Parker Stewart appears to have taken positively to Mike Woodson’s efforts to get him back to playing at a high level.
Back on Aug. 6 Woodson was asked about Stewart and he said this about the 6-foot-5 redshirt senior (redshirt junior eligibility-wise) transfer shooting guard.
“Early on he went through a stretch where he was probably the best player in the gym, and then he just took a back seat, and now I’m trying to retool him and get him back to how he was playing earlier when he first started but he’s doing fine,” Woodson said.
Assistant coach Kenya Hunter told the media about a time when Stewart made 20-of-21 3-pointers back in the spring. While that kind of accuracy cannot be expected, it is no secret that Stewart’s ticket to playing time will in large part be determined by his degree of success from behind-the-arc.
There were signs in The Bahamas prior to the games indicating Stewart may have ascended in status. If you are wondering how he went from Woodson’s retooling project to the starting lineup at the Atlantis Resort, the answer appears to have come in the intervening week.
In the days that followed Woodson’s remarks IU held two 24-minute scrimmages with referees prior to leaving for The Bahamas on Aug. 10.
According to notes published by the school, Stewart made 7-of-10 3-pointers in the two scrimmages. Again, that isn’t a conversion rate to expect going forward of course, but it does provide some insight into Woodson’s thinking. His offensive system is designed to emphasize perimeter shooting, and it seems clear anyone who demonstrates they can be a shot-maker will see the floor.
That is especially true since IU does not appear to have a point guard ready to step-in and be a lights-out 3-point shooter, and Trayce Jackson-Davis hasn’t shown that he is ready to make shots from long range either. So the other three players on the floor need to be reliable threats from deep.
Stewart made just 2-of-10 from behind-the-arc in the Bahamas. And based on what we saw down there he will be pushed hard by freshman Tamar Bates for playing time. So this is a story that will likely evolve until November and beyond. But if you were wondering how Stewart landed in the starting lineup after Woodson’s remarks, now you know.
According to IU’s notes, Trey Galloway had 15 points and Anthony Leal had 14 to lead the White Team to a 47-46 win in the first game. Rob Phinisee had six assists and zero turnovers.
Stewart and Miller Kopp each had 13 points and Xavier Johnson had 11 points and seven assists to lead the Red Team to a 48-34 win in the second game.