(1) For the record, Mike and I didn’t retweet either one of those Thursday. But the difference between the two is Rabjohns was reporting news, while Albers wasn’t saying Yogi is definitely going, just leaning.

(2) As you note, it’s way too early to say. Indiana wouldn’t be the first baseball team, college or otherwise, to see the results fall short of the talent. Worry about it in a couple of years.

MIKE: Hey Mike,
Let me point you to both mine and Jeremy’s Twitter accounts. Neither of us retweeted anything, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about there. With regards to Albers’ tweet, he said Yogi is leaning toward the draft, which is neither breaking nor concrete news. It came from one of his sources and, without knowing where he got it from exactly, there’s no way to completely or wholly confirm it. Besides, it’s an opinion so there’s nothing to confirm or verify.

There are definitely some situational things I disagree with Lemonis over, but I’ve received no indication that he isn’t the right guy for this job. The season’s not over and there remain some really good opportunities to make up ground down the stretch. Can they do so? Yes, but just let it play out. I’d be more concerned if recruiting — Lemonis’ biggest strength — weren’t moving along well. All reports are that he and IU are in on some well-regarded prospects in the midwest. That’s encouraging. The lineup that was left to him isn’t great, though I will say that some of the small-ball philosophies he talked about implementing haven’t taken hold. That’s gotta fall on the staff at some level. Otherwise, he’s a first-year coach. Everyone needs to chill out and give him a couple years before the judgements start coming down.

ANDY: Mike:
1. Not sure how we could have “verified” Justin’s “report,” not knowing his sources. If Albers said “leaning,” that’s different than the Rabjohns post, which flat-out said Blackmon was returning to IU. I know Rabby well enough to know that he wouldn’t have posted such as declarative statement unless it was very, very solidly sourced. I didn’t see Justin’s tweet, but might not have re-tweeted it, anyhow, given it wasn’t declarative in any sort of definite way.

2. Again, it’s just way too early to be passing judgement on a first-year, first-time head coach. The Big Ten portion of the season hasn’t gone particularly well, obviously, and it seems a long time ago that the team won 12 straight. But let’s have at least one season play out, then see how recruiting goes and then see what sort of program Coach Lemonis can build before we start making large-scale pronouncements about the hire. Almost any coaching transition, whatever the circumstances, is going to have some bumps in the road. Let’s see what sort of path he can pave on his own terms.

QUESTION: Hi guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your continued hard work and excellent coverage.
1. The outlook (not the fate, just the perception heading into it) of IU’s basketball season will largely be determined by the announcement of Yogi Ferrell tomorrow night. I won’t ask for any predictions but I will ask this…if Yogi leaves, do you think Tom Crean is comfortable with only having three guards on the roster (I guess Troy would be used a guard as well but realistically, Blackmon, Johnson and Zeisloft are the only guards) or do you think he’d do everything possible to add a 4th guard to the 2015-16 squad? I read his comments about needing a Plan B and Plan C and I know they offered Mychal Mulder (believe he’s going to a suddenly needy UK) but I’m curious about how you’d think he’d approach that hypothetical situation.

2. I’m as excited for the upcoming football season as I’ve ever been. I get a really good vibe from this group and I really think they believe they can have a pretty good squad. Spring practice has now concluded so, in your opinion, who are a couple of players who have seen their “stock” go up and maybe a couple who you think trending down?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts, I really appreciate it. Have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers!
TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,
1. I would agree that the perception would be altered a bit should Yogi leave, although I still think there would be greater expectations than a year ago. I do think IU would prefer to have a fourth guard, but I also think it could survive with three, plus Troy Williams, as you note. That’s especially true now that there’s more depth on the frontline, where you could even move Collin Hartman to the three with OG Anunoby. The one flaw in all this is that if one of the guards is injured, a la Robert Johnson last year, the ballhandling options are suddenly very limited. I agree that Mulder looks like a longshot right now, so it will be interesting to see if there’s another 2015 option out there should Yogi go. Regardless of what Yogi decides, I get the feeling we may not be done with the offseason player movement.
2. Football dudes …

MIKE: Hey TJ,
If Ferrell leaves, I’d be surprised if Crean didn’t add another guard. Not shocked, but surprised. Thing is, I’m not sure who they’d turn to target because it does feel like Mulder is leaning elsewhere. You touched on Crean’s comments about having a backup plan, as well as a backup play for the backup plan. He certainly alluded to the idea that this roster could — and probably will — see some more changes between now and August. I look at Johnson, Blackmon and Zeisloft — and maybe Williams and Hartman could be grouped among them, too — and just feel like IU, and Crean especially, could use one more guy who could provide additional help as needed, or should an injury occur.

