Freshmen shine in exhibition victory

All six of Indiana's freshmen saw time in Monday night's 79-39 win.

Unlike Indiana's first exhibition game against the University of Southern Indiana, all six freshmen were healthy and played in Monday night's 79-39 rout of Hillsdale.

And for the most part, the youngsters played well.

The six combined for 35 points, 23 rebounds and 88 minutes played in the final of two exhibition contests.

"Right now, they're all getting stretched out of their comfort zone with the way they have to get on the perimeter and guard, and the way they have to guard in the post if they are a guard," Indiana coach Tom Crean said afterward. "That's all part of the process right now. We've got to push these guys physically and mentally to be able to do things that maybe they're not ready for because we're gonna need to be ready for them quicker. We don't have guys that are just gonna bail us out. We've gotta have that defensive effort."

Here's how each player performed with analysis.

Noah Vonleh: 8 points (4-5 FG, 0-3 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in 20 minutes

ANALYSIS: When Vonleh touched it in the post, he was dominant, and usually scored. He's extremely strong and easily overpowered the Hillsdale bigs.

Vonleh is also a great presence on the defensive end and rebounds the ball at a high level. His weakness continues to be his free-throw shooting. He was 0-of-3 on Monday night and has yet to make a free throw in two games (and a Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage).

"When Noah figures out how fast he is, how long he is, how skilled he is and how strong he is, look out," Crean said. "But he hasn't figured that out yet. We're trying to put him in a lot of situations where we really stretch him."

Troy Williams: 9 points (3-5 FG, 2-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 TOs, 1 steal in 16 minutes

ANALYSIS: Williams didn't play quite as well Monday as he did against USI, but he still showed signs of how good he will be eventually. He made another 3-pointer that looked good, attacked the rim, and defended well.

Williams was playing with a heavy heart, though. His mother, Patty Williams, said a friend of Troy's passed away on Sunday.

"I like that he knocked down the one 3 off of reversals," Crean said. "Didn't like that he took one real quick off the break. Eventually, he'll knock that shot down. Eventually, that'll be a big part of our offense. Right now, he's gotta grow into that.

"There's gonna be some nights he's phenomenal and there's gonna be some nights he's a freshman. We've just gotta keep him on a consistency of how to use his athleticism."

Crean paused, and then continued. He said Williams must also become a better rebounder.

"He wants the rebound to be an ESPN, 'SportCenter' tip-dunk, which he's fully capable of," Crean said. "But he's gotta go get the tough rebounds now. He's gotta go in there and grind it out."

Stanford Robinson: 9 points (3-3 FG, 3-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 11 minutes

ANALYSIS: Robinson is going to be a very good player. He's probably the most underrated player on this team. He plays solid defense, he attacked the rim as well as anyone on the roster, and he seems to be a good leader for someone so young.

Robinson is still trying to catch up after a knee injury kept him out, but once he does, I predict he'll move into the starting lineup.

"Stan got his fuel from defense," said sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell. "He has long arms, he's a great on-ball defender. He gets deflections. Once his defense got going, he flowed well in the game."

Devin Davis: 5 points (1-2 FG, 3-3 FT), 6 rebounds, 1 steal in 12 minutes

ANALYSIS: After missing the first exhibition game due to injury, Davis looked good on Monday. He may be the Hoosiers' best defender because of his combination of length and athleticism. He can defend any position.

He can also get out and score in transition. Davis should only continue to get better.

Luke Fischer: 4 points (1-1 FG, 2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in 12 minutes

ANALYSIS: Crean said after the game that Fischer is still not 100 percent healthy, but he was able to impact the game when he was on the floor Monday. He sealed his man for a nice basket in the post and also protected the middle on the defensive end.

"We're not pushing him very hard to be the physical presence that he's going to be," Crean said.

Collin Hartman: 0 points (0-0 FG, 0-0 FT), 1 rebound, 1 TO in 7 minutes

ANALYSIS: Hartman didn't make as much of an impact as the other five freshmen, but he didn't do anything negative, either. He needs to continue to get stronger, knock down shots and play defense to earn minutes.

"We didn't really have to sub because a guy stuck out the wrong way," Crean said. "That's really important moving forward." Top Stories