Will Jalen Hood-Scheveno play against Kansas?
- No. 16 IU at No. 6 Kansas, Saturday afternoon; Television: ESPN2.0
Bloomington – Galen Hood Chevino will be training Thursday.
How long depends on the lower back pain. Whether he plays at Kansas on Saturday depends on how he feels on Friday. Mike Woodson was in no mood for guarantees Thursday morning when explaining the plan Indiana hopes to get Hood-Chevino to field on Saturday.
But Hood-Chevino, who has been out since the Hoosiers beat North Carolina just over two weeks ago, will be training. This in itself is welcome news for IU fans.
“Today, we’ll start him on the floor and see if he can practice,” Woodson said. “The last few days he’s been doing some things. He’s moving. So today we’ll let him hit a little bit, and see where he is tomorrow.”
more:How Adidas NIL 1-to-1 deals could reshape the lucrative apparel scene for college athletics
Inside:It didn’t take long for IU to realize how much she needed Jalen Hood-Schifino
There was a clear hole the size of Hood-Chevino in the Indiana lineup as he’s been stuck sweating the past three games. That two of them were double-digit losses, along with Hood Chevino’s 109 plus-minus score – the second best on the team – left those fans wondering if some of the results might have been different had the No. 1 Hoosiers been able to match.
There are no absolutes in these situations, but is there some truth to this argument? How much did IU miss Hood-Schifino? Would the Hoosiers have enjoyed better results over the past three games with them on the ground?
Respectively, the answers to these questions are likely to be substantial and possibly. Because some of the things Hood-Chevino does best were Indiana’s biggest weaknesses without him.
“He’s one of the best freshmen in the country,” Kansas coach Bill Self told reporters Thursday. “He can score, he can handle it. He’s strong, he’s confident, he plays with swagger. They’ll be fine without him, but obviously they’ll be better with him.”
Hood-Schifino’s initial impact this season has been significant.
As a freshman, he averages 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. He has the second best pass average in Indiana behind Xavier Johnson, and Hood-Schifino’s 3-point shooting has improved, albeit with limited sample size, after hitting five of his past 13 attempts from deep after starting the season 1 of 6. He also shoots 41.4 % on two-point jumpers, adding a midrange threat to an offense that’s more versatile and versatile than could be said at any point in the past season.
Along with Johnson, Hood-Schifino has become a kind of swing player. By sharing the point guard load with Johnson, Hood-Schifino helps link Woodson’s starting and bench rotations productively.
Basketball analytics website EvanMiya.com tracks a statistic called the Adjusted Team Efficiency Margin for individual players across college basketball. By adjusting the relative strength of a team’s opponents, it tracks the difference on a per-player basis between a team’s adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies (per 100 possessions) when individual players are on the ground. In other words, it seeks to identify the players who most influence their teams’ efficiency numbers in the group when they are in the game.
Hood-Schifino ranks fourth among Hoosiers, with an average efficiency margin of 28.1. But this is the highest number among rookies, narrowly ahead of Johnson, and a much better performance than leading scorer Trace Jackson-Davis.
Some numbers can be deceiving, or at least it depends on the circumstances. This plus-minus sum, for example, would suggest that Hood-Schifino is an important part of his team’s success. As a bit of a blunt snob, he may be somewhat exaggerating why Hood-Schifino hasn’t played in either of his team’s two losses thus far.
Beneath the surface, however, there are some specific strengths that Hood-Chefino brings to Earth that become weaknesses in his absence, whether due to causation or circumstance.
For example, at 6-6, over 200 pounds, Hood-Schifino has proven to be a terrific defensive tackle. His overall rebound rate is third among the Hoosiers after Jackson-Davis and Reece Thompson, and his individual defensive rebound rate (15.9%) is the best among regular quarterbacks. It’s better, even, than Jordan Geronimo’s performance in the same statistic.
A base who can rebound is an important offensive asset, because he can launch a transitional attack more quickly if he clears the plate than if a larger teammate has to do so, then pass him the ball. But in Indiana’s two losses this month, the absence of one of its best defensive rebounders has been egregious.
Rutgers and Arizona, respectively, had offensive rebound rates (that is, the percentage of errors dropped for offensive rebounds) of 41.5% and 43.2%. Prior to the December 3 loss in New Jersey, the Hoosiers had not allowed a team to hit 35% in a single game with that number.
According to the Hoop Lens website, Indiana’s offensive rebound rate is never lower than when Hood-Schifino is on the ground, as opponents pull only 24.4% of their errors in those stretches.
And most importantly, in the same position no average player has fewer points per number allowed on possession than Hood-Schifino (0.84). The only two Hoosiers players with at least 150 defensive possessions played and below average PPP allowed are slightly better, with Geronimo and Malik Reno both posting 0.83.
These two things go hand in hand, of course. A good defensive team cannot be without being good at rebounding. If you can’t secure the foul—as the Hoosiers frequently find at Rutgers and against Arizona—you can’t defend possession to a satisfactory conclusion.
Offensively, Hood-Schifino provides the aforementioned stability as Woodson moves between his starting lineup and bench lineup. Hood-Chevino and Johnson sewed the two together.
Just as he does defense, Hood-Schifino has the best average PPP per player among rookies, 1.15 according to Hoop Lens. While his individual turnover rate is over 22%, Indiana’s average when Hood-Chevino is on the ground is a team best of 13.4%.
And taking some of the burden off Johnson, who has no doubt struggled with Hood-Chevino on the sidelines. In the past three games for IU, Johnson has had 23 points, four rebounds, 19 assists, 15 turnovers and five blocked shots. He shot only 7 from 32 from the ground in this stretch, and Woodson more than once suggested that Johnson force things too much, trying to do too much. Given Hood Chevino’s physical appearance and ability to get to the edge, we’d also likely say Johnson misses the freedom that Hood Chevino offered, which has drawn the attention of larger defenders.
All of which made Thursday’s news that Hood-Chevino would test his running back potentially playing Saturday very welcome to Indiana fans. The freshman from Montverde Academy tried the same thing in pre-game shooting last weekend in Las Vegas but just couldn’t go. Woodson hopes the result will be different this time.
“The player himself will lead you in the direction he wants,” Woodson said. “From a medical point of view, I think he’s fine, but then again, when you can’t do the things you used to do on the ground, move like you normally would, that’s a problem. That’s what he was going through.”
Indiana — the coaches, teammates, and fans collectively — are hopeful Hood Chevino will be back to normal again soon. The Hoosiers need him in Lawrence this weekend.
Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.
#Jalen #HoodScheveno #play #Kansas