I was curious about this same question after last night’s 15th and final practice, so I polled Wilson, Johns and Knorr. Technically, though, I phrased it by saying, “Who made the most of these spring practices?” For Knorr, it was Robert McCray and Noel Padmore, which is encouraging. Plenty of people are curious to see what Padmore can do when he gets his opportunity — myself included — and he has appeared to run with it this spring. Johns said he liked what he saw from the increased roles of Ricky Brookins and Alex Rodriguez, who will fight for No. 3 running back duties. Wilson said Nate Sudfeld really came into his own in his first season as the clear No. 1 quarterback before adding that he liked what he saw from Adarius Rayner and Nick Mangieri up front on the defensive line. As far as guys with depreciating stock, it’s hard to pinpoint, but I think Ralph Green put himself in a bad situation last weekend. No question about that.

ANDY: TJ:
I subscribe to your characterization of Yogi’s possible pending departure as affecting the outlook of IU’s upcoming men’s basketball season perhaps more than its actual fate, though there is no question his exit would have an impact. And it wise to note that it would leave IU very thin in terms of actual guards. I don’t think Coach Crean would be comfortable with that, at all, and I’m therefore pretty confident he’s got contingency plans in place. I think he’d most certainly do everything he could to bring in a legitimate fourth guard. And maybe a fifth, depending upon how other personnel circumstances shake out. I think it’s entirely reasonable to assume that the 2015 recruiting isn’t necessarily over for IU regardless of what Yogi announces. There isn’t much doubt, for example, the Hoosiers are still in there pitching strongly for elite frontliner Thon Maker (who, if he plays in college, might be a second-semester guy.)

2. The football vibe is definitely positive in and around the program. Coach Wilson said last night he had told assistants to stop watching so much film this spring and go hang out with players in the weight room and other places to further build relationships between staff and players. He thinks it has contributed to even more buy-in and cohesion than before, and things are already heading in that direction. The guys are working hard and whistling while they work, so to speak. There seems to be a real sense of unified purpose, even beyond what was there before. And it doesn’t hurt to have a senior quarterback, the clear starter, leading and setting that tone, either.
As to “stock up” guys, Brian Knorr mentioned cornerback Noel Padmore and defensive end Robert McCray as a couple of younger guys who had elevated themselves a bit this spring. He also said it’s hard to believe Greg Gooch is still in his first year on campus. He noted Darius Latham had a strong spring, buoyed by some weight loss. Sudfeld had a great spring. T.J. Simmons was having one before his injury. Coach Johns talked about “forcing” Tim Gardner in at RT with the 1s, and that the shift of Camiel to guard was intriguing. Coach Wilson praised “older guys” such as Sudfeld, Rayner, Shaw, Spriggs, Feeney, Mangieri, Evans, Corsaro as setting a great example these days for the younger guys. As to guys whose stock perhaps declined a bit, well, Ralph Green comes immediately to mind. And I thought it was intriguing that Ben Bach spent time at No. 1 corner, alongside Padmore, rather than Rashard Fant, in the Cream and Crimson game — but then Knorr also mentioned Fant specifically as having had a good spring when talking Thursday night.
Thanks, as always, TJ.

QUESTION: Great to finally get Thomas Bryant’s letter in… with all of the defections to the NBA elsewhere, I wasn’t going to feel too comfortable until he made it official. That being said, how does Bryant compare to Noah Vonleh. They seem to be about the same physically, and play a similar style. Do you see him as potentially a one and done? I ask this because – assuming Yogi and Blackmon both return for next year – we could be looking at a nightmare scenario where we lose Yogi, Blackmon, Troy, Hanner and possibly Bryant after next season. That could be disastrous.
pbat, South Bend

JEREMY: pbat,
I get the natural instinct to compare Thomas Bryant with Noah Vonleh and Cody Zeller, since they played center at IU, but the biggest difference in those comparisons for me is that Bryant is more of a true center, while Vonleh and Zeller were really power forwards serving as centers in the college game. When I watched Vonleh play before he got to IU, I was impressed with his comfort level handling and shooting the ball on the perimeter while still being aggressive on the boards. Bryant, on the other hand, enjoys shooting the 3 but also recognizes that the foundation of his game is in the paint. I’m not sure I see Bryant as a one and done, but I didn’t see Vonleh as a one and done either, so you never know how that’s going to go. Regardless, there could very well be significant roster turnover after next season, but what kind of season it was may help determine who IU could pick up to fill the gap.

MIKE: Hey pbat,
Honestly, I see a little more of Cody Zeller’s game in Bryant than I do Vonleh’s. Bryant runs the floor like Zeller and has a more refined offensive side of his game than Vonleh did upon his arrival. Vonleh also probably had a bit more physical definition, which is still crazy to think about when you realize how young he was when he got here. Vonleh and Zeller are the two natural comparisons to be made, but I also really think Thomas Bryant is Thomas Bryant. He doesn’t really fit the mold of either of those predecessors — not in a bad way! — which should make it exciting for those looking forward at tracking his growth.

