IU’s Brunk likely done for ’20-21 season, Stewart getting up to speed

Joey Brunk’s season appears to be over.

Indiana coach Archie Miller, who previously said the 6-foot-11 center would make a run at suiting up this season following back surgery, said Tuesday that Brunk has yet to resume basketball activities and his window to play in 2020-21 has all but closed.

Miller also provided an update on midseason transfer Parker Stewart, a 6-foot-5 guard from UT-Martin.

“Neither guy is available, and we’re down to 10 days left in the regular season,” Miller said. “Joey is just now starting to get a little bit more active, starting to move from some physical therapy stuff to maybe some more ‘physical’ therapy stuff, being running on treadmills, or some non-contact conditioning. He’s yet to do anything with a basketball yet.”

“So Joey’s pretty much done for the season. Big thing for him is going to be his recovery. He’s doing really well and we’re pleased with where he’s at. He’s just got to take some time to continue to rehabilitate the back and the muscles and all that.”

IU (12-10, 7-8 Big Ten) has suffered from the absence of Brunk, who transferred in from Butler last season and provided a complement to Trayce Jackson-Davis in the post. Brunk produced 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in his first season at IU.

Without the redshirt senior from Indianapolis, who has not suited up at all this season, Jackson-Davis has played more minutes than would be ideal for a 6-foot-9 post player. He ranks third in the Big Ten at 34.4 minutes per game. The next true post on that leaderboard is Iowa’s Luka Garza, who at 30.9 minutes per contest ranks 17th in the Big Ten.

IU’s rim protection and rebounding has also suffered. The Hoosiers went from a plus rebounding team in 2019-20 to closer to average in ’20-21, currently ranking ninth in the conference in rebounding margin at plus-2.8 per game.

As far as Stewart, who also remains in streeth clothes at games, he arrived at IU under unique circumstances. His father, Anthony, was the head coach at UT-Martin and died unexpectedly in November. Stewart then came to IU as a grad transfer, connecting with IU assistant Kenya Hunter, who was friends with Stewart’s father. Hunter also recruited Parker Stewart in high school.

While Stewart is considered eligible and has two years to play after this season, there are still steps to be taken for him to fully integrate with his new team.

“Parker is yet to be fully engaged in practice,” Miller said. “He’s still dealing with a lot of different stuff in terms of getting acclimated here and getting in the groove of things. He does participate in good portions of practice, more so than he did two weeks ago, three weeks ago.”

In previous comments on his radio show, Miller has talked about what Stewart can eventually add to the Hoosiers. At 6-5, 200 pounds, the redshirt junior has good size. He also has a shooting stroke, hitting 38.6% from deep during his freshman season at Pittsburgh in 2017-18.

At UT-Martin last season, Stewart averaged 19.2 points per game and led the OVC with 2.8 3-point makes per contests.

But as far as contributing on the floor for IU, that’s not where Miller sees Stewart’s focus being right now.

“I think the big thing for him is just to continue to get acclimated,” Miller said, “but neither guy (Brunk or Stewart) will be available.”

34 comments

  1. Stewart getting up to speed? That made is sound like he’s still a possibility. The final sentence in the story (containing the Archie quote) clearly states both will not see the floor this season.

    Doubt if either guy would have made much difference at this point. Trayce and Race are getting very comfortable together and becoming a nice tandem…Brunk would have been great a month ago. At this point anyone inserted is likely more chemistry disruption than value added. Probably far more important to build the confidence and experience of Geronimo, Leal and Lander….than to divide more minutes with late roster additions.

    We are also a “bubble team”…..and every minute of the few games remaining will afford little opportunity to get someone up to speed.

    1. Not so quickly my friend. “Neither guy will be available”, could mean: tonight, this week, this season? We know that Joey will not play this season. We don’t know about Stewart! He could play this season if he is comfortable and the coach wants him on the floor. There are 5 regular season games left, 4 after tonight. As you say Stewart is big, strong, a good shooter, 38% from 3 over 2 years. IU has no special chemistry at all this season! Each game is a “new world”, totally unknown. Play Stewart and Geronimo and Leal and Lander and win some games! Archie your excuses are mind numbing!

  2. Wow…Tiger Woods in horrific rollover accident. Hope to god he survives…

  3. I can certainly understand why Brunk won’t play, but what’s all this about Stewart not being acclimated yet? If the guy is fit and can shoot free throws or make 3-point shots at the end of a game, AM should consider him eligible to contribute, if for only for a few minutes a game. Unless Stewart is dealing with the grief from losing his father, I don’t understand why Archie would keep Stewart out. Would he burn a full year of eligibility if he played in any of the remaining games this season?

    Given his team’s offensive struggles, keeping Stewart out for the remainder of the season is a sign that Archie is confident that he’ll be returning to IU for a fifth season. And given the amount of his buyout, that’s probably a safe bet, even if IU loses all their remaining regular season games.

  4. It could be that Coach Miller this late in the season doesn’t want to upset the chemistry of the team, play with the mix of players that have played the season and I don’t believe there’s a miracle cure by adding Stewart to the mix. Isn’t this season a free season on eligibility, the reason that the freshman guard from Evansville is playing, instead of red shirt season. When, I was in high school the coach added two late transfers, the last month of the season and the morale effect wasn’t good and the team suffered and lost early game of the sectional, after being one of the favored teams in the sectional .

    1. You’re probably right, I U South. But Archie’s got very little to lose! The remaining regular season games include three teams that have already beaten IU at home and Michigan. There’s a very real possibility IU will finish the regular season with a five-game losing streak. At best, we’ll finish 2 – 2. And if God forbid we do lose all four remaining regular season games, Archie’s seat isn’t going to be hot, it’s going to be on fire!

