Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Etherington An Instant-Impact Player?

What kind of impact will incoming freshman Austin Etherington have at IU next season?

It’s hard to tell based on his results in the last week.

In two games against the Junior All-Stars, he totaled 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, including just 1-for-8 from three-point range, which is supposed to be the 6-6 shooting guard’s strength.

In the Indiana All-Stars 105-103 win over Kentucky Friday night in Louisville, Etherington had one point in nine minutes. He was 0-for-2 from the field. The good news -- he had four rebounds.

In about a week or so Etherington will head to IU, where he will get fully immersed in the strength and conditioning program. He’ll play lots of pickup games with the rest of the Hoosiers. Come the fall he’ll get plenty of work with coach Tom Crean and his staff.

In an idea world, this will mean a ton of improvement that will show itself on the court next season. In a realistic world, it might take a year or two to determined Etherington’s impact.

The best example of what he could do this coming season comes from last year's freshmen, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey. They got to Bloomington last summer and instantly impressed the coaches with their work ethic. By the time the season arrived, they were ready to significantly contribute.

They both played all 32 games. Oladipo started five games. Sheehey started seven. Oladipo averaged about 18 mintues a game along with 7.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. Sheehey averaged about 14 minutes, 4.9 points and 2.1 rebounds.

It's not like IU's prospects this season depend on Etherington. Patience can be utilized. If Crean and his staff have done a good job of evaluating, if Etherington puts in the necessary time, he will be a solid player down the road. If not, well, recruiting is an inexact science. Sometimes even top-10 rated recruits falter.

Etherington is not a top-10 player. Can he still end up being a productive one?

That's up to him.


Sure, a broken down bus delayed the Indiana All-Stars en route to Friday night's game against Kentucky, so they ended up at a truck stop north of Seymour for about two hours.

Did the distraction cost them a victory?

Are you kidding.

Marquis Teague hit the game-winning basket with less than a second remaining to lift the Indiana All-Stars over their Kentucky counterparts, 105-103. Indiana has now won 22 of the last 25 games in the series.

Yes, that’s the same Teague who is headed to Kentucky.

Cody Zeller had nine points and nine rebounds in 20 foul-plagued minutes for the winners. Unlike Etherington, Zeller is expected to make a big impact right away as soon as he arrives on the Indiana campus. He’s a skilled 6-11 player who can drive, rebound and play defense. He’s spent the last week showing once again how significant a recruit Crean had landed.

If that continues next season, bet the house the Hoosiers will make the postseason next year.


One of these days Kelvin Sampson figures to land a NBA head coaching job. Make that a high-paying NBA job.

The guy is a perennial candidate while an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Now the former Indiana coach, whose two-year run with the Hoosiers crushed the program because of NCAA violations and too many problem players, is up for the Detroit job.

Earlier, he was a candidate for the Houston Rockets job that eventually went to Kevin McHale.

Sampson has been a Milwaukee assistant under Scott Skiles since 2008, when he was forced to resign at IU. The NCAA placed him under show-cause restrictions that make it virtually impossible for him to coach in college until 2013. Sampson has said he’s focused on becoming a head coach in the NBA.

Sampson could always coach. He’s certainly done a solid job with the Bucks. It doesn’t seem fair that he’s going to be richly rewarded for the damage he did to the Hoosier program (remember, he got a $750,000 buyout to just go away), but then, Pete Carroll paid no price for what happened to USC’s football program under his watch. He’s now the well-paid head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Trojan penalties include being stripped of their 2004 national title.

Maybe if coaches were hit hard financially for NCAA sanctions, if they couldn't just bail for greener pro pastures, their programs would be cleaner. Put it in every college contract that if the university gets hit with a penalty, the coach has pay a fine. The worse the penalty, the bigger the fine.

Just a thought.


  1. After seeing the numbers Austin E is putting up and his playing time I find it hard to believe he will see the floor much this year. He will basically have to beat out six guards to see the floor. We add several more wings next year. It is going to be very tough to earn playing time in the backcourt in the future.

  2. I watched etherington in Kokomo this week and he was far and away the most unengaged, unproductive, unimpressive player on the court for either team. He is a LONG way away from helping us. He didn't even seem to want to hustle for goodness sake. He needs to have the summer of his lifetime to get ready to play in the B10. Even my GF was commenting on how bad "#12" was and that he didn't deserve to be in that game (She didn't know who he was.)

  3. Not to start a conspiracy or anything, but I get the feeling Etherington is kind of the Jack Haley of this class -- and if that means we get Zeller, so be it. AE has talent -- he was a top-100 player at one point -- and I doubt Crean suffers slackers lightly, so it won't be for lack of effort that he doesn't succeed (for long, at least).