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IU basketball: New offensive style a good fit for sophomore guard Trey Galloway

After so much has changed, it is easy to forget that by the fourth game of his true freshman season, Indiana guard Trey Galloway was starting.  In fact, 14 games into the 2020-21 campaign, Galloway had started seven times.

Within that span the Culver, Ind. product had made 4-of-6 3-pointers over a five game stretch, and it was becoming clear that Galloway was an underrated recruit who was in the early days of what projected to be a productive college career.

And then he hit the freshman wall.  The threes stopped falling, his back went out, and Galloway could never quite return to that early form.

Now entering year two, others in the backcourt are garnering the headlines.  That’s because IU has added some highly talented guards — Xavier Johnson and Parker Stewart started in The Bahamas, and many believe Tamar Bates will eventually land in the first five in his freshman season much like Galloway did.

In many ways Galloway has reverted back to where he was at this point last year, at least on the expectations front — under the radar.  And we suspect that is just fine with him, the Indiana kid who didn’t hesitate to confirm his intent to stay with IU during the coaching transition in March.  He’s here for the long haul, not hype, and he seems fully bought in on what Mike Woodson is trying to do.

And it doesn’t hurt that Woodson’s scheme, especially on the offensive end, is seemingly tailor-made for Galloway’s downhill, attacking style.

“Everyone’s touching the ball and I think that’s one thing that it’s really helped us because we’re moving and we’re passing it well,” Galloway said of the new offense at IU’s media day.  “I think that’s helped me a lot too because there’s a lot of open lanes because we’re starting to open it up a little more and I’m able to get downhill and create for others, and that’s one thing I feel like I’m pretty good at and I think that’s helped me in my game get to see that part.”

Galloway is being modest.  He’s good at a lot of things, including his ability to finish.  At least by certain metrics, he was Indiana’s best finisher at the rim among its guards. He took 54.8 percent of his shots there and made 56.5 percent of those attempts according to  Galloway put up those numbers in an offensive system that wasn’t well-suited for his strengths.  He was at his best in AAU basketball playing in an up-tempo transition style similar to what IU wants to implement this year.  In that spread-out fast-paced system his highly-skilled and athletic game allowed him to both finish at the rim and find his teammates.

The problem he had as a freshman was the shots away from the rim. He only took five mid-range shots and made three of those, but from beyond the 3-point arc he made just six of 33 attempts, for just 18.2 percent.  It isn’t breaking news to tell you that is a figure that must improve.

Galloway is more than capable on the defensive end.  He’s built strong enough to survive the Big Ten’s physical style, and he moves well laterally — a good combination for Woodson’s switching defense.  His aggressive, attacking mindset should also serve him well on that end of the floor, because that is exactly how Indiana plans to play defense.

It’s no secret when it comes to Galloway — his ability to makes shots from the perimeter is the big question.  He’s better than 18 percent, but he’s hasn’t been known for big-time shooting numbers — although it is worth noting he shot it the best in AAU ball when he made 42.9 percent from long range when he was completely healthy.  Galloway doesn’t have to be north of 40 percent from three, but if the shot comes around this year, he can be one of the more complete guards on the team.  Ultimately, he just needs to shoot the ball well enough that defenses decide it isn’t a wise choice to sag off of him and congest the space that IU covets.

That’s just one aspect of what he hopes will be a complete game in year two.

“Through the offseason that’s one time you can really get better and improve yourself and your game and I think I’ve improved overall everything,” Galloway said.


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