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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 20th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Indiana Hoosiers

 

Overall Rank: #23

Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten

 

2005-06: 19-12, 9-7, 4th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

The follow up to the Bob Knight era, also known as the Mike Davis era, is finally over at Indiana.  Coach Kelvin Sampson takes over the reigns in Bloomington and brings in a renewed vigor of optimism…at least as optimistic as Hoosier fans get in these post General times.  

 

Who’s Out: Robert Vaden opted to follow Coach Davis to UAB and will take his 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists with him.  With long range threat Marshall Strickland and part-time starting point guard Lewis Monroe running out of eligibility, the perimeter will look different at Assembly Hall.  And that’s not even the worst of it.  Marco Killingsworth led the team with 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds during his senior campaign.  Adding to the loss of depth up front is Sean Kline.  Kline saw his minutes diminish as his career progressed, partly due to injuries, and didn’t see that much playing time as a senior. 

 

Who’s In: Coach Sampson has brought in two great junior college transfers.  Both Lance Stemler and Mike White will contribute immediately and both could be starting sooner than later.  Stemler’s strength concerns could keep him on the bench, but the 6-8 small forward has the talent to be a big scorer.  White will have to use his experience to quickly be ready to play in the Big Ten due to lack of depth up front for the Hoosiers.  Redshirt freshman Joey Shaw has added some strength and confidence and could be a good contributor off the bench this year.  The 6-6 wing can slash and hit the long ball, but he’ll have some competition from incoming freshmen Xavier Keeling and Armon Bassett for minutes on the perimeter.  Keeling isn’t much of a perimeter threat, but the 6-6 small forward is a great hustle player who excels in the transition game.  Bassett is the point guard apparent and will spend the year preparing to run the show for the Hoosiers in the future.

 

Who to Watch: The Hoosiers have some size concerns.  D.J. White is a double-double waiting to happen after missing most of last year with a broken foot.  Ben Allen started two games last year and averaged 10.0 minutes per contest.  The 6-11 center showed plenty of potential during his freshman campaign and will have to step up and prove he can be depended on to play more minutes.  Allen is a fine outside shooter and a mismatch on the offensive end.  Even if Allen can become a solid starter, the depth up front will have to come from newcomer Mike White.

 

Final Projection: The backcourt has plenty of talent and a fresh start with a new coach could be very beneficial.  Earl Calloway started the last 12 games of the season and averaged 8.7 points and 3.1 assists during that stretch.  The 6-3 Atlanta, Georgia native saved his best for last, scoring 13 points, dishing out ten assists and grabbing nine rebounds in Indiana’s NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga.  Guard A.J. Ratliff had a disappointing year as a sophomore, averaging just 3.5 points per game.  He has the talent to be a double digit scorer even in Coach Sampson’s slow style of play and, if he takes advantage of his fresh start, will be a key part of the Hoosiers squad.  Roderick Wilmont has done a great job in the sixth man role.  It will be tough not to start the senior, but if Ratliff and Stemler perform well, Wilmont could be the early favorite for the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award.  Coach Davis has left plenty of talent behind at Indiana and Coach Sampson will mold them into strong players on the defensive end and smart shooters on the offensive end.  When that happens, IU will be dangerous.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Earl Calloway, Senior, Guard, 5.7 points per game

A.J. Ratliff, Junior, Guard, 3.5 points per game

Roderick Wilmont, Senior, Guard, 9.0 points per game

D.J. White, Sophomore, Forward, 9.2 points per game

Ben Allen, Sophomore, Center, 3.2 points per game

 

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