USA Today Sports

IU basketball top-10 offseason storylines: No. 10 Missed Time

This is the first in a Peegs.com series looking at the top-10 offseason storylines for Indiana basketball heading into the 2016-17 season. This piece looks at players who have missed time in offseason workouts for various reasons.

As fall classes get ready to begin at Indiana University, the basketball team is close to having everyone on campus.

De’Ron Davis, the highest-ranked incoming freshman, is scheduled to arrive Aug. 21, according to his Overland (Colo.) High School coach.

Freddie McSwain, IU’s 6-foot-5 athletic junior-college recruit, arrived Sunday.

Both players had academic work to finish over the summer before beginning college.

Those are just a couple examples of various issues that have caused IU players to miss or have limited workout time this summer.

Several players are coming off injuries, including junior James Blackmon Jr., who missed the rest of the season following ACL surgery in January.

Blackmon was IU’s leading scorer at the time he went out.

Blackmon, sophomore forward OG Anunoby (groin), junior guard Robert Johnson (ankle), senior forward Collin Hartman (wrist) and sophomore forward Juwan Morgan (shoulder) all either had or have injuries and recoveries to deal with.

All of this can be overcome, and everyone could be healthy by the time formal practice begins.

But it does mean it’s a hurdle to overcome.

For McSwain and Davis, it means they missed a summer in IU’s highly regarded strength and conditioning program.

McSwain has had two years in a junior college, and Davis has as much of a college-ready body as can be expected for a 6-foot-10 high school player, but the time missed still matters.

It also means both players will get a late start on learning some of IU’s concepts, even though with restrictions on time coaches can spend with players during the summer the focus is more on individual development.

As for the players coming off injury, Blackmon underwent the most significant procedure with an ACL surgery.

It's the third knee surgery for the McDonald’s All-American from Marion High School.

A source who watched Blackmon go through a shooting routine recently said he looked normal, and nothing in his motion suggested he was favoring his knee.

Although that is a good sign for the junior with major offensive ability, players coming off ACL surgery often need more time to regain their horizontal burst and vertical explosion as well as confidence to plant and cut at game speed on the knee.

Hartman ended up not needing surgery on his right (shooting) wrist, instead opting to let it heal.

Johnson underwent successful surgery on his left ankle April 1.

He initially hurt the ankle Feb. 20 against Purdue and aggravated the injury during IU’s win over Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

He started 22 of the 30 games he played as a sophomore.

Morgan, a 6-foot-7 forward, had issues with his left shoulder popping out at various times during the season.

Morgan underwent surgery in April and was limited, and work to strengthen the shoulder overall continues.

Indiana’s offseason individual workouts began shortly after the 2015-16 season ended, and several players had to miss that or were limited in that.

Getting fully up to game-speed and game-level physicality is another step as well.

Again, assuming rehabilitation goes well and there are no setbacks, all of the IU players could be fully healthy by the time formal practice begins but the missed time has mattered during the offseason.

 


Peegs.com Top Stories