Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Monday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories of the past week.
Indiana lost a pair of games to top-25 games in the past week, but the Hoosiers showed signs of progress.
In this week’s edition:
- Hoosiers fall just short against MSU
- De’Ron Davis’ road to recovery
- Damezi makes scoring look easy
- Phinisee in IU’s future
- Romeo scores … 63!?
- Derby Classic halted, Fischer reflects on career
Hoosiers fall just short against MSU
Indiana outworked and outhustled No. 5 Michigan State all night long, but the superior talent of the Spartans proved too much to handle.
For the Hoosiers (12-12, 5-7 Big Ten), it was a similar story to previous home losses to top-5 teams Duke and Purdue, as another opportunity for a premier win slipped from their grasp.
Yet unlike the blowout loss on Tuesday at Ohio State, this game proved the Hoosiers are indeed making progress. Despite shooting below 30 percent from the floor, Indiana used a 25-to-3 advantage on the offensive boards to cut the Spartans’ lead to as little as one point in the final minutes. After the game, MSU head coach Tom Izzo was visibly upset at the fact his team was out-efforted.
“Very seldom has our team got outworked, outhustled the way Indiana did it. The 25-to-3 offensive rebound (edge) is an insult to me, my players, and anybody who ever played here. I was disappointed in that.”
Senior Freddie McSwain, seriously undersized going up against the bigs of MSU, grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end in just his second career start.
The Hoosiers have a chance to end a four-game losing streak tonight when they head on the road to face lowly (but improving) Rutgers. Tip is set for 7 p.m. eastern on Big Ten Network.
- The Minute After, Film Session, Five Takeaways (Inside The Hall)
- Pressers: Archie Miller, Tom Izzo, Freddie McSwain and Juwan Morgan (ITH)
- Assembly Call Postgame
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De’Ron Davis’ road to recovery
For the first time since rupturing his Achilles in early January, sophomore big man De’Ron Davis had an opportunity to speak with the media.
Davis shed light on his long road to recovery, how he stays involved with the team, and how he suffered the injury.
The injury occurred when Davis was running sprints after losing a drill. He felt a pop in his lower leg and assumed a student manager threw a basketball at him. That was not the case, as 20 seconds after the pop his Achilles went numb. Just like that, his season was over.
Zain Pyarali of The Hoosier Network has more on Davis’ comments and the rehabilitation process ahead.
Damezi makes scoring look easy
South Bend Riley senior Damezi Anderson is one of the best shooters in the state. The future Hoosier is averaging 20.6 points per game, helping lead his team to an undefeated record. But if it wasn’t for Archie Miller’s late recruiting pitch, he’d never be wearing cream and crimson.
Anderson was first offered by Purdue and was never contacted by former IU coach Tom Crean. Then, Archie Miller swooped in, turning what was a stressful choice for Anderson into a simple one. Here’s what he told Laken Littman of The Indianapolis Star:
“(Miller is a) young coach and has the motivation to win every night,” Anderson said. “He lets you play your game. The offense is running through everybody rather than one person. Everybody can score and he gives everybody a chance to shine. His coaching staff is really exciting. They’re there for the players every night no matter what.”
Expect Anderson to provide an immediate shooting boost next season for a Hoosier squad that’s struggled to shoot. In his first game of his senior year, Anderson hit 8-of-9 threes in a win over LaPorte. That’s more triples than IU has hit TOTAL in more than a handful of games this year.
Phinisee in IU’s future
Perhaps Indiana’s greatest weakness this season has been a lack of a true floor general capable of running Archie Miller’s offense. That shouldn’t be an issue next season.
That’s because point guard Robert Phinisee is headed to Bloomington. The senior at McCutcheon High School is having a tremendous campaign, averaging nearly 30 points per game and consistently making the right play.
On Thursday, Phinisee’s squad faced a rivalry road game at Lafayette Jefferson. Although Phinisee’s jump shot was clearly off, he did all of the little things to give his squad the win.
Inside The Hall was in Lafayette on Thursday and has published highlights and an interview with the soon-to-be Hoosier.
More on class of 2018 commits:
- Jake Forrester can throw down with the best of them (Twitter)
- Oh, and Jerome Hunter? He threw down an in-game windmill last week (Twitter)
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Romeo scores … 63!?
Romeo Langford has had his share of incredible scoring nights. On Thursday, he had the best of his career.
The five-star guard, set to decide between Indiana, Kansas, and Vanderbilt in the spring, lit up the scoreboard in Jennings County, where the road crowd was donning Hoosier apparel.
“He got in the zone tonight,” said New Albany coach Jim Shannon. “He was feeling it from everywhere.”
Langford is now alone in fourth for most career points scored in Indiana high school history, and as Rick Bozich writes, Damon Bailey’s record of 3,134 points is within sight.
Now, after Saturday, Langford is parked at 2,696 points. He is likely to finish his New Albany career with more than double the number of points any Bulldog player has scored –- and New Albany has developed a string of Division I and II players over the last 25 years. Like Braydon Hobbs, who excelled at Bellarmine and continues to play overseas. Like Lamont Roland, who started at LSU. Like LaDrell Whitehead, who scored like crazy for Wyoming. Like Donnie Hale, who earned a scholarship at Purdue.
More on Langford:
- Highlights of his 63-point night (Youtube)
- Just two days after putting up 63, Langford added 44 more to his career total in a win over Columbus East (Youtube)
Derby Classic halted, Fischer reflects on career
For the second time since 1973, there will be no basketball game at the Derby Festival Classic this spring.
The annual event that pits some of the best high school ballers in the country against one another has been put on an indefinite hiatus for several reasons, including growing financial losses.
Eric Crawford of WDRB has more:
The Derby Classic has been a major event. It has featured the likes of Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, Darrell Griffith, Moses Malone, Penny Hardaway and many others over the years. In the past several years, it still has featured Donovan Mitchell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Eric Bledsoe.
But the difficulty of recruiting players in the current climate, combined with the challenges of sponsorship, funding and doing battle with shoe companies, has made it increasingly difficult for organizers to maintain the event’s profile.
Before you go:
- Don Fischer reflects on his 45-year career calling IU basketball (Fox59)
- Five-star 2019 forward Keion Brooks recaps visit to Indiana (Made Hoops)
- Eric Gordon will be at NBA All-Star weekend to defend his three-point title (NBA)
- Thomas Bryant’s hard worked paid off as he was named to the G-League Midseason Team (Lakers)
- Former teammates Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller faced off this week (Indy Star)
- IU Women’s Basketball continued their winning ways by holding off Northwestern (HN)
- IU Soccer sets spring schedule (Herald-Times)
And with that, the joy of hanging Banner #6 is now one week closer.
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call. We’ll be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Monday.