Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories from the past week.
I want to start by issuing a gargantuan THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to The Assembly Call so far this week.
On Wednesday, I announced our offseason donation drive, which lasts until next Friday. The goal we set was $5,000 … and by midday Saturday we had already generated more than $4,000 in donations. Amazing.
The generosity of our audience never ceases to amaze us!
If you want to see the simple, secure donation options we have set up, view our Donation page here: http://assemblycall.com/donate.
We really appreciate your support.
Okay, now onto this week’s edition of 6-Banner Sunday …
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of anything new to discuss in regards to the current Hoosiers, as it appears the Hoosiers’ season ended with that loss to Rutgers — barring an unexpected NIT selection miracle.
But, as always, there was still plenty of IU hoops-related news even without IU games to focus on, most notably with some future Hoosiers and potential future Hoosiers competing in their high school tournaments.
In this week’s edition:
- One certain future Hoosier is still playing, while three others see their high school careers come to an end
- IU staff gets a first-hand look at Romeo and other top in-state targets
- Analyzing Archie Miller’s first season at IU
- RoJo on the differences between Archie Miller and Tom Crean
- OG Anunoby is already one of the “most important” players in the NBA
- Sigh … here’s some bracketology
One future Hoosier is still playing, while three others see their high school careers come to an end
Let’s start our recruiting roundup with news, notes, and links about guys that we know for sure are going to be wearing Cream and Crimson next season.
We’ll start at the point, with Robert Phinisee, who had a spectacular senior season as the do-everything lead guard for an otherwise young and inexperienced McCutcheon squad that was replacing a legendary coach.
Unfortunately, Robert’s senior season came to an end in a 60-50 sectional loss to Zionsville. Robert scored well over half of his team’s points (33) to finish with 2,023 for his career. Watch the highlights at Inside the Hall.
With no games to play this weekend, Robert decided to join his coach Archie Miller at Seymour to watch potential future Hoosiers Romeo Langford and Trayce Jackson-Davis play. Here is a picture that will make you smile.
Next, let’s move to the wing, where Damezi Anderson continued to help his undefeated South Bend Riley team toward a state championship.
With IU coach Ed Schilling in attendance, South Bend Riley won its first game against Lake Central, though it was a forgettable night for Damezi. He was reportedly dealing with a headache and missed all nine of his 3-point attempts, finishing with just six points.
In the regional final, South Bend Riley overcome a three-point halftime deficit to win 75-68. Damezi was much better in this contest, scoring 18 points to lead South Bend Riley. They will look to continue their undefeated season in the semi-state next week.
Earlier in the week, a great profile of Damezi was published by a local South Bend news station — Riley’s Damezi Anderson has become a role model for kids. In it, Damezi discusses why he decided to stay home and play for Riley instead of heading to a prep school for his senior season.
On the other wing, Jerome Hunter joined Robert Phinisee in suffering an early-round defeat in his state tournament, as Hunter’s Pickerington team was upset by Mount Vernon. As reported by Hoosier Sports Report, Hunter finished with 18 points in the loss and was named Ohio’s Division I Central District Co-Player of the Year.
And down low, Jake Forrester saw his high school career come to an end with a loss in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association semifinals. Inside the Hall has a good two-minute video of Forrester highlights that show the high-motor, high-flying big man in action.
Also in Forrester-related news, SI.com recently announced a documentary about his Westtown team called We Town — which aims to break down what it claims is “perhaps the greatest starting five in HS basketball history.” I haven’t watched it yet, but it looks really good.
Here is Westtown’s coach has to say about Jake:
Jake plays super super super hard, and playing hard is a skill. He’s always playing a 10 out of 10 hard. He’s running, he’s rebounding, he’s defending, he’s protecting the rim and his improvement last year was a really big part of the reason that we not only won State, but that we won 32 games.
And finally, in case you missed it, redshirt freshman Race Thompson is now officially ripped.
The Assembly Call is proudly supported by SeatGeek — the ticket search engine that makes finding tickets to sporting events, concerts, and many other live events a cinch.
Remember: add our promo code ASSEMBLY to your SeatGeek account to receive a $20 rebate on your first purchase.
The links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission if you click on them and purchase tickets. This makes it a great way to get the best prices on tickets and support The Assembly Call at the same time. Thank you!
IU staff gets a first-hand look at Romeo and other top in-state targets
Next, lets move on to some news, notes, and links about guys that we hope will be wearing Cream and Crimson in the future.
As mentioned above, Archie Miller was in Seymour on Saturday to watch Romeo Langford and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Romeo’s New Albany team and TJD’s Center Grove team each won their morning games to set up an evening showdown in the regional final.
According to Inside the Hall, the Indiana staff went three-deep for the nightcap, with Archie Miller, Tom Ostrom, and Bruiser Flint all in attendance to see the biggest remaining target in the 2018 class (Romeo) and the guy who has emerged as the biggest target in the 2019 class (TJD). Actually, it’s four-deep if you count Robert Phinisee being in attendance again.
This picture pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
New Albany jumped out to a big lead, but Center Grove rallied a bit in the 4th quarter before ultimately falling 69-56. Romeo scored 39 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He now has 2,967 points for his career, which is 4th all time. Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 24 points to go with seven rebounds, and had a few dunks that set Twitter ablaze (including this one and this one).
