As Hoosier fans rolled out of bed yesterday, they caught wind of a new addition to the Indiana basketball team. Jordan Fuchs, a 6'6" 230 pound freshman tight end for Hoosier football, decided to walk on to the basketball team for at least the remainder of this season. Fuchs is no stranger to basketball and actually planned on playing the sport at the college level for most of his high school career. He didn't start playing football until his junior year and at that time - it was only to work on his athleticism. After playing the game for a while, though, Fuchs decided football might be a better fit for him and he decided to go that route in college - originally committing to UConn and Rutgers before ending up at Indiana.
Fuchs is not just any walk on / football convert though. He was majorly recruited for basketball coming out of Christ the King in New York City. He led his team to two city championships (one of the more difficult championships to win in the country). He also claimed offers from schools like Iowa State, Rutgers, and Dayton and had drawn the attention of a number of other high major programs such as Florida.
So what can Fuchs bring the undersized Hoosiers the rest of the way?
Size - While he isn't going to tower over many people at just 6'6", he is still a "big man" at 230 pounds. He will actually appear a lot like Devin Davis physically - and how good would this team be with the likes of Davis's services on a nightly basis? The Hoosiers have really struggled in the absence of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and they weren't even that great down low when Perea was playing. While Fuchs isn't going to immediately step into major minutes, he provides talent down low off the bench and that is an area that the Hoosiers are severely lacking right now.
Toughness - One thing that almost always comes with the transition of a football player to the game of basketball is toughness and I don't think Fuchs will be any different in that regard. If Coach Crean feels comfortable enough by next week to play Fuchs at a decent clip, he will provide a big body to bang with Hammons and Haas down low when Purdue comes to The Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers also still have Iowa & Michigan State on the schedule and those teams also present some matchup problems down low that Fuchs might be able to help with. If nothing else - he provides 5 more fouls to use which will protect the likes of Perea & Hartman a little more.
Talent - As mentioned above, Fuchs had some high major offers as well as other high major interest. Is he going to come in and be one of the best players on the court? No. Anyone that thinks that is beyond delusional. He just joined the team a few days ago and even if you have talent - you don't just make the transition to Division 1 college basketball with a few days of practice in the middle of a season. With that said - there is no denying his talent and athleticism. Hoosier fans saw glimpses of that on the football field this year as Fuchs played in all 12 games as a true freshman. Even if he takes a month to catch up and provide some productive minutes off the bench - it would be well worth the time for Coach Crean given the struggles down low this season.
Jordan Fuchs joining the Hoosier basketball program may not be a huge deal, and may end up not having any impact at all on how the season turns out - but at least for a little while - there is a glimmer of hope in Bloomington that there might be some more productive minutes (especially defensively) down low off the bench to finish out the season as the Hoosiers continue to push towards a NCAA Tournament birth.