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The Hoosier profiles continue with the Sophomores. #23 Remy Abell came in last year as a late surprise addition to the Etherington-Zeller class. Not too much outside of added depth was really expected from Abell, who was billed as defensive-minded combo guard who would be able to occasionally spell Jordan Hulls.
32 games, 8.3mpg, 3,0 ppg: Total of 95 points, 30 rebounds, 15 assists, 16 turnovers, 1 block, 6 steals
Remy came in last year as a late surprise addition to the Etherington-Zeller class. The consensus quickly turned on the pivot that Crean was expecting Abell to contribute immediately and add depth at the point guard spot, which was helped by Abell's decent showing in post-prep tourneys. His most surprising stat from his senior season was the 2.5 blocks per game, but 3 assists per game showed a willingness to pass the ball. I was expecting him to just help out, and AJ's write-up on him last season looked for skilled but unpolished athlete to help IU's perimeter defensive intensity. Mostly, we were hoping he wouldn't get all Donald Perry-esque (and you probably know what I mean) when spelling Hulls, and wouldn't need to hit shots with all of the other shooters around.
So, it was something of a surprise that Abell (while not looking lost on defense by any means) really provided a bit of ball-handling assistance when Hulls got rattled (notably in the NCAA tourney VCU game) and was a very accurate shooter off the bench. He shot 40% outside the arc, 45.8% inside it, and a surprisingly decent 78.6% from the free-throw stripe. And he also hit some big pressure shots in late game situations. Part of this success may have been due to being a relatively unheralded recruit who opponents chose to leave open, but he clearly capitalized when this happened. That he had 16 turnovers versus 15 assists is not surprising at all for a freshman guard. What was rather surprising is the lack of defensive statistics, especially in conference play. He only notched 18 defensive rebounds, 1 block and 6 steals on the year, and in the 16 Big Ten games he played in he merely gathered 6 defensive rebounds and no blocks or steals. Actually, that is a bit shocking for a guy who came in known for defense. Now I grant that you don't need to to register blocks or steals, or even many rebounds to have an impact defensively; but zeros in those categories rarely correlate to good defense.
So, what do we look forward to this year out of Remy?
Even though it seems like his opportunities should be dramatically increased with the loss of recruit Ron Patterson,and the graduation of Matt Roth and Verdell Jones, the addition of Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell, as well as the possibility of Maurice Creek coming back, means that we will not likely see much in the way of increased minutes for Abell. Which is unfortunate, because I'd be curious to see him featured a bit more. Still, if he really does have the chops to play defense at an elite level (and I do think he does), Remy will get as many or more possessions per game than last season. I'm hoping that now that he's had a year to understand the defensive team concept, he can step up and start to make plays like we know he's capable of. Keeping up the hot outside shooting would be great, but cutting down the turnovers is probably the most key improvement he can add to his game this season.