Indiana Basketball – Fans Need to Calm Themselves About Evan Gordon and Get Excited About Assembly Hall Facelift

by Kent Sterling

Evan Gordon was lights out good against North Florida and Oakland.  Wait until he plays great basketball against a Big Ten team before coronating him the savior of a mediocre season.

Evan Gordon was lights out good against North Florida and Oakland. Wait until he plays great basketball against a Big Ten team before coronating him the savior of a mediocre season.

Indiana has had a tough time getting scoring from the wings this season, and when senior Evan Gordon dropped 26 points on 10-12 shooting, fans and media began to wonder very loudly about the possibility of the fifth year player emerging as an answer to a wide variety of questions.

Gordon’s bounty last night came on the heels of another very efficient 15-point effort against North Florida where he hit 7-9 shots in 19 minutes.

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Forgotten were the 45 total points in the previous eight games on 12-30 shooting.

There is every chance that Gordon can continue to drop bombs throughout the rest of the season.  Gordon has always been an adept scorer, but to assume that Tom Crean should be insert Gordon into the starting lineup, and relegate Will Sheehey to the bench role he endured during his first three years is beyond premature.

Last season, Remy Abell appeared to be quite adept at knocking down three-pointers in bunches as he hit 11-19 prior to the beginning of Big Ten play.  From that point forward, Abell hit 5-14, and then left the program.

The moral of the Abell Fable is that unless you know what you’re watching, it’s very easy to get excited about a performance that comes against an opponent that is inferior to those the Hoosiers will face in the Big Ten.

To believe that suddenly Sheehey has regressed to the point where he is not one of the best five players on IU’s roster is madness.  He is never going to be a dominant scorer – that’s not who he is – but he can defend well at several positions.  Without good defense, the guys knocking down threes on your end are the same guys who allow threes on the other.

While fans are thrilled when poorly defended 25-footers slice through the net, there are considerations that require the attention of coaches that are more important than shots falling.

It’s true that if you can’t shoot, you can’t play, but being only a shooter does not punch your ticket to productive minutes against Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.

Again, none of this is to say that Gordon can’t defend at the wing, or function as an outstanding all-around player.  Tom Crean just needs to evaluate the way these players fit in a way that most can’t understand.  So relax.


The Assembly Hall expansion discussed on in April is being rolled out to the public.  The cost will come in just under $40 million, and will provide many improvements, including a grand entrance on the south end of the building, improved bathrooms, and a change to the seating bowl at the south end that will work in concert with the grand entrance.

There is very little other than the removal of the “Dan Parisi for IU student body president” bumper sticker that seemed to be forever adhered to one of the court level signs that has changed about Assembly Hall since its construction, and the time for a facelift is long past.

For decades, fans have clamored for a new arena, but the decision was made not to drop $300+M on a new facility.  For all its warts and quirks, Assembly Hall is a very unique venue, and somehow for better or worse (mostly better) has become intrinsically linked to the brand of Indiana Basketball.

It’s not just smart business to renovate rather than replace Assembly Hall – it’s good for the program too.  Cook Hall is an outstanding practice facility, and the showplace that attracts recruits looking to improve to the extent facilities will allow.  Assembly Hall has become iconic as a historical touchstone of Indiana Basketball, and destroying it to make room for a suite-filled cookie cutter dump would be an act of idiocy the likes of which we might have expected from Rick Greenspan or one of the other dullards who ran IU’s athletic department.

Fred Glass knows what he’s doing, and the ongoing multiple construction plans that continue to put IU student athletes in a position to succeed shouldn’t be put on hold to accommodate the replacement of an imperfectly perfect arena that only requires a face lift.

7 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – Fans Need to Calm Themselves About Evan Gordon and Get Excited About Assembly Hall Facelift

  1. Greg Pilcher

    Kent, I agree with the bulk of your stance on Assembly Hall, but it needs more than facelift. The concave points that separate the East/West stands need to be completely removed. Even so, with those corrected, it is an architectural nightmare. A few features that could use a reboot: Low ceilings (If I can touch a restroom sign hanging from the ceiling, it’s too low), tight hallways, aurally-offensive cinder block walls, and the hazardous cement ramps that wrap the north/south wings (a threat of copious tort claims that must make Ken Nunn giddy. I’m a little suprised he’s not there every game night with a flipcam).

    I know I don’t need to remind you that the state of Illinois had the opportunity to ‘facelift’ Soldier field and a saucer straight out of an Ed Wood film landed on top.

    A word like ‘renovate’ or ‘refurbish’ might serve us well here.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Funny you mention the ramps – escalators will be installed. As much as Ken Nunn loves IU Basketball, the tort claims you mention are not where Indiana wants to spend its money.

  2. Doug

    Great game by Evan last night….I loved it. I hope he is like that every night the rest of his career. Just going to have to do it against much stiffer competition from here on out!

  3. Jeff Gregory

    I am not sure that Gordon is perimeter answer or not, but I do know that comparing him to Abell is not really fair. For one thing, Abell was a freshman. His greenness can account for a lot of his inconsistency. Gordon is a grad student, senior. Secondly, last year’s team had Hulls and Watford who already filled that role. Abell was never told, “Go in there and be our perimeter threat.” He was probably told, “Get in there and work hard and be an effective part of the team.” Gordon isn’t competing with anyone to be a perimeter threat. That role is one that needs to be filled.

    As far as Sheehey, I wouldn’t sit him down, but probably sit down a freshman. I also wouldn’t go as far as to rule it out. Some guys are just wired to be a sixth man. Maybe that is Sheehey; I don’t know. I know that Bobby Jones from the Sixers’ hey day was probably one of the best 5 on that team, but won the best 6th man in the NBA and was first team all defensive team for a number of years. I don’t care how old a guy is; as a coach, I want the player to be in the position to best help the team.

  4. Jeff Gregory

    As far as Assembly Hall, I am all for some changes, but I don’t want to change it to the point where it isn’t OBVIOUSLY Assembly Hall. Of course, I gritted my teeth the first time I saw the huge scoreboard, so . . .

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I think Fred feels the same way. The character of the building will remain intact. It is kind of nice to walk into the place and have nothing be different from the time Sevgi Ercan and I waited to buy Journey tickets.


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