In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• Explaining the ways in which Indiana can replace Justin Smith’s on-court production
Welcome Hoosier fans to today’s edition of Banner Morning — your daily rundown of IU basketball news and notes.
I’m Cameron Drummond and IU must find a replacement for Justin Smith.
For the second time this offseason, a player has transferred out of the IU men’s basketball program.
Justin Smith joined Damezi Anderson in this group late last week, as Smith announced his decision to play his final year of eligibility elsewhere as a graduate transfer after graduating from IU’s Kelley School of Business in three years.
Make no mistake about it, this is a significant loss for Indiana, and one that requires those still on the Hoosier roster to make up for Smith’s value on both ends of the court.
While Smith was often criticized for his inability to space the floor on offense, he was efficient compared to his peers at the rim and in transition.
According to Synergy Sports, Smith ranked in the 73rd percentile nationally when it came to scoring in transition possessions, and in Big Ten play last season Smith made 52.3 percent of his 2-point shot attempts.
But it was on defense where Smith truly shined, playing as an undersized four or an incredibly versatile three, Smith was always tasked with shutting down the opponent’s best wing or small forward.
Now with his decision to leave, the question Archie Miller is saddled with becomes how will Indiana adjust?
There are a few options.
Some of the more straightforward ones involve sliding Jerome Hunter into Smith’s starting spot because of Hunter’s ability to better space the floor on offense and because of incoming freshman Jordan Geronimo’s ability to be a natural bench replacement for Hunter.
If Miller is looking for more physicality and interior play in general, then Race Thompson should see increased playing time, given his ability to battle for rebounds and the improved offensive skillset he displayed last season.
Of course, the recent reclassification of point guard Khristian Lander also means that a three-guard lineup is on the table for Miller, especially when you see the backcourt depth that Indiana is slated to have next season.
Only Miller himself probably knows how IU will react to this roster reshuffling, and time will tell how the Hoosiers go about best adjusting to the departure of a longtime starter in Smith.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
Remember to use the URL iutickets.shop to visit SeatGeek for the best prices on IU basketball tickets. That’s iutickets.shop, promo code ASSEMBLY, for $10 off your first purchase.
We’ll be back on Friday with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in, your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.