Mike Woodson has all the tools to create an offensive identity for the Indiana Hoosiers. Short Thoughts.

Mike Woodson has settled into Bloomington. The new office smell is gone. Mike has gone out and got true talent to trust him to nurture that talent, and to commit to Indiana University. He has gotten a rudderless program has gotten back on track. Time to really get to building on the momentum he had gained following bringing the Indiana Hoosiers back to meaningful March basketball. The next thing to be addressed is our offensive woes. This offseason Mike Woodson will seek to establish an offensive identity within the Indiana Hoosiers, I truly believe he can do it.

At times this year, Indiana’s offense seemed loss. That last stretch of regular season games were painful to watch at times. The manner in which our offense was coming out flat (largely in the second half for most of that final stretch), was truly astonishing at times. The team could look at times as if they had no game plan whatsoever on the offensive end. Which would often lead to Xavier Johnson having to try to win on his will alone, leading to poor shot selection and often stagnant possessions. Or it would lead to Xavier and Trayce Jackson-Davis playing their over the shoulder dish game in the post, that they would fail to connect on more often than not.

The lack of offensive structure and consistency was never more apparent than in that final tournament game against St. Mary’s. The juxtaposition between the Hoosiers’ and the Gaels’ offense was truly eye opening to just how shallow our offensive game plan could be. St. Mary’s was truly offensive, each man on the floor moving to open up the floor and create spacing for one another. They were operating like the gears of a finely tuned Rolex, while Indiana’s sense of creating space entailed of a two man game with 3 guys waiting on the wings stationary. If we want to compete consistently in the fatigue riddled games in March, we need to establish an offensive game plan, so deeply instilled in the Hoosiers, that they can almost pop into autopilot at their most tired, and still run it competently.

This identity doesn’t have to be complicated, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just can’t have so many people waiting on the wings for a pass to come that just isn’t going to. We need to have off ball players creating opportunities. It’s not a total system rebuild. We can build upon the brighter points of the pick and roll that we were seeing between Xavier and Trayce earlier this season. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau ran a pick and roll dominant offense at national champion Montverde Academy. I see no reason why they wouldn’t come in and immediately be able to contribute to the offense. Their game should be able to translate immediately to the next level. Given this summer into next season, I think they could quickly gel and learn to work in harmony with some of our veterans come the season tip-off. That with the underlying potential for many of our players to contribute, with no potential ceiling higher than Jordan Geronimo, our team could be very dangerous.

The new weapons rolling into Bloomington next year are very promising. These new guys stand to potentially blow the roof off Assembly Hall each game. The incoming recruits skill levels are hopefully going to be something to behold. How will Mike Woodson utilize each of these guys’ skills and who’s skill will be brought to the forefront in the offensive gameplan? All questions that I believe Mike Woodson can answer this coming season.

Our defensive identity is present. Just keep sharpening that where you can. Here’s hoping we can still lock down a big body just for my own reassurance, but even then we are fine on the defensive end. Their attitude and commitment to a defensive game plan and identity must bleed into the other end of the court if we are to take the next step in our reemergence to national prominence.

Last thing, I’m not an offensive mastermind. I’ve never played a second of competitive ball passed the 8th grade. I don’t know what the answer is. I just trust Mike Woodson to know what it is. Here’s hoping that he can get the job done!

Mike Woodson is showing us he can recruit. Now it’s time to prove he can develop. Short Thoughts on Jordan Geronimo.

Jordan Geronimo ended last season showcasing some of his superb athletic capabilities. Through the Big Ten Tournament and into the First Four game, Jordan began displaying bits of his potential. While he wasn’t getting any starting lineup love, he was given prominent minutes in our tournament run, including the Big Ten Tourney). Jordan Geronimo’s 15 pts against Wyoming were essential in locking up and validating our tournament bid in that First Four game. He has showed hints of truly elite and dominant play. But has yet to string it all together for any substantial amount of time. His raw ability and athleticism are present. I believe he just needs to tighten up his game and grow in consistency, and this 2022-2023 Hoosier squad that is beginning to take shape is just the team to do that on.

Whenever I reflect on our more recent teams I often find myself comparing them to the teams that I was most familiar with, the teams that were playing in the Hall during my time on campus (2011-2015). Which in the context of wanting to see a raw talent blossom into an NBA talent, may be unfair to Jordan, because I was consistently in the Hall to witness Oladipo’s development into the second pick in the NBA draft after entering Indana University as a 3-star recruit out of the DMV.

That being said, I genuinely believe there is a chance that the Jordan Geronimo we see next season could be a shocking surprise to those not on watch for it. In my personal, and very biased opinion, Jordan Geronimo can absolutely improve to an elite level by next season’s tip.

This will be Jordan Geronimo’s 3rd season within the Indiana Hoosier’s program, his 3rd season training in Cook Hall and its many resources. I feel it in my bones, this is the year that Jordan Geronimo takes the jump. Pure conjecture here, but he sees that more and more talent coming in means less and less minutes up for grabs. The frame and game is there for Geronimo, he now needs to work to sharpen his strengths and address his weaknesses. This offseason could potentially be career defining for Geronimo.

