Matt Roth Done at IU and What It Means to the Hoosiers' Success
Matt Roth's collegiate basketball career appears to be over, both at Indiana or anywhere else. According to The Hoosier Scoop, Roth is neither taking classes at Indiana or considered a scholarship player for the team.
While I understand that Indiana has brought in one of the nations top recruiting classes for the upcoming season, I believe Tom Crean should have either found a way to get Roth on the roster or to not have over recruited.
Teams are allocated 13 scholarships and had it not been for Ron Patterson's ineligible status to play at IU, the Hoosiers would have been in an even bigger predicament than they are already in with this Roth situation.
I will attempt to explain what Roth, who hails from Washington, Illinois, provided to the Indiana basketball program over the past four seasons and why losing him may end up hurting the Hoosiers more than they think.
As a senior, Roth led the Big Ten in three-point shooting at a rate of nearly 55 percent. Nearly all of Roth's shots came from behind the arc, so he truly is the definition of a three-point specialist. For the season, Roth averaged 4.3 points in 11.8 minutes of playing time.
Roth's career-high in scoring came during his freshman campaign, when he dropped 29 points on Evan Turner and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Roth shot 9-11 from behind the arc in that contest.
Roth's best season, statistically, came during that same freshman year in 2008-09, when he averaged 6.7 points in 21.0 minutes and he hit a three-pointer in 26 of 31 games. Despite a lower scoring average as a senior, it's not even debatable that Roth's value to Indiana as a senior was much greater.
He nailed all seven three-point attempts in a road win over Penn State last season and also hit a go-ahead three in a narrow win over Northwestern at home. While Roth was not a starter, you could find him on the floor at the end of games more often than not.
High IQ Player
Despite being limited athletically compared to some of his fellow Hoosier teammates, Roth realized his strengths and tried not to let his weaknesses hurt his overall game. For instance, Roth is nowhere near elite as a defender, so it was rare to see both Roth and Jordan Hulls on the floor at the same time.
While Roth rarely attempted two-point shots, I think that shows he knew his role and didn't try to play out of his element. His teammates found him behind the arc and Roth converted those heaves at an incredibly high rate, despite playing just over a quarter of the game.
He didn't force shots, but simply took what the defense gave him. Not only was Roth a smart player on the court, but he also excelled in the classroom. In just four years, Roth completed both a bachelor's and master's degree at the Bloomington campus.
There's no denying most, if not all, of Roth's Hoosier teammates are more athletic than him. That doesn't mean they are better basketball players though, because court awareness and basketball IQ are simply things you cannot teach.
Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, and Derek Elston make up the senior class for this season's Hoosier roster. Overall Indiana is a young team, but even more importantly is the fact that they are an inexperienced team.
Everyone on last year's roster got a taste of winning when IU advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Kentucky. This year's senior and junior classes were also part of the team during IU's struggles during Crean's second and third seasons, but Roth has been there from the beginning for Crean.
Watford has started since arriving in Bloomington, Hulls has steadily moved up the depth chart, and Elston has played the same reserve role during his three years. While Roth wouldn't be a starter or even one of the first couple guys off the bench, he has plenty of experience on the court in that Hoosier jersey.
Having a fifth-year senior on the roster could also be helpful, as Roth could act as an extension of a coach, in order to help teach the younger up and coming players.
Ended on Bad Terms
This situation, the Ron Patterson ineligibility, and the mistake of a tweet that Crean sent have all really rubbed me the wrong way in my view of him not only as a coach but also as a person. To have 15 potential scholarship players prior to the season is simply something that should not have happened.
While the Ron Patterson situation got rid of part of the problem, Crean should have addressed the Roth situation way earlier. In fact, Roth said that Crean never directly addressed Roth's situation and future as a basketball player.
College basketball players are given five years of eligibility when they come to a school, so that they have the option to redshirt or miss a season due to injury. In Roth's case, he missed his sophomore season with a broken foot.
The one thing that I will sympathize with Crean on is how he has handled the Maurice Creek situation. After a promising start to his freshman season, Creek has had to endure multiple injuries and season-ending surgeries.
Gave Everything He Could to IU
I do realize that this is a sticky situation, where someone will end up feeling wronged. However, I do believe that Roth should feel like he was treated unfair in this case and may leave Indiana with a sour taste.
Roth had the opportunity to transfer to any other school as a graduate student and been eligible to play immediately, a rule that Illinois has taken advantage of the past two seasons. Roth stayed faithful to IU, hoping to continue his career, until school started last Monday and nothing had been settled.
Roth was part of Crean's first team at IU, endured three horrendous seasons, and should get the chance to be a part of the Hoosiers' potentially special season in 2012-13. Like Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones III, Roth's role diminished during his time as a Hoosier, but that didn't change how he played when given the chance.
Roth's role in 2012-13 would have likely been similar to the one he held last season. He may have even played less with the addition of some stud freshmen, but his ability to come in and knock down shots from deep will be something that the Hoosiers miss.
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