The Indiana basketball point guard continues to develop his game and grow into the point guard that Archie Miller needs and wants.
Every basketball team needs a good point guard in order to reach the goals and expectations that they have each year. In college, it’s even more important. When Archie Miller took over the Indiana basketball program, he was searching for that point guard to be his coaching extension on the floor.
Through the first year and a half of his Indiana career, Rob Phinisee has had many ups and also many downs. One thing is certain though, he has continued to develop his game and the Hoosiers are starting to see the growth and reap the benefits.
After missing a couple of weeks with a concussion last year, Indiana fans saw just how important he was to the success of the team. During that time, the Hoosiers were on their way to losing 12-of-13 games, essentially bursting any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
This year, fans see just how inefficient the offense is without a healthy and confident Phinisee. That has all started to turn, however, starting with last night.
Scoring in double-figures in three of the last five games, Phinisee has started to assert himself more on the offensive end as a scorer and playmaker. Taking out the Penn State debacle, which the entire team struggled in, Phinisee has averaged 9.8 points per game over that span and what sticks out more is his shooting. At 54 percent from the field, he is also 7-of-10 from three in that period. With a team that has struggled to make, or even get close, from deep, Phinisee has been one of the lone bright spots.
With so many difficulties for the Indiana offense, especially creating shots individually, Phinisee has taken on that responsibility as someone who will elevate the offense. After averaging just 2.8 assists in the first 14 games of the season, he has taken a huge step up in the last five, averaging 4.2 assists a game.
Phinisee hasn’t shown he can be a 15+ point per game scorer through this point in his career, but that’s not what he needs to do in order to lead the Hoosiers to successful seasons. Regardless of his output, which has proved to be invaluable over the course of this season, his energy level on the defensive end has allowed him to become one of the best defensive guards in the entire Big Ten. Whether it is on the ball or off, his physical play and agility has started to give opposing point guards fits, most notably Cassius Winston.
The next stage in Phinisee’s development? His leadership. It will come with time, but in a time where the Hoosiers need a voice in the locker room and on the floor, he has started to step up.
With seven games left in the regular season, Phinisee will be the catalyst behind either a nice run into the NCAA Tournament, or another season of ‘what could have been’. One thing is for sure, he will bring the energy and effort that is needed and will continue to get the Indiana fans excited about his future in the cream and crimson.