Indiana welcomes Tennessee Tech to a mostly empty Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall tonight at 8 p.m. (BTN) as college basketball returns to our lives for the first time in more than eight months. Because it has been a long time in a weird year, you might need a refresher course in Indiana’s Basketball program.
Here are five things to remember about the Hoosiers:
Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis graduated, and are gone. Davis’s career was a disappointment, marred by injuries. He never reached his potential. Green was a polarizing figure who was either loved or hated based upon the result of his most recent shot. No one in the proud history of IU Basketball has elicited more shouts of “NO! NO! NO! YES!” than Green.
Justin Smith and Damezi Anderson transferred, and are gone too. Anderson never fit as the three-point threat he was recruited to be, and decided to roll to Loyola of Chicago. Smith bounced to Arkansas after leading the Hoosiers in minutes last season. Smith was a solid defender and elite athlete, but a poor shooter who made the Hoosiers too easy to guard. He always seemed to be too smart for the room at IU.
This is Archie’s fourth year. While it’s unfair to grade a coach based upon his first few seasons as a culture is established and recruited to, year four is when the flowers should bloom and be enjoyed. If a coach doesn’t have it rolling in the fourth year, what were once believed flowers can be assumed to be weeds.
Incoming freshmen rarely outperform expectations. Indiana’s freshman class is ranked #15 in the country, but Khristian Lander is the only one of the four ranked comfortably in the top 100 (Lander #21, Jordan Geronimo #97, Anthony Leal #144, and Trey Galloway #146). Lander left Evansville Reitz a year early to come to IU, so physically he is a senior in high school. As talented as he is, Lander might be a year away from being able to compete against 22-year-old men.
Trayce Jackson-Davis is back as IU’s unquestioned best player! Good teams need a clear leader, and that appears to be Jackson-Davis. Solitary one-and-done guys wind up extracting more from a program than they contribute, and so getting a five-star kid who stays for a second year is a big deal for the Hoosiers. Jackson-Davis was Indiana’s best player last year, and with Green and Smith gone, there is no one on IU’s roster that will be threatened by that. No offense to Al Durham, Rob Phinisee, Joey Brunk, and Jerome Hunter, but none of those players are under the delusion they need to outperform Jackson-Davis to enhance their draftability.