2008 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Preview
Tom Crean takes over an Indiana Hoosiers (25-8 overall, 14-4 Big Ten) team that finished third in the Big Ten and for the third season straight went to the NCAA Tournament. Sounds good, right? Well, not really, because Crean lost a slew of players due to NCAA violations, graduation and transfers. Two guys return and that’s a recipe for last in the conference.
Senior forward Kyle Taber (11.2 MPG, 1.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.2 APG, 78.6 FT%, 66.7 FG%) is the only returning player in front. Although he played in 22 games last season, starting four, he took just 14 shots, making 11. That’s not a lot of experience. Seven-foot, junior college transfer Tijan Jobe, a center, and freshman forward/center Tom Pritchard will be asked to contribute immediately. As a sophomore at Olney Central College, Jobe averaged 4.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG. Jobe’s big problem concerns fouls—he accumulates them very quickly.
The backcourt, which returns just one player, will see two new guys start. The point will be held by freshman Verdell Jones and junior college transfer Devan Dumes. Dumes comes to the court with a significant amount of experience. The versatile athlete can play both point and the 2-spot. Look for the other guard position to be manned by various guys. Three six-foot-three freshmen will share the shooting spot—Matt Roth, Malik Story and Nick Williams. Roth can hit threes and Story chose Indiana over Georgetown and Oregon and USC. Sophomore Brett Finkelmeier (1.6 MPG, 0.3 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 100.0 FT%) is the only player returning to the backcourt, and he has close to no experience.
The Hoosiers have a tough non-conference schedule that includes
North Carolina, Texas, Gonzaga, Kentucky and Wake Forest. This club
may win four games or less in 2008-2009. Coach Crean, who took over
after head coach Kelvin Sampson resigned under fire, has the chops
to bring the Hoosiers back, but it will take a few years at least.
Last-place looks fairly certain for this season. Next season, Indiana
could be back on the NCAA radar screen.