  5. Po, I think Coach Miller has a lot to lose by cutting minutes of current freshman players and other returning players. Let’s say Po you are the coach and you play Stewart 15 to 20 minutes in the game, what player or players get their minutes reduced? I believe Stewart is a shooting guard, so which players get their minutes cut? Playing Stewart and cutting other players minutes could have an increase of I U players looking to transfer. If, this season ends up being a dumpster fire, it won’t be caused by Stewart not playing.

    1. From nothing to 15-20 minutes a game? Not a realistic projection. Maybe 2 to 5 minutes each half as a look see. If he contributes significantly continue on. The kid won’t start playing a third to half the game.

      1. Yes, that’s exactly right hoosieriniowa. No one’s suggesting Stewart play 15 to 20 minutes per game through the rest of the season. My previous comments implied two or three minutes per game, or just to be available should IU need someone to make FTs or hit a few 3-point shots. IU has lost a lot of close games this season because we can’t score when it matters most. Maybe Stewart could change that in one or two of the remaining games.

        As for IU players transferring, if they’re not good enough to prevent Stewart from taking their playing time, it might be better if they transfer. This team isn’t very good, and it’s at risk of slipping from mediocre to bad. I would contend that finishing the season with five consecutive losses and a losing record is as likely to cause players to transfer as having a new member of the team take 3 minutes per game over the remaining four regular season games.

          1. “Let’s say Po you are the coach and you play Stewart 15 to 20 minutes in the game, what player or players get their minutes reduced?”

    2. Cut Rob’s time, increase Stewart, Leal and Lander. Cut Race and Jerome’s time, increase Geronimo. Cut Al’s time a little. Keep playing the “hot hand” and ruthlessly go for the Wins!

  6. One thing is for sure, tonight’s game at Rutgers is a must win for Archie and his program. And if IU does win tonight, Archie’s got to find a way to win at least one more regular season game. And given how MSU is coming on and how Michigan is playing, that’s going to be very difficult.

  7. My common sense says let Stewart acclimate to the team, campus, classes & have his 2 yrs of eligibility left. Why waste a year at this point?

    Rutgers indeed is a must win. It is certainly a ‘can win’. But they just lost so it will be a “who wants it more?” game.

    For the record, I was looking at the team stats today. 3 Pt %:
    Franklin 45%
    Durham 40% (surprised me)
    Hunter 42%
    Leal 39%
    Lander 32%
    Phinisee 25% !!! Ouch!!! & he has THE MOST attempts!

    1. I wouldn’t worry about eligibility for Stewart…Don’t think that’s the issue.
      If, at some point, he wants more, there’s always the grad transfer route.

      3-pt %’s ..Somebody on Scoop needs to apologize for all the rants about being such a terrible shooting bunch. Outside of Phinisee and a freshman who only had three years of high school under his belt, our guards are doing great beyond the arc.

      Wonder what the 3-pt percentages are for Race and Trayce? 1 for 15 Wonder if they’ve even attempted 15 combined…? Bigger problem is neither guy can stretch out to 10 or 15 feet and bury jump shots. And Smith would likely have not helped in that department as well….Brunk brings more catapulting bricks. I’ve seen trebuchets less mechanical on long shots than our bigs.
      Morgan could shoot the ball beyond 15 feet…Can’t think of anyone else in recent memory who could move opposing bigs out of the paint and keep the defense honest as a legit threat to bury an outside shot.

      In Phinisee’s defense….He’s made some big threes when they were pressure-packed.

      Biggest weaknesses: Inside player who can shoot beyond 10 feet. Super-dynamic point guard who anchors and orchestrates the team (scorer, speed, assists, solid with the ball). Lander next season? He has much work to do.

      We still have a quality team. On any given night, they can take down anyone in the conference (as is the case with most of our opposition in an extremely balanced/talent-rich league).
      I look at MSU and see a possible Final Four team….yet a team struggling to make the tournament. How? That should tell you plenty of the competition level in the conference …and the topsy-turvy manner the pandemic may have played in some teams having far more depressed results than the talent reflects.

      I like Archie…but it does seem like the last few seasons have come with “must win” games being the typical as we enter the closing weeks. Our backs always seem against the wall to make the dance…and too many potential earlier wins have been squandered. They should all be “must win.”

    2. A quibble…

      ESPH has Durham at 29 for 79 from 3 point, 37%
      Hunter at 22 for 54, 41%
      Leal at 8 for 23, 35%
      Lander at 11 for 39, 28%
      Phinisee at 21 for 74, 28%

      Franklin is at 45% with 36 for 79.

      Note that Franklin and Durham have both shot more threes than Phinisee.

      1. Other than TDJ and setting aside the impact on defenses of hitting a three versus a drive or jump shot, hitting 33% on 3’s is the same as 50% on 2’s

        1. Which is why I always cringe when I see Phinisee and Lander (and Thompson, 23%, and Galloway, 19%) set up to take a three.

          What about the impact on IU’s defense when the IU player misses a three?

  8. As I and others have repeatedly stated you can not waste a year of eligibility for Stewart by playing him or not!

  9. Irrelevant arguments, although valid observations. Shifting players, time on the court with this disfunctional group is akin to arranging the chairs on the Titanic. “Nearer thy God to thee”….glup, glup…gulp gulp…ahhh. Rutgers 73 IU 62.

  10. I guess it’s long past ‘too soon’ for a Titanic joke….That was funny, Brad.

    I’m going to go score reversal on you…

    IU 73
    Rutgers 62

  11. Can I change my mind? Women and children first. Lower the lifeboats! She’s going down!

  12. We made Rutgers look like the Harlem Globetrotters. Don’t think I’ve ever seen so many easy breakaway dunks in a college game. Tonight, we gave up. They broke our spirit. First time I’ve seen that happen to an Archie Miller team.

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