Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories of the past week.
September has arrived and with it, basketball season is right around the corner. Can you believe we’re only seven weeks away from Hoosier Hysteria?
In this week’s edition:
- Miller hire ranked No. 1
- Profiling the freshmen
- Oladipo releases single
- Blackmon Jr. signs with Sixers
- The Tom Allen effect
- Best of the rest of IU sports
Miller hire ranked No. 1
Even though Archie Miller wasn’t the top choice of most IU fans, it didn’t take long for Hoosier Nation to come around to the belief that the right guy got the job.
Miller is thought of as one of the brightest young minds in college basketball, and it was inevitable that a powerhouse school was going to scoop him up sooner or later. He’s also a basketball junkie who seems right at home in his neighborhood where basketball is a 365-day passion.
And it turns out, it’s not just fans that approve of the Miller hire. Fellow college coaches like the move, too. CBS Sports conducted a poll of various Division 1 coaches, asking them which school made the best offseason hire.
The winner, with 37.8 percent of the vote, was …
The next closest coach was Brad Underwood (Illinois, 26.4 percent). Here’s what one anonymous coach told Gary Parrish about the Miller hire:
Archie Miller won at a high level at Dayton for multiple years. His pedigree as the son of a great high school coach, and his brother Sean’s success at Arizona, lead me to believe he will be very successful at Indiana. He’s as close to a can’t-miss hire as there is.
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Profiling the freshmen
The annual ‘Freshman Focus’ series was posted on Inside The Hall this week. The series consists of individual profiles of each freshman on scholarship (excluding redshirts) for the upcoming IU basketball squad.
It was my duty to write up the profiles this year. In order to complete the profiles, I called up a high school/AAU coach of each freshman to help paint a better picture of what they will be bringing to Bloomington. Here is a small sample of each (with hyperlinks to the profiles included).
Greg Phillips, the coach of Al Durham, Jr. at Berkmar High School:
“He worked for four hard years on strength, continuing to get stronger,” Phillips said. “Whenever a weakness or something he needed to improve upon came about in his game, he made sure to work on it. A lot of time at 6 a.m. in the gym before school started. A lot of time after school and individual workouts. No matter what someone said was a weakness for him, he chose to get in the gym and work on it and make sure it was not a weakness anymore.”
Jonathan Michels, the coach of Hoopdreamz, the AAU program Clifton Moore was a part of since age nine:
“(Clifton’s) just a guy that shows up every day,” Michels said. “He’s a kid who passed up home visits with college coaches because we had practice. Me, I nearly killed him for doing it, but our guys looked at it as just coming to work every day.”
Patrick Ambrose, Justin Smith‘s high school coach at Adlai Stevenson:
“(Smith) won’t be the normal freshman that’s kind of too skinny and too weak,” Ambrose said. “Not that he’ll be Caleb Swanigan and throwing people around, but he’s not going to come in as a weakling. He is a strong, strong high school graduate. I think he’s got a real bright future at Indiana.”
Oladipo releases single
Victor Oladipo has been showcasing his singing talents for years. Whether it was him belting out Usher’s ‘U Got it Bad’ at Hoosier Hysteria or Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, Vic has never been one to shy away from singing in front of the masses.
That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Oladipo released a single this past week. The song, titled ‘Song For You,’ puts a twist on the Donny Hathaway classic. Posted on Soundcloud three days ago, the track already has been listened to more than 114,000 times.
Now that Oladipo has launched his music career, is an album in the works? He hinted at that possibility when speaking to Russ Bengtson of Complex:
“Ain’t too many NBA players who are actually really good at singing. There’s a lot of rappers, but not too many singers. I think it could be something special, so maybe one day.”
Blackmon Jr. signs with Sixers
On Sept. 30, the Sixers announced the signing of James Blackmon, Jr. to a rookie contract. Blackmon becomes the third Hoosier from the 2016-17 roster to ink an NBA deal (Thomas Bryant, Lakers; OG Anunoby, Raptors).
Although Blackmon didn’t light up the scoreboard while playing for the Sixers in the NBA Summer League, he made the most of his limited minutes and nailed several big shots late in games.
Blackmon, however, is not guaranteed a roster spot once the regular season starts, as the Sixers currently have 17 players under contract. Reports suggest his contract is only partially guaranteed, meaning all that’s assured is an invite to training camp. If he does get cut, it’s likely he spends next season in the NBA G-League (formerly the D-League) playing for the Sixers affiliate in Delaware.
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The Tom Allen Effect
Beginning his first full season at the helm, head football coach Tom Allen couldn’t quite lead the Hoosiers to an upset victory over No. 2 Ohio State on Thursday night.
The Hoosiers may have had the lead for the majority of the first 40 minutes, but the high-octane Buckeyes offense (led by offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson) proved too much for Indiana to handle, as they scored the final 29 points to come away with the 49-21 victory.
There were still several positives for Indiana, though. The game was the first sellout at Memorial Stadium since 2015, and the broadcast on ESPN had record ratings, which means more exposure for a football program on the rise.
Over at the Indy Star, Zach Osterman released an extended piece on Tom Allen earlier in the week. As Osterman writes, wherever Tom Allen goes, improvement follows:
Allen’s success at Indiana last season is well-documented by now. The Hoosiers improved in nearly every major statistical category, so much so that it’s fair to say it was that defense upon which IU’s Foster Farms Bowl berth was built.
As notable? In the year after his departure, South Florida regressed all the way back to 120th nationally.
Best of the rest
The football team wasn’t the only IU squad in action this past week. Here are updates from the other IU varsity sports:
- Men’s soccer, ranked No. 4 in the country, improved to 3-0-0 after routing San Francisco, 5-1 (Indiana Daily Student)
- Women’s soccer pulled off a 1-0 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville (IU Athletics)
- The Field Hockey squad won their first game of the year, vanquishing No. 15 Wake Forest, 1-0 (IU Athletics)
- IU Volleyball won their second straight regular season tournament, taking home the George Washington Invitational crown (IU Athletics)
- The men and women’s cross country teams both swept their season opening meets (IU Athletics)
Before you go:
Other IU basketball tidbits:
- At the request of Kelvin Sampson, the IU program is sending shoes and shirts to Houston to help with Hurricane Harvey relief (RTV6)
- Indiana doing a ‘terrific job’ in recruitment of four-star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (ITH)
- As expected, Indiana made the cut when five-star guard Romeo Langford named his final seven schools (Twitter)
- One of three-star forward Jake Forrester five official visits will be to IU (Twitter)
- Yogi Ferrell will have a ranking of 74 when NBA 2K18 is released later this month (Twitter)
- While at the Bloomington Art Fair on Saturday, Freddie McSwain, Jr. had the chance to meet Charlie Bird, the most famous McCaw in Bloomington (Twitter)
- On the newest Podcast On The Brink, Marcus Fuller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune talked about Race Thompson and how the Gophers might figure into the Big Ten title race (Inside The Hall)
- Assembly Call Radio discussed the IU football team and provided a recruiting update for IU basketball (Assembly Call)
- The CrimsonCast crew broke down the IU-OSU game (TheHoosier)
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.