With a long break until IU basketball returns to the floor next week, it seems like a good time to check in on each player on the roster and examine how they are performing.
First up, we’ll take a look at junior forward Jordan Geronimo. Stay tuned in the coming days for more.
Traditional numbers through 13 games:
- MPG: 13.1
- PPG: 5.2
- RPG: 2.2
- APG: 0.1
- BPG: 0.9
- SPG: 0.9
- TPG: 0.5
- FG%: 53.5
- 3FG%: 15.4
The preseason chatter: Is he a three or four? Or said different, could Jordan Geronimo transition his game out to the perimeter, where at 6-foot-6, he has a better chance to reach his ceiling? The IU staff worked with Geronimo during the offseason to improve his ball handling and passing skills, along with learning the intricacies of playing on the wing in Mike Woodson’s system.
Geronimo finished the 2021-22 season with several high-impact performances, so irrespective of what position he played, there was a sense he could carry that into his third season in Bloomington.
What is going well: The emphasis on ball handling appears to have helped Geronimo improve his decision-making and ball security. His turnover rate has dropped considerably, from 21.3 percent a year ago to 12.3 percent thus far this season.
Geronimo has also been a much more impactful defender. His block rate of 7.7 percent is second best on the team and better than a year ago, and his 4.0 steal rate is far above the 1.2 he produced a year ago. The steal rate is the highest on the team among players who have consistently been in the rotation.
Geronimo is also shooting a career-best 70 percent (21-of-30) from 2-point range, a rate that seems to have gotten a boost from his improved ability to beat his man with a quick first step and get to the rim.
Finally, Geronimo has improved as a free throw shooter. He made a paltry 27.8 percent as a freshman and 56.8 percent a year ago. So far Geronimo has made 14-of-20 (70 percent) this year.
What needs to improve: Dane Fife coined the phrase “Geronimo plays” a year ago, referring to Geronimo’s knack for creating havoc with offensive rebounds, deflections, and things of that nature.
But Geronimo’s impact in those areas has been on the decline. His 6.4 percent offensive rebounding rate is nearly half of what he produced a year ago, and his defensive rebounding rate is down as well.
While his block rate is up year-over-year, that is in large part fueled by back-to-back five block games early in the season. Geronimo hasn’t had a block in six straight games, and he has just seven rebounds in his last five appearances.
As has been the case throughout his career, Geronimo is continuing to foul too much. He’s been called for 4.9 fouls per 40 minutes, which is in line with his first two seasons. And the New Jersey product has missed defensive assignments a time or two.
The elephant in the room right now for Geronimo is his 3-point shooting. He’s just 2-of-13 from behind-the-arc on the season, and he’s 0-of-7 over his last six games. He has a good looking shot, but when’s it not falling and he isn’t blocking shots or rebounding at high rates, his impact on the court plummets. For his career Geronimo sits at 28.8 percent from long range.
Final thoughts: Geronimo warms up with the big men, and he has generally rotated in as a four. So at least for this season, he is still a frontcourt player in his evolution. He’s competing with Race Thompson, Malik Reneau, and perhaps even Miller Kopp for minutes there. At times that competition has cut into his minutes. He didn’t play in the second half vs. Arizona and hasn’t had a major role all season.
Indiana could really use a four who could consistently make threes right now. If Geronimo can start knocking them down and get back to creating chaos in other ways, he’ll regain his footing as a key contributor.
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