The 2015-16 Indiana Hoosiers will have an interesting makeup to their front court. Presuming they go with a small ball lineup, Robert Johnson, Troy Williams and Thomas Bryant form one of the most talented frontcourts in all of the Big Ten. Junior Colin Hartman also looks to be a pivotal backup at the forward position and could make it hard for others to obtain minutes with his hustle and versatility.
Missouri freshman Ogugua Anunoby -- OG as he is going by this season - will be one of the forwards battling for third string minutes. A 3-star prospect according to ESPN, Anunoby enters his freshman campaign as an intriguing prospect who may serve a greater role long-term. The 6'8" freshman may not garner the attention like Bryant and Juwan Morgan, but Anunoby could play key minutes in the years to come.
At 6'8", 210 pounds, Anunoby possesses great size and length for the small forward position. A participant in the Derby Festival Basketball Classic 3-point shootout, Anunoby has the range on his shot to extend out to the college three point line. The lengthy freshman shot 36% from three his senior season and an impressive 44% his junior year. The mid-range shot is also an option with Anunoby, as he can drive left or right and pull up from the free throw line extended.
With head coach Tom Crean and his staff keeping track of pass deflections in practices, Anunoby could see the floor in defensive situations right away. The Jefferson City High School (MO) product led his team in steals and blocked shots as a senior. Blessed with the gifts of high level length and athleticism, Anunoby will fit in to Crean's defensive philosophy right away.
Areas for Improvement
With the Hoosiers running more of a small ball style of play, it'll be interesting to see where they fit Anunoby in their system. Junior Troy Williams is slated to be playing power forward this season, even though he is an inch shorter than Anunoby. With Williams listed as a potential first-round pick, minutes could be available for Anunoby during his sophomore season. If there are increased minutes at the power forward spot in the coming seasons, Anunoby will need to get stronger in order to not become a liability on the defensive end, as well as finishing through contact on offense.
Ball-handling will need to tighten up if Anunoby is to become a productive, versatile offensive player. If inside the three point line, he is a capable ball handler, but driving to the basket from three point range could pose as a problem at the collegiate level.
In terms of consistent, immediate production, don't count on it from Anunoby in year one. With Williams and Hartman in the fold for the majority of minutes at power forward, look for contributions from Anunoby on the defensive end due to his length.
Pending future recruiting classes, it could be tough for the freshman to see minutes at the power forward spot unless he puts on a considerable amount of muscle. Williams has been able to flourish at that spot in large part of his motor. If used primarily as a small forward, there is a chance Anunoby could be a productive, multi-year player who could turn into a significant scorer due to his length and shooting ability.