BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 07, 2022 - guard Jalen Hood-Schifino #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game between the Morehead State Eagles and the Indiana Hoosiers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. Photo By Andrew Mascharka/Indiana Athletics

Hood-Schifino is impacting games for IU even when his shot is off

Jalen Hood-Schifino has made a strong impression through his first two college games.

And he’s still just scratching the surface of his potential.

The freshman has yet to have a big scoring game in the regular season. He just wasn’t firing a lot of shots against Morehead State on Monday, and he had a tough shooting game against Bethune-Cookman. Hood-Schifino went 2 for 8 from the field Thursday, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range. He did go 4 for 5 at the free-throw line, helping him get to eight points.

But even when his shot is off, he’s making a positive impact on the game. That was especially evident against the Wildcats, with five rebounds, eight assists, and two steals.

“Shots (weren’t) falling, they’re not going to fall every night. So there’s other things and other ways you can impact games, and that’s what he does well,” Trey Galloway said. “When he’s got the ball in his hands, he makes the right play, makes the right reads. I think he did a great job of that, just finding guys in transition, finding open guys.”

Some of that non-scoring impact goes beyond the box score. Like Galloway said, Hood-Schifino is more than just a good passer — he’s a facilitator. He’ll make passes that set up better passes for teammates. He’ll drive into the lane to create the space to kick it out. He controls the pace of IU’s offense — something Galloway added that the freshman is doing well with.

IU head coach Mike Woodson echoed Galloway in saying that cold nights just happen sometimes, but there are plenty of other ways to impact the game.

“I mentioned to these guys going into this game that we should average 20 to 25 assists a game. If you’re unselfish and a guy is open, you’ve got to give him the ball,” Woodson said. “Jalen had a solid game. He just didn’t make shots. The end result was a W, and that’s what counts.”

Hood-Schifino has been impactful on defense as well. Granted, Indiana’s competition thus far has been less than stellar, and it will be telling how he holds up against guards from more prominent opponents. But he’s shown promising signs on that end of the floor, with good footwork to match his athleticism and quickness. The freshman picked up two steals against Bethune-Cookman and one against Morehead State.

Of course, Hood-Schifino has the ability to be a bigger scorer and have huge games there, too. He showed more of that in IU’s exhibition games.

Bethune-Cookman head coach Reggie Theus was impressed with Hood-Schifino, from what he saw on film and during the game.

“He can get to the rim, takes you off the dribble. He’s got some toughness to him,” Theus said. “I think he’s going to have some big nights. In order for them to win like we think they can win, he’s got to have big nights.”

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