With Malik Reneau and Jalen Hood-Schifino already well acquainted with each others’ game and tendencies, much of those being shaped by Montverde’s pick and roll oriented offense, I think they can easily fold into whatever scheme Mike Woodson comes up with. This offense stands to be moving with a rhythm and tempo that has been lost in Bloomington for quite sometime now.  This is going to open up the floor, and not allow defenses to simply target our one producer in a given night, an occurrence that seemed all too familiar with anyone watching the second half of last season. These new opportunities allow guys to develop, by allowing hot streaks to play out. It’s in those hot streak moments where guys start to see what they can truly do on the court. It’s about getting as many of these guys to believe that they can go off at any moment by tournament time. The confidence truly bleeds into the player’s game and onto the court. I think a more fluid offense will help enforce this confidence for each player across the board.

If Jordan Geronimo can take this offseason to fill up the tank, gain some more muscle, work on that jump shot, and see that his game is going to be best used banging at the rim. I could see him being a key piece in our starting lineup by March. While shooting will be key, we’ve seen that from time to time he can still shoot. Again the guy has shown glimpse after glimpse of his potential. He just now needs to put it all together.

He needs to be the focus of moments like these.

Mike Woodson is showing that he can recruit. Now it’s time for him to show that he can develop. This will be Mike’s year ro prove that he can take the guys he’s getting and make them even better. This offseason for him will be crucial for the development of the program as a whole. If he is able to invest enough into Jordan Geronimo’s development, I think he stands to gain a rather impressive feather for his cap.

This article was written by a total biased fan boy. Just writing to pass the time until he can sit back and watch the candy stripes get back at it in Assembly Hall. Pure conjecture. Pure anxiety therapy.

LUX ET VERITAS!

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Primer / Blind Faith Boost!

Here we are. Round 1 officially… Following the First Four victory I was high on life. While the game against Wyoming was at some points painful to watch, we pulled out the win. And I will take ugly wins each and every day! Hey, so long as we can bring the opposition down to our game tempo and rhythm we will be just fine. This team is no stranger to adversity, so now is the time to weaponize that familiarity to low scoring yet still competitive tempo and gameplay. I mean we’ve seen our play drop at points over the course of the season. So, I feel like the Hoosiers had to have learned a thing or two to address these situations. And, while the First Four was close, I believe we addressed it. There were points I thought Maldonado may get hot but our boys were able to sever that before it got rolling each time! That’s growth people. But hey, that games behind us, time to press forward and go get the win over the Gaels of St. Mary’s College

St. Mary’s Primer

Listen, we know they play in Gonzaga’s conference. But what an absolute joke of a conference! The Hoosiers have been able to hold their opposition to 65.7ppg (58th across college basketball) in a conference of consisting of legitimate powerhouses of collegiate athletics. St. Mary’s held the opposition to a respectable 60.5 ppg. I say respectable because while that is the spot for 12th fewest across college basketball, THEY PLAY IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE!!!! While we were getting beaten and battered by the gauntlet of the Big Ten, St. Mary’s was beating up on schools like San Diego and Portland. So if there is an advantage to playing in that league, it is lesser skilled opponents may take less out of you over the course of your season. But I don’t resign to this. They had competed with Wisconsin and actually beat Notre Dame early in the season, but what does that mean in March? Jack squat. Teams can be entirely different entities by March. Look no further than the Hoosiers for that. We started the season hot, but settled into where we are currently. St. Mary’s has been playing very well, but ultimately against who?!

Many can say that IU is playing ugly basketball, but I say it does not matter if we can drag you down into playing that same basketball. Just did it to Wyoming. While some may attempt to battle us in slower, physical, iso, backdown play. You can try to adopt that play style, our boys were born into it, it seems.

The Gaels’ are extremely well balanced. Their leading scorer, 6-10 senior Matthias Tass, averages 12.6 points a game. Each member of their offense contributes though with no one being left off of the box score for them. But the only problem with matching up against us, is our defensive liabilities are few and far between. We never even really had to transition to a single double team against Wyoming’s “stellar big men”.

St. Marys can shoot the basketball. Which means we can not be cutting under the picks in this game. The second we give them an opening it’s daggers. Daggers that could spell a heartbreaking momentum shift. Our boys will need to be playing tight man throughout. I have full confidence in our boys to do just that. I see a lot of venom for Parker Stewart out there. But that guy has got some clamps. Needs to cut down on just some poor decisions on overcommitting on defense, but nonetheless he is giving it his all and can guard any 2 or 3 we may need him to.

I say we ride the hot hands and look for Xavier to get the ball to 2 guys, Trayce and Geronimo. Let’s hop on this wagon, currently being driven by Trayce with Geronimo riding shotgun, and ride them as far as they will take us.

Blind Faith Booster

For this Blind Faith Booster I would like to shortly discuss the words of one of the GOATs, a true champion, Muhammed Ali (ever heard of him?).

Muhammed Ali spoke about belief in oneself when he said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

Words from a true legend to ponder heading into our bout against St. Mary’s. We all gotta believe it will happen tonight Hoosier Nation. You’d be amazed at the power of wishful thinking. Nothing in life is won without first imagining the manner in which it can possibly be won! No time for critiquing (after I had critiqued a bit earlier, I know). Our lads need our utmost support. They need to get out of this stretched out funk of limited shooting, and I think we can aid our guys in that endeavor through our support and appreciation. No doubt. No pessimism. Just optimistic unyielding, unbending, and unbreaking support.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

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