Bryant told us he thinks he’ll be at IU for two years, but that can always change and it’s hard to really gauge this far away from the season. That said, you’re right about the possible exodus. I think it’s darn near guaranteed that we’ll be talking about a completely different roster this time next year, and the players who either leave or return will likely have some bearing on Bryant’s decision to stay for a second season.

ANDY: pbat:
I’ve only seen Thomas Bryant play on film and via TV, while I’d seen Vonleh in person before he got to IU, so the comparison is a bit more difficult for me to gauge than it might be for Mike and Jeremy. I do think they are comparable guys. Vonleh struck me as perhaps a bit more physically robust, I guess, but I like how Bryant plays. He seems intuitive, well-versed and team-oriented. And post-oriented (as was Vonleh), which is what this particular IU team needs on both ends of the court. His ability to defend around the rim should help Indiana defenders on the perimeter to play more aggressively.

I was talking to some IU beat writers up in the press box at football practice last night and the scenario of something akin to a mass exodus after next season came up. It could well be, of course, that Yogi opts to depart as of Saturday, which would alter that potential post-2015-16 season picture a bit. That group you mention departing en masse would have an impact, no question, but as Coach Crean said earlier this week, it behooves college coaches to never, ever stop recruiting. Where openings arise, there are opportunities. And if the Hoosiers are coming off a strong season, which isn’t implausible, that could also enhance the recruiting pitch. So it isn’t necessarily a “disastrous” possible situation. Only a challenging one.

QUESTION: 1. Can we finally agree that every IU sport should be required to play at least one game a year in Indy? Both the IU Notre Dame baseball game (which I went to after a business trip to Indy) and IU Butler soccer game (which looked packed based on pictures on twitter although I wasn’t there) drew way better than they would have in Bloomington and were majority IU fans. Also Indy media which only covers these sports in postseason usually, sent both newspaper and TV reporters to the games which generates free publicity you don’t get if games in Bloomington.
2. In terms of soccer is it fair to expect team to be legitimate national championship contender in light of spring play? Team never plays well in spring and to beat a pro team (Indy 11), a top 5 college team (Notre Dame) and a youth national team you rarely beat would seem to indicate this will be IU’s best team since mid 2000’s (I know team won championship in 2012 but it wasnt an elite team when it did talent wise other than Zavaleta and Kotlov). Hollinger Janzen, Thompson, Lillard and Webb are elite players and I believe the others are solid role players with talent for this upcoming fall.
Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,
(1) I don’t know about every sport, and I don’t think IU can afford to put a home football game at Lucas Oil, but for the sake of congeniality I’ll say I generally agree that IU games in Indy draw well. That said, the IU-Mexico game last spring on a Sunday at Carroll Stadium drew just barely 3,000 people while the game this past Tuesday in Bloomington drew over 3,200.

(2) Speaking of soccer, I do think expecting IU to be a threat to reach the College Cup and contend for the national title is a fair expectation. Some of that is because of the spring results, although as you note, Indiana has had less than stellar spring results in the past and still done well in the fall. But what I like is that the seven returning starters seem to have picked up where they left off last fall and built on that, while guys that maybe didn’t play as much then have also made big improvements to become a factor.
Also, other than early enrollee Austin Panchot, that doesn’t include a talented incoming freshman class. Insert Andrew Gutman in the back line position battles, Jeremiah Gutjahr in the defensive midfield, Rece Buckmaster with Panchot in the attacking midfield plus Brown transfer Ben Maurey at forward, and you some serious position battles. That indicates roster depth and is the mark of a team ready to contend.

MIKE: Hey Darren,
There’s a pretty good argument to made for that, I guess, but I’m not sure I’d do much more in Indy than IU already does. The Crossroads Classic is fine, and it’d be cool to see another baseball game at Victory Field. Outside of that — I can’t really speak for soccer — I’m not sure I’d move much else. I don’t get the allure of moving football to Lucas Oil. Sure, a game there every few seasons is OK, but I’ll take all the Football Saturdays in a college town that I can get. Women’s basketball moves about with plenty of home-and-homes against in-state opponents, so that’s not an issue. Baseball might be more of a priority if Bart Kaufman Field was not around. So as I’m thinking through this, I understand some folks in the Indy area/suburbs would appreciate more events coming to them, but it’s not like Bloomington is a nightmare excursion. Media from the Indy outlets still come down here and it is, obviously, just a wonderfully awesome city to visit.
The soccer dudes can help you more.

