Indiana Basketball: Way-Too-Early Grades for Hoosiers Starters
Indiana is four games into a long season and is 4-0. Not surprising, as the competition hasn't been that stiff, but this young IU team is improving every game, which is encouraging.
Sophomore Yogi Ferrell and freshman Noah Vonleh have paced the Hoosiers thus far, but the other three starters haven't been too shabby themselves.
The group is playing well together and should only continue to develop better chemistry as the season progresses.
It may be early, but let's take a look at the starting five and assign a grade, A-F, to each player for his performance through Indiana's first four games.
So far, Yogi Ferrell has been Indiana's best offensive weapon. He's averaging 19.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. Ferrell is in complete control of IU's attack in his second season.
Any questions about his jump shot have been answered. Ferrell has improved from the floor (46.2 percent) and three-point range (40.7 percent). His confidence is through the roof, and now, opposing defenses have to account for his jumper.
Ferrell's defense is coming along, and he currently has the roster's highest win share, according to Sports Reference.
Ferrell is giving Tom Crean and Hoosier fans a lot to be happy about, and because of that, he receives a high mark.
IU's elder statesman, Will Sheehey, has been solid through four games. He's averaging 11 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and shooting efficiently (48.5 percent).
He's improved from the free-throw line, shooting 8-of-9, which is huge considering he shot an awful 65 percent from the charity stripe last season.
The one area where he's struggled has been the three-point line. Sheehey has not looked good from long range, currently shooting 4-of-16.
He's been a leader in the huddle and on the floor, acting as an extension of Tom Crean, but in order for this team to truly go far this year, he has to be better from three.
Yogi Ferrell is creating wide-open looks for Sheehey, and he has to start hitting those shots.
Like Will Sheehey, freshman Troy Williams has been a stable presence in Indiana's lineup. The young forward is averaging 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. His shooting percentage is a rock-solid 48.1.
He's made a big impact on defense. His eight steals lead the team, and his defensive rating is second best in the starting five.
But, as much as he's taking the ball away, he's giving it right back. Williams' 10 turnovers are second most on the team. He must take better care of the basketball.
Still, as a freshman, he's more than held his own and deserves credit for his play.
Jeremy Hollowell charged out of the gate with a 16-point, four-rebound, four-block performance in the first game against Chicago State. Since, he has been less stellar.
He's averaging 9.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, but he really needs to improve his shooting percentage. Hollowell's shooting under 40 percent from the floor, which is not going to get the job done.
He's also a turnover machine. Hollowell leads the team with 11.
The lone bright spot has been his defense. His eight blocks make him IU's top shot-blocker.
Out of the starting five, Hollowell has been the least impressive. He's giving the ball away too much and missing too many shots to earn an above-average grade.
The freshman phenom has lived up to the hype of being a 5-star recruit. Noah Vonleh has been an absolute monster. He's averaging a double-double (14.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG).
So far, he's controlled the paint on both ends of the court. He's IU's lone low-post presence, and for being new to the role, he's played very well.
His defense has been suffocating. His defensive rating is best on the team, according to Sports Reference.
The only concern is his free-throw shooting. He's been suspect from the line, shooting just 26-of-39 for a poor 63.9 percent.
Seeing as how he does most of his work from the block, he's going to get to the free-throw line frequently. Right now, he's wasting too many opportunities and has to be better, especially as the schedule gets tougher.
Still, Tom Crean couldn't have asked for a better start from Vonleh. He's been as good as advertised.
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