So what do we make of the three Hoosiers’ participation in the Indiana All-Stars series with Kentucky?
For one thing, look out for Ron Patterson’s defense. The guy is going to be an absolute beast in coach Tom Crean’s deflection-centered approach. He has arms that seem to stretch from sideline to sideline, a non-stop motor and an aggressive nature.
If he defends to his potential, nobody will want to have to face him.
He’s set to arrive in Bloomington on Wednesday along with fellow All-Stars Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell. They’ll quickly be indoctrinated in the Hoosier way of doing things, both from a basketball standpoint and strength and conditioning.
Patterson put up good numbers in Saturday’s 83-73 win in Indianapolis. He scored 14 points on 7-for-12 shooting in 20 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds.
But it was his intensity that really stood out. He has a lot to learn, and there’s plenty of time to learn it. It will help that coaches are allowed to work with their players this summer. That will give them a head start on previous seasons, when coaches couldn’t do anything with their players until the fall.
Hollowell also looked impressive with his nine points and nine rebounds. He has to stay locked in all the time, not just when he has the ball or is guarding the ball, but that will come. He has a HUGE upside.
As far as Ferrell, he has some work to do on his shooting. He forced a few things with the All-Stars, but that’s to be expected given they had less than a week to work together. Put him in Crean’s system, along with such outstanding veterans as Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey and he’s going to thrive.
As for the All-Stars, they broke the game open with a 30-5 second-half run spurred by aggressive defense. They finally bought into what coach Craig Teagle had stressed.
“We’d tell them, ‘Guys, you’re so athletic; you’re so intelligent; you’re so long, you can be a shutdown team.’
“It’s one of those things, the longer we would have had them, the better they would have been defensively.
“I’m telling you, when a college coach gets these guys under his wing for four or five months during the season, you’re going to see some outstanding defense from all of them.”
It took 19 years, but Indiana finally has another outdoor national track champion.
Andy Bayer won the 1,500-meter final, and he needed every bit of it to hold off Brigham Young’s Miles Batty. They battled down the stretch and both dove head first for the finish line. Bayer won by .01 second, basically a blink of an eye, to win in a time of 3:43.82.
“I’m super excited,” Bayer said. “This is what I’m going for at ever NCAA meet. I was set up well with 200 meters to do. I thought, ‘I’m not going to let this go. I’m going to fight to the end,’ and it worked out.”
Three other IU runners have won 1,500-meter NCAA titles –- Bob Kennedy, Jim Spivy and Don Lash. The Hoosies have have 45 NCAA track champions and 141 NCAA champs in every sport.
Bayer has scored 44 NCAA tourney points, which ranks fifth in IU history. He passed Bob Kennedy, who had 41.
Teammate De’Sean Turner finished seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. That helped Indiana finish 11th in the NCAA meet with20 points. That’s the Hoosiers’ best finish since 1993.