In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• Looking back at Al Durham’s junior season
• Looking back at Rob Phinisee’s sophomore season
Welcome Hoosier fans to today’s edition of Banner Morning — your daily rundown of IU basketball news and notes.
I’m Cameron Drummond and let’s recap Al Durham and Rob Phinisee’s seasons.
While the lion’s share of the attention and social media discussion often centered around senior guard Devonte Green this season, Indiana’s two most consistent and reliable guards this season were Al Durham and Rob Phinisee.
Durham, who served as one of IU’s captains during his junior campaign, had by far his best offensive season with the Hoosiers. He started all 32 games for Indiana, and averaged nearly 10 points per game while shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range.
The notable percentage jumps taken by Durham this season included leaps in overall shooting percentage, free-throw shooting percentage, assists per game and points scored per game.
Durham was particularly deadly as a spot-up shooter, as he was the only Hoosier to average better than a point per possession in those situations. He was also one of the best IU players when it came to scoring in transition and in off-screen situations, according to Synergy Sports.
While Durham is best used as a situational shooter who can come off screens and launch from distance, Phinisee works best as a distributor of the ball, something that allows Durham to thrive at the 2 instead of as primary ball handler.
Phinisee began this season with a lower abdominal injury, and later on strep throat and an ankle injury meant Durham and Armaan Franklin had to take over primary ball handling duties for most of nonconference play.
The Hoosiers were able to weather this reasonably well, although the communication, leadership and direction missing with Phinisee off the court was painfully evident during the Big Ten opening loss at Wisconsin.
But by the time conference play arrived, Phinisee was back to his old self, hitting clutch 3-pointers to secure home wins over Nebraska and Ohio State.
On the defensive end, Phinisee was again tasked to be Indiana’s best on-ball defender. He had to try and contain the likes of Cassius Winston, Anthony Cowan, Zavier Simpson and Marcus Carr. Phinisee’s active hands and quick lateral movements allowed him to record 27 steals in 27 games, helping sure up Indiana’s perimeter defense.
While Archie Miller made it a point in December to say that it’s not all about scoring for IU’s guards, Phinisee increased his points per game average, his shooting percentage and his 3-point shooting percentage from his freshman to sophomore seasons, giving Hoosier fans plenty of reasons to be excited for a third and final year of the Durham-Phinisee duo.
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We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in, your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.