Taking a Closer Look at Devonte Green’s Game Winning Dime

When a team pulls out a tight game with a late game winning basket it is usually the shooter that gets all of the attention.  In yesterday’s 84-82 Indiana victory over Iowa, it was Freddie McSwain that hit what would become the game winner.  But it was the pass that set him up for that shot that deserves all of the fanfare on this day.

Devonte Green has experience with being in the position to make a big last minute pass for a potential game changing basket.  Except that the last time it happened, it didn’t go well for the sophomore guard.  Against Illinois a few weeks ago Green threw a bad pass at Juwan Morgan’s feet that resulted in a turnover.  Indiana lost the game and Green took it hard:

But Green didn’t need to go that far back to find a crunch time pass that might have shaken his confidence.  On the possession right before his late game heroics against Iowa he tried to force a pass for Juwan Morgan into a crowd and Iowa was able to steal it.  Green had every reason to doubt his ability to come through in the clutch.

Over the course of the season we’ve seen Archie Miller pull Green out of games for turnovers.  It is becoming clear that Miller has more confidence in his emerging guard, as not only did he leave Green in the game, but it appears that the final play was set up to put him in a position to make the winning pass.

First, take a look at the play in its entirety:


There’s really two points in this possession where you have to give Freddie McSwain credit for his ball handling — something he really isn’t known for.  One is here, as he is trusted at the top to handle the ball as Green comes off a Robert Johnson screen to get the ball.  It’s clear at this point that the play is intended to get the ball in Green’s hands.

What is noteworthy in the second segment here is how much ground McSwain has to cover as Green rounds the corner.  There is really nothing there at this point and McSwain has to beat his man to the rim for the play to work.

McSwain does a great job getting a jump on his man.  You have to wonder why Iowa wasn’t dropping off of him since he isn’t a perimeter threat.  But the key here is to look at Green.  He is already in his passing motion.  How he even sees McSwain isn’t clear.  He has a very long and athletic Tyler Cook guarding him.  His vision here is uncanny.

Here’s where the magic really happened.  Green, with his off hand and still very limited visibility, gets full extension with his left arm to wrap the ball around Cook.  The ball is placed between all five Iowa defenders with a little English.

Here again, McSwain has to make a one handed catch while sprinting to the basket.  It’s a small thing but earlier in the year we’re not sure he makes that catch.  And of course he still had to make the shot with three Hawkeyes converging on him.

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