(Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a 10-part series looking at the top-10 offseason storylines for Indiana basketball.)
The Indiana basketball team has a trio of incoming freshman guards.
How will they be used?
What will their impact be?
There are multiple ways to look at each of those questions.
What will their impact be as freshmen this season? And what will their impact be long term?
For this exercise, we’ll restrict the conversation, mainly, to this upcoming season, with a few thoughts about long term.
Let’s start with Curtis Jones.
He played for Huntington Prep, as did IU sophomore center Thomas Byrant, and played a national schedule in the traditional high school season. The competition he faced was outstanding.
Jones, as he enters college, is a combo guard.
He has very good size as point guard at 6-foot-4 and nice size as a shooting guard.
Jones’ best abilities are playing off the bounce, shooting off the bounce, driving the ball and his elevation — he won a dunk contest.
He played AAU for Boo Williams, who calls Jones “a smaller version of James Blackmon.”
Now, Jones is not the level as a shooter of IU junior guard James Blackmon, who was one of if not the best spot-up shooters coming out of high school in his class, but Jones has some of those qualities.
Jones played with outstanding players such as Bryant and five-star forward Miles Bridges, who will be at Michigan State. Jones is accustomed to playing with talent on the floor.
Jones has what coaches call “wiggle,” which means on the move he can change direction.
He doesn’t have blow by and in high school he could be too high with his dribble, but he does have good quickness.
To get court time as a freshman in meaningful games, Jones needed to add to his slender frame, tighten his dribble, improve defensively and continue to grow his ability to play-make for others. Indications are, he has done very well in the offseason conditioning program.
Devonte Green also is a combo guard.
He played high school basketball at Long Island Lutheran and for the New York Rens AAU program, and also is accustomed to playing with talent on the floor.
During one of his AAU seasons with the Rens, he had five-star guard Rawle Alkins on one side and five-star guard Mustapha Herron on the other.
The younger brother of NBA player Danny Green — 10 years older — Green is probably best described as a scoring point guard.
Green has had a strong summer at IU, working very hard to earn court time as a freshman. He prepared himself with a meaningful workout program back in New York prior to arriving at IU and continued that after arriving on campus.
Green has pretty good offensive aggression, can get going from 3, attacks pretty well, does have the ability to pull-up and hit shots off the bounce in the mid-range.
He plays pretty well in transition and can make passes and finish on the break.
Playing at speed, playing off the bounce and going to the rim were among the things that stood out watching him in person in AAU.
Green’s on-the-ball defense also stood out, and being a defensive player off the bench probably looks to be his most likely immediate role. Although, if he’s part of a second unit, his aggressiveness driving the ball certainly could be a factor.
Devonte Green told peegs.com:
“I realized sometime last year that it’s more than just offense, that defense is what sticks out to colleges, to people who know the game of basketball. It’s a pride thing for me. I take pride in my defense.
“When I tell myself I’m one of the best defenders in the country, I lock down.”
Grant Gelon is a shooter.
At 6-foot-5, he has very good size for the position, and being a spot up shooter was his calling card for Crown Point (IN) and the Indiana Elite AAU program.
Gelon set a school record for 3-pointers in a season as a junior at Crown Point and as a senior shot 38.9 percent from the arc, averaging 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds.
Gelon isn’t expected to make major contributions as a freshman. He needs to add to his athletic ability, his ability to play off the bounce and his defensive ability. He has, however, been strong in the weight room, preparing for the future.
Crown Point coach Clint Swan told peegs.com:
“His biggest skill, what put him on the map, is his ability to shoot the basketball. There’s no question that he can shoot from way beyond the line.
“He’s big, and he has a very quick release. That makes him attractive any level because, no matter where he is on the floor, you really can’t leave him.
“That opens up things up on other spots on the floor, whether it’s a point guard trying to rip through and drive or a post player trying to get room inside to post.”
Offseason storylines: No. 8: Depth and lineup options
Offseason storylines: No. 9: The De'Ron Davis impact
Offseason storylines: No. 10: Missed Time