Thursday, April 23, 2009

Williams leaves Hoosiers

I am sorry to see Nick Williams leave. The kid played hard, and while he made a lot of mistakes, a lot of was asked of him as a freshman. Filling in as a 6-4 power forward in the Big Ten probably tops that list. But I thought he had good defensive instincts, and an offseason of working on his outside shot and passing would've kept in him the rotation at least as a part-time starter. But I guess he was intimidated of the new recruits, particularly how Maurice Creek & Christian Watford look to be getting a lot of time on the wings.

My guess is that IU's starting line-up won't look tons different next season, as Pritchard, Jones, and Dumes might well stay. I really wonder who's going to be filling in at the four-spot? Watford doesn't seem strong enough, Derek Elston might be the best bet but he looked really rusty recently, and while Bobby Capobianco should be strong enough but I wonder about his offensive ability. Bawa Muniru, I'm guessing, will be a good shot-blocker off the bench, like George Leach. Jeremiah Rivers is going to probably get quite a few minutes and be very valuable, but I suspect he'll be primarily a defensive stopper, and be brought off the bench to settle things down. Maurice Creek will likely come off the pine to be instant offense- (unless Watford can hold down the four-spot, then maybe they both start), and Hulls & Roth will get mostly back-up or situational minutes. Daniel Moore, Brett Finkelmeier, Tijan Jobe- thanks for playing, you're now practice players.

In any case, I suspect Pritchard and Jones are going to be more efficient next year with more help, when Crean is able to rest them and put other threats on the floor at the same time. The offense really came alive when the ball was in Jones' hands and the shooters were hitting, which then gave Pritchard room to operate. But Jones & Pritch's numbers might remain the same due to decreased minutes. Watford should be a go-to scorer for the Hoosiers, and Creek could be a consistently viable threat as well. I'd be surprised if there was a lot of offensive production from anyone else, but maybe Elston or Hulls could surprise. Still, I suspect that Crean will have to rely on Dumes' inefficient and inconsistent scoring for one more year.

One last thing in defense of Dumes, as I was watching the second half of the season (DVR'd, didn't get around to watching PSU & MSU until last night), I noticed that although Dumes had a lot of turnovers, he also saved one or two TOs a game by really running down errant passes. Things like that and good defense don't show up in the box score, and I think a lot of Dumes' inefficiency was caused by trying to do too much. He'd probably fit on a successful team as a part-time starter, because he can play defense and is always a threat to score. His passing (I can't count how many times I saw Dumes with the ball and Roth open in the corner, and *every* time Dumes just holds on to that ball) is probably his biggest weakness.


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