Romeo and the Bulldogs will take on Warren Central next week in the semi-state.
Class of 2019 forward Keion Brooks led his Fort Wayne North Side team to a victory over Zionsville in the first game of their regional, with Bruiser Flint watching. Keion stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Then, with Brooks family friend Ed Schilling on hand for the regional final matchup, Fort Wayne North Side fell to Carmel. As Stu Jackson reported, Keion got into early foul trouble, which contributed to Carmel jumping out to a 29-20 halftime lead. Fort Wayne North Side was never able to recover, and their season comes to a close.
Analyzing Archie Miller’s first season at IU
This week on Assembly Call Radio, we dove deep into Archie Miller’s first season in Bloomington and analyzed his performance from five different perspectives:
- On-court success
- Program culture
- Staff management
- Program ambassadorship
We graded him on each one, and then came up with a final overall grade. What grade would you give Archie for his first season of work in Bloomington?
Use the following links to get caught up on this weeks edition of Assembly Call Radio:
And remember, you can find episodes of The Assembly Call podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for “assembly call” and our show should come up.
If you’re looking for another podcast to listen to, Alex Bozich and I reflected on Indiana’s loss to Rutgers, discussed the Big Ten Tournament being in NYC, and looked ahead to IU’s recruiting in the latest episode of Podcast on the Brink — POTB 2018: The Offseason Begins.
RoJo on the differences between Archie Miller and Tom Crean
Robert Johnson was the latest guest on the recently launched Earn Your Stripes podcast, which is hosted by Justin Albers and Max Bielfeldt. It was probably the most revealing and candid interview RoJo has ever done, most likely due to the less formal podcast setting and the fact that one of his ex-teammates was interviewing him.
The most compelling segment of the discussion came when Robert was asked about the differences between Archie and Tom Crean.
Listening closely to his answer, and reading between the lines a bit, revealed something that I’ve long suspected: that Tom Crean knows as much as there is to know about basketball intellectually, but that he struggles to communicate it to players in a way that can be executed consistently in games. And, as we all suspected, Archie’s background as an undersized but very successful D1 player helps him relate to the type of high-level D1 players he’ll have to recruit and coach to succeed at Indiana.
Get authentic Indiana apparel and merchandise from the Official IU Online Store. Shop licensed Hoosiers shirts, hats, hoodies, and Indiana accessories, including youth gear, to find the perfect gift for any fan … or yourself.
For quick access in the future, bookmark this URL:
The links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission if you click on them and make a purchase. This makes it a great way to get great IU gear and support The Assembly Call at the same time. Thank you!
OG Anunoby is already one of the “most important” players in the NBA
What a crazy ride it has been for OG Anunoby.
His Indiana career began with him being an unheralded and raw recruit. Then he was a a bench warmer during his first two months at Indiana. Then he emerged on the scene as a key cog on a Big Ten championship team before morphing into a budding superstar in the NCAA Tournament.
He decided to return to Indiana and was off to an encouraging start as a sophomore before blowing out his knee. He decided to go pro, fell in the draft because of concerns about said knee, then returned to action quicker and better than anyone expected …
And now? He was recently named one of the NBA’s most important players for the final month of the season, over at The Ringer.
Anunoby doesn’t just have a cooler first name than Drake. The first-year player is quietly having one of the more underrated rookie seasons in the league — especially when you consider that he’s been thrust into a starting role for the 1-seed in the East after suffering an ACL tear at Indiana.
Anunoby is an athletic, defensive-minded freak who may still be raw in a lot of areas, but has thrived in Toronto’s system because of his 7-foot-2 wingspan and his ability to make 3s at a decent rate (35 percent).
He’s missed the past four games because of an ankle injury, and Toronto’s youthful depth has been able to cover for that. But his presence on the court takes the Raptors to another level—an effect that they hope carries into the playoffs.
Way to go OG. The nation at large may be surprised by his success, but most IU fans probably are not.
And if you want more OG, here’s a profile on him from Bleacher Report: A Sly Kid with a Fanny Pack and a 7’2″ Reach: OG Anunoby Is the NBA’s New Normal.
In other good news for former Hoosiers who were part of that Big Ten title team in 2016 …
Yogi scored a season-high 24 points on 6-7 shooting from downtown.
And Troy seems to have found a good fit in New York after signing a 10-day contract following his departure from Houston. In this edition of Knicks Film School, you get a sense for the comfort level Troy is feeling on both ends of the court in his new home.
Sigh … here’s some bracketology
I really hate Marches like this one, where Indiana isn’t even in the NCAA Tournament discussion. It’s the greatest sporting even of the year, but I can’t help feeling underwhelmed by the entire experience when Indiana is on the outside looking in.
Hopefully this will be the last season for a long while where that is the case.
In any event, the NCAA Tournament will indeed be held this year, and today is Selection Sunday. So if you want to see where the bracket most likely stands after Saturday’s action, check out the latest bracket from Andy Bottoms.
(Note: since Andy posts several updates on the final weekend before the Selection Show, I’m just linking you to the Bracketology page over at ITH instead of to a specific post. Just click the most recent bracket that has been published.)
If you want to see brackets from some other sources we respect, here you go:
Before you go:
- This is a really interesting article — The Smartest Basketball Mind Outside the NBA.
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 Sunday.