Analysis: Hartman does the unexpected again

Collin Hartman continues to do the unexpected. Thursday night he had a career-high 15 points, blocked three shots, took a charge and had his name chanted by an appreciative student section. It's an impressive body of work to this point from the former Cathedral High School standout.

When Collin Hartman signed with Indiana a few years ago, I’ll admit I wondered just how he would fit in.

I just didn’t see his game translating to the Big Ten and Indiana. I thought he might be a role player at some point but certainly not a star.

Last year when he tore his ACL, I wondered if we would ever see Hartman back on the floor again. That’s not an easy injury to come back from and if he came back and was behind everyone from the start I wondered how long it would realistically take him to get caught back up.

And yet as he showed once again on Thursday night on the biggest stage against a top 10 ranked team in Assembly Hall against Maryland, Hartman is the real deal.

He is not only a contributor but a MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR.

Thursday night Hartman did everything well. He made all four of his shots from the field, including three of them from 3-point range. He had seven points before you blink your eye and 10 with 8:14 seconds to play in the first half.

The significance of those 10 points? At that point, Hartman already had a career high for scoring. He had never scored in double figures in his previous 34 games in college.

But he didn’t stop there. He had five more points and finished with a career-high 15 points. Coming into the game he had scored 19 points in the first five Big Ten games.

But it was more than just his offense, too. His defense was strong as well. Hartman blocked three shots, causing Tom Crean in his postgame remarks to say, he wondered when the last time Hartman had ever blocked three shots in a game.

As Collin left the media room following the player interviews, I asked him when was the last time he had three blocks?

Hartman looked at me and matter-of-factly said, “I had three blocks a couple of weeks ago.’’

And sure enough, against Ohio State on Jan. 10, Hartman had three blocks. He also had three blocks in the second game of the season against Texas Southern.

I said something to Crean about it after his press conference and he sounded more than a little surprised. “I guess that shows you how much at look at the stats sheet,’’ Crean said.

But the point was made. Hartman is doing things that he is not expected to do. No one expected him to score 15 points against a top 10 team. No one expected him to make all three of his 3-point shots. In his previous eight games, he had made a total of three 3-pointers.

Still, Hartman continues to do the unexpected.

Thursday night, the crowd did something unexpected, too. On two different occasions they chanted his name. “Col-lin Hart-man,’’ rolled off their tongues in the same way that “Oh-la-dee-po,’’ had become so familiar a few seasons ago. And it was well deserved.

But again, it took me by surprise. I can honestly say I never thought I would hear Hartman’s name chanted like that in Assembly Hall.

Like a lot of things, Hartman just simply continues to do the unexpected.

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