In the weeks leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing its preview series breaking down each Big Ten team. These will come in a set of series previewing the overall team, the team’s backcourt, wings, and big men, and the team’s schedule. Each post will take a look at its top in-depth and give predictions on the upcoming season.
Today’s edition of the ‘BTPowerhouse Preview Series’ will focus on the frontcourt for Indiana. The Hoosiers will look to replace Thomas Bryant with the help of De'Ron Davis and Juwan Morgan.
'BTPowerhouse Preview'- Indiana Frontcourt
- 2016-'17 All-Big Ten Qualifiers: Thomas Bryant (All-Big Ten Third Team)
- Key Departures: Thomas Bryant
- Key Additions: Clifton Moore
- Top Player: Juwan Morgan
The loss of Bryant to the NBA has its drawbacks, but head coach Archie Miller has said multiple times this offseason that he's excited about this year's frontcourt and how big of a factor they'll play in Indiana's success this year.
Let's take a look at the big men for the Hoosiers.
Miller made De'Ron Davis a priority as soon as he took over in March. By early summer, Davis lost about 30 pounds and added eight inches to his vertical leap.
Playing in 13 minutes a game last year, Davis showed vast improvements in his post game as the season went on, but his conditioning is what kept him from playing more minutes. At Indiana media day, Davis admitted he'd foul on purpose last year so play would stop and he'd be able to catch his breath.
With Bryant's departure, Davis will see a significant increase in his minutes, and he'll have to keep in shape all season to reach his maximum potential.
Another frontcourt player the Indiana coaching staff is very excited about is junior forward Juwan Morgan. At 6-foot-8, Morgan has shown glimpses of being a reliable defender and rebounder, but the part of his game that needs the most development is his offense.
Morgan shot 54% from the field last year, but was 10-40 (25%) from behind the three-point line and will need to improve that number if he wants to be more effective than just inside the paint.
A four-star recruit, there is a lot of buzz around freshman Clifton Moore. At 6-foot-10, 200 pounds, Moore needs to add a little more muscle, but according to ESPN NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony, he's one of the most intriguing long-term projects in college basketball.
Moore is very fluid and smooth for someone of his frame. Though he's still growing into his body, he has a solid leaping ability and his long wingspan is beneficial in multiple aspects of his game.
What makes Moore stand out is he can shoot it from all three levels. He has a very nice stroke and is height allows him to shoot over defenders and has an excellent rotation on the ball. It's unsure how much time he'll get this season, but look for Moore to develop into an NBA prospect in a few years.
Last, but not least, Bloomington's favorite Tim Priller rounds out the Hoosier frontcourt. Though he doesn't see the floor often, appearing in only nine games last season, he was forced to come off the bench multiple times due to starters getting into foul trouble.
He's obviously not a guy who will play in every game but don't be shocked if there's more Priller time this year in meaningful games than in years past.
As of now, Race Thompson will be redshirting this year after reclassifying to the 2017 class. Similar to Morgan, Thompson is known for being a bruiser and a year of practicing will be good for him in the long run.
Davis and Morgan lead a group that is very thin in depth. That said, Davis will need to keep up with his conditioning and Morgan will need to stay healthy as he's injury prone in the past.
Moore will see some minutes off the bench, but it'll be interesting to see if he can battle down low with his lack of muscle. There will be instances where Priller sees more minutes than he should, but that should be expected with a light lineup like this one.