Trick or Treat Special: We Request One Treat From Each Player For 2017-18

Halloween means one thing in Indiana — less than two weeks until IU basketball tips off.  Ok, that, tighter pants and a bunch of sugar buzzed little people running around.  In the Halloween spirit and with an eye towards the November 10th tipoff with Indiana State, we request one treat from each of the expected key contributors to the 2017-18 roster.  No tricks allowed, in numerical roster order:

  • Curtis Jones:  Find the Kansas game magic.  We know it’s there.  The kid clearly has talent.  It just looked like his confidence took a hit as the season wore on.  This is the guy on the team with the most upside for the upcoming season.  It doesn’t even have to be as high profile as his Kansas performance (15 points including some late daggers), but some quality and consistent contributions will be important to the success of this team.
  • Al Durham, Jr.:  DEFENSE.  DEFENSE.  With the emergence of Devonte Green and the expected contributions from Josh Newkirk, Durham is going to have to find a role on this team.  He needs to be a guy that can bring a spark off the bench with high energy and defense.
  • Josh Newkirk:  Ball distribution/security.  It took Newkirk a while to get re-acclimated back to the game after a long injury layoff, but once he did he became a key contributor on offense.  His scoring off dribble penetration can be pretty special.  But for a team that needs to make substantial improvements in reducing turnovers, Newkirk needs to set the tone.  His 1.45 assist to turnover ratio needs to be better this year.
  • Justin Smith:  Long and strong.  Indiana is lean in the front court.  If Smith wants to make an immediate impact he can do it by playing bigger than his size, rebounding and holding his own against the big guys down low.  He has the look of a freshman that can come in and contribute from day 1.
  • Robert Johnson:  Confidence.  We all know that RJ has the tools to lead this team in scoring, but a late season slump last year has us all worried.  Perhaps a new system will erase any lingering doubts in his mind and have him at the 15 ppg that we know he can be.
  • Devonte Green:  Self control.  That may sound like a criticism, but in reality it is an appreciation of Green’s special talents and athleticism.  Like any young player, they just need to be harnessed a bit.  His performance against Marian was mixed on this front but he certainly flashed his special abilities which has Hoosier Nation hoping for big things.
  • Juwan Morgan:  Stay healthy?  Ok, that’s not fair.  How about — do it all.  Seriously, IU is going to need Morgan to score, rebound, block shots, defend at a high level and stay out of foul trouble.  He doesn’t need to lead the team at anything, but he needs to contribute to everything.  And he has that kind of ability.  If Indiana can get 28 minutes a game from Morgan then we expect him to put together a special season.
  • De’Ron Davis:  Stay on the floor.  Davis’ ability to stay out of foul trouble and sustain energy might be the most important variables to the success of the entire team.  With no real natural backup at his position, every time Davis goes to the bench opponents are going to be looking to expose IU in the post.
  • Freddie McSwain:  Freddie McNasty.  Play physical, intimidate, block shots, shatter backboards.  McSwain needs to be the guy that drives other teams crazy.  Oh, and he might need to guard the post if Davis can’t stay on the floor.
  • Clifton Moore:  Exceed expectations.  Moore is that guy that we all suspect is better than his rankings.  On film he shows flashes of Kevin Durant, albeit faint flashes at this point.  But the potential seems to be there.  If at the end of the year we can look back and say that Moore contributed at a higher level than expected — then mission accomplished.  If those contributions were at least in part as a backup to Davis, even better, although that doesn’t appear to be his game.
  • Collin Hartman:  Be the glue.  CH was the glue guy for the 2016 Big Ten champs.  We may have underestimated his value when he was injured going into last season.  If he can stay healthy we know he’ll contribute in all facets of the game, but his on court leadership may be his most valuable attribute in 2017-18.
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