ANDY: Darren:
1. I wouldn’t necessarily say “every IU sport should be required” in that I’m not sure every sport would draw the same sort of media attention or crowds. But I won’t argue the basic point that, especially for sports that tend to create revenue through attendance, cultivating the Indianapolis market is crucial for IU athletics. I have always believed that, even though that became a tougher assignment after the Colts arrived and transformed Indianapolis’ self-image (reinforced by media) as a “pro” town. I’m not a huge fan of taking a lot of football games away from Bloomington, given the revenue that generates for hotels, restaurants and the local economy in general, but periodic football games up in Indy seems prudent. And for sports such as baseball and soccer, which have natural fan bases in Indy and elsewhere, it makes all the sense in the world to play at least a game or two in Indy.

2. I think the IU men’s soccer folks are pretty excited about this team’s potential, and the spring play has only reinforced that. I think the competition to get on the field should prove pretty intense at about every position, which should spur further development nicely. Other than perhaps the four guys you mention, I can’t think of too many players who have set spots in the lineup heading into the fall — and not for lack of quality candidates. It’s a good, competitive personnel situation that should only be augmented by a talented group of incoming freshmen. I do think this shapes up, on paper, as a nationally prominent squad. College Cups, and results in general, are never guaranteed. But I like this team’s capacity.

QUESTION: What’s the status of QB Nate Boudreau? He hasn’t been mentioned recently in discussions about IUFB quarterbacks.
Betsy , Nashville, IN

JEREMY: Betsy,
I don’t know the answer, so I will defer to Mike and Andy.

MIKE: Hey Betsy,
The only time Nate Boudreau was ever a true topic of conversation was when IU found itself almost completely void of quarterback depth last year. They had just lost Cam Coffman and Tre Roberson and didn’t have a known backup, so naturally he came up as one of the options. But he’s not and never truly was an option. He’s a walk-on for a reason. Now that Diamont has six games worth of experience, he’s the next guy IU turns to. After him, it’s Danny Cameron — son of former IU coach, Cam — in the third spot. If Cameron was having an awful spring, I guess we might be talking more about Boudreau, but Cameron actually looked pretty good in the brief windows we watched him. Right now, he might have a better arm than Diamont and he supposedly really shines as a leader in the huddle. With all due respect to Boudreau, I don’t think he’s much more than another scout team guy.

ANDY: Betsy:
Nate seems behind others on the depth chart, essentially the status he’s had since walking on, but things can always change. We saw that last October when Zander Diamont, probably No. 5 on IU’s quarterbacking depth chart at the start of 2015, was suddenly the guy. Right now, I’d say he’s behind at least Nate Sudfeld, Diamont and Danny Cameron in the pecking order. Bryce Smith, a walk-on from Floyd Central, also got some reps this spring. But personnel situations rarely take on the sense of permanency.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us. Be sure to follow IU sports on The Hoosier Scoop blog and app.
Thanks for the time today, as always, Mike, Jeremy and Andy. What else should we know before we wrap up and head into the weekend?

JEREMY: Another big weekend coming up. IU baseball is home to Michigan State in a crucial series, the Yogi decision is Saturday night, and Mike and I are aiming to take in some of IU’s top basketball recruiting targets, De’Ron Davis and Rawle Alkins, at the Adidas AAU tournament in Indianapolis. Thanks to everybody for chatting and have a great weekend.

MIKE: Busy weekend on deck. IU baseball hosts Michigan State for three games, beginning tonight. We have plenty of football leftovers and Yogi Ferrell’s announcement on Saturday night — hold the steak, just give me the news. Prior to that shindig, Jeremy and I are heading to Indy on Saturday morning to try and catch De’Ron Davis and Rawle Alkins play in the adidas tournament at the Fishers Fieldhouse. Oh, and there’s a bike race, too. Hopefully the weather isn’t as bad as predicted tomorrow, though I selfishly wouldn’t mind to see the men’s race pushed back to Sunday morning so I might be able to go. Still trying to figure out a way to get stuff done and get out to the women’s race today, but I don’t know. Anyway, lots going on. Thanks for checking in, everybody. See you next week.

ANDY: Huge baseball series with Michigan State. And Mike and Jeremy will both presumably munch some steak Saturday night, given the locale of Yogi’s announcement. Thanks as always to all who chatted and/or checked in.

2 comments

  1. Andy,

    You engaged Robert’s question accurately and positively. I am no expert on the IWBB program either. But just digesting what has taken place for the past season and post season with decisions of personnel in the program and actions of people outside of it is 1-2-3. Your analysis and the articulation of it really consumed the Q. To my thinking it is the best opinion placed in print on the Chat to date.

    Hoosier Clarion

  2. I agree, good analysis of IU women bb. Recruits transferred, IU did not lose much because there was not much to lose. IU women’s BB loses was not getting Allen and Stratman deciding to not play at IU. Really, no fault of T. Moren.

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