In the months leading up to the 2020-’21 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Rob Phinisee of the Indiana Hoosiers, who landed at No. 21 in the rankings. The Hoosiers enter this season hoping to build off last year’s 21-12 mark. Phinisee will be a big piece in meeting that goal.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - No. 21 Rob Phinisee:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 59 games, 1,500 minutes, 414 points, 171 rebounds, 187 assists
- 2019-’20 Averages: 23.2 min, 7.3 pts, 2.5 rebs, 3.4 asts, 0.2 blks, 1.0 stls
- Positional Role: Point Guard
After two underwhelming years with Archie Miller at the helm, Indiana finally did enough to warrant an NCAA bid last season. Unfortunately, fans never got to enjoy that appearance or see how things finished because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But a big part of Indiana’s run to March Madness was driven by Phinisee’s play. Fans are hoping he can take another step forward this season.
Phinisee largely filled the traditional point guard role last season. He was a fantastic passer (9th in the league in assist rate) who could hit open shots when asked. He hit 33.3 percent of his attempts from three-point range by season’s end, which ended up being one of the better marks on the team.
Along with initiating the offense and facilitating, Phinsee also did work on the defensive end of the floor. He had one of the best steal rates in the league (4th) and did a nice job of defending ball handlers. His play was one of the many reasons why Indiana’s defense finished the season ranked 26th nationally.
-Areas for Improvement
Being a facilitator, decent shooter, and quality defender are great skills to have. But if Phinisee is going to elevate his game, he needs to take steps forward elsewhere on offense. Perhaps Phinisee’s biggest potential growth area is his shooting. He finished with an underwhelming 94.9 offensive rating and a big part of that was his inconsistent shooting. In particular, his 39.8 percent from two-point range leaves a lot to be desired.
Phinisee could also take some steps forward elsewhere, including his prevalence for turnovers. You don’t like to see a 22.8 turnover rate for a lead guard. It was easily the highest mark on Indiana’s roster and it’s reasonable to think that will be the biggest limiting factor on his long-term potential.
With Devonte Green graduating, Phinisee’s going to get a chance to play a lot this season. And if he can do a better job of avoiding turnovers and bad shots, his minutes should increase substantially. However, after two seasons, it’s hard to see all of Phinisee’s issues resolving. Expect some modest improvement, but much of the same from Phinisee.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch will be to see how he fits with star recruit Khristian Lander, who arrives on campus this year. It seems likely Phinisee and Lander will play next to each other, but Phinisee could get relegated to a bench role if things don’t go well. We will have to wait and see.