Friday, November 5, 2010
Will Hulls Win The IU Point Guard Challenge?
Okay, for those of you who think the suggestion that Daniel Moore might be IU’s best point guard is absurd, let’s take a look at Jordan Hulls.
First, coach Tom Crean has gone out of his way to insist that he has no returning starters from last year, that every position is wide open and must be won through fierce competition every day. Crean has no desire to return to the days when guys played because basically there was no one else. The best programs are built when every second has to be earned.
Second, Hulls is an ultra-competitive guy who embraces challenges, which is a good thing because he will have his hands full with such super-quick Big Ten guards as Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas, Purdue’s Lewis Jackson and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor.
If he can’t handle competition from the smaller Moore, he’ll have no chance in Big Ten play.
Hulls CAN handle the competition and will have a chance. He knows Moore wants to play and is going after the point guard job with gusto. Hulls is doing the same thing.
“We’re teammates,” he said. “We’re always going to be competing.”
Hulls was by far the more acclaimed player coming out of high school. He earned Mr. Basketball honors while leading Bloomington South to an undefeated Indiana state championship. His numbers weren’t gaudy (15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.6 steals) because of all the talent around him.
Last year as an IU freshman he started 17 of 31 games, including the last nine contests. He led the team in three-point baskets (47) and three-point shooting (40.2 percent). He had more assists (45) than turnovers (37), and given the Hoosiers’ throw-it-away tendencies, that was a major accomplishment.
Moore, by the way, was an all-state basketball and soccer player at Carmel. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.8 assists as a senior.
In his first two years in Bloomington Moore has averaged 1.9 points and totaled 35 steals, 88 assists and 79 turnovers while averaging 12.4 minutes.
Hulls seemingly has more upside because of his superior shooting and scoring ability. The point guard role has evolved from just a passer to a passer-scorer and teams can’t afford to play guys who can’t hit open jumpers.
Yes, we know Verdell Jones also will get some point guard minutes when his sprained ankle heals, but he’s more of a shooting guard. He won’t be the main ballhandler.
The bottom line is Crean needs a point guard who can run the show, get guys where they need to be, get the ball where it needs to go, hit big shots and make good decisions.
“I try to get everybody in place, run the floor and play defense,” Hulls said. “All the little things. Try to be an extension of the coach out on the floor.”
The odds favor Hulls. He was recruited to be the point guard while Moore walked on. He's worked to improve his strength, and while he's not there yet, he is improving.
In the end, it’s all about producing. Whoever does that the best will play. That, at least, is not absurd.