Indiana basketball has returned to Bloomington after its tour of Canada. The Hoosiers played five games abroad against some of the country’s top collegiate teams, and boarded the plane home with a 4-1 record. Here are three things we learned about the 2014-15 Hoosier basketball team during its time up north.
A season ago, the offense was inconsistent and had little creativity. The onus was on Yogi Ferrell to not only score the majority of the points but get others involved as well. Outside of Noah Vonleh, Ferrell had very little help, and it showed as the Hoosiers consistently struggled to score.
In Canada, IU’s offense was alive and energetic. Troy Williams (18.4 points per game) and heralded freshman James Blackmon Jr. (18.8 points per game) gave Indiana what it was desperately hoping for — help for Ferrell.
Blackmon Jr.’s play was especially encouraging. He looked poised and confident and showed the shooting touch from beyond the arc he was recruited for, making 34.6 percent of his attempts.
Yes, it’s still very, very early in the season, but you have to be excited by what the Hoosiers’ offense showed in Canada. Obviously they weren’t going against the rugged, proven defenses of the Big Ten, but they demonstrated that more than one player can score.
IU’s incoming freshmen class and transfer Nick Zeisloft made their debuts in Canada. Hoosier fans have to be happy with what they saw.
Next to Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson was the best freshman on the trip. He not only scored and rebounded but was a distributor, averaging 3.8 assists per game. The Hoosiers need someone other than Ferrell to rack up assists, and Johnson could be the guy.
Before this set of games, Zeisloft was relatively unknown. Last season at mid-major Illinois State, he averaged 6.9 points per game and many wondered what kind of impact he could make this season when up against the steeper competition of the Big Ten.
In Canada, Zeisloft made a case to see a lot of minutes as a Hoosier. His 8.8 points per game were nice, but most impressive was his three-point shooting. Zeisloft was 11-of-20 from beyond the arc (55 percent). If this type of shooting is a trend and not simply a hot streak, expect Zeisloft to be an intergral part of the team this season.
Devin Davis is Much Improved
With Hanner Mosquera-Perea unable to make the trip, Devin Davis became IU’s main low post player, and he delivered. The sophomore averaged 8.0 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game.
As a freshman, Davis sparingly saw the floor and averaged just 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. That player appears to be long gone.
Despite being only 6’7″, Davis is tough on the block. He plays much larger than his size and is becoming a force on the glass. If a spot in the starting lineup is down to Mosquera-Perea and Davis, I would say Davis has the edge at this point.