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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Home Sports NBA Woodson and the Art of 'Next-Man-Up'

Woodson and the Art of ‘Next-Man-Up’

By Pete DiPrimio
IUHoosiers.com

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana is going to Maryland, and so much we know:

Wait Rob Phinisee will not play.

Wait Christian Lander may.

Wait Xavier Johnson will be one busy Hoosier.

Welcome to the grind-it-on-world of Big Ten basketball, where nothing is certain but awaits challenges.

IU has a big one Saturday afternoon.

Point guard is crucial for every team, especially one with Big Ten title aspirations, as the Hoosiers have. Johnson is IU’s only healthy point guard, and given his volleyball style of play, nothing is guaranteed except that games and opportunities will keep coming.

First the background.

Phinisee injured his foot in Thursday night’s first half against Penn State. Teammates helped him to the locker room, and he never returned.

Woodson quickly broke thoughts of an early return during Friday morning’s media access.

“He’s not going to play (Saturday),” said Woodson. “It could possibly be from day to day. We do not really know.

“We do not know the extent of it. He had plantar fasciitis. I wish I had him, but it’s next man up.”

This leads to the obvious question – what is plantar fasciitis? Basically, it is an inflamed heel caused by a strain of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot.

As for Lander, he has not played since late December. He is apparently confused and his availability for Maryland is uncertain.

“Khristian may be available with limited minutes,” Woodson says. “If that’s the case, he (Johnson) will alleviate some.”

This leaves Johnson as the only true point guard on the list. He will probably get big minutes on Saturday.

The silver lining – he has played lightly the last three games, averaging 17.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. He has 5-for-9 on three pointers, and has 14 assists at five turnover points, plus five steals.

Against Penn State, he had 19 points, six assists and four rebounds in 31 minutes.

Johnson may have to play more than that against Maryland, which does not bother Woodson.

“I do not go into a game and worry about minutes. I coach based on how guys play. It’s a feeling.

“If he has to go 40 minutes, we’ll play him 40 minutes.”

If necessary, Trey Galloway, Anthony Leal and even Jordaan Geronimo can help with point guard.

“Everyone has to work hard and do their part based on who’s out there,” Woodson said. “It’s just that simple.”

Another possibility is freshmen Tamar Bates, which is more of a shooting guard. He broke out of a long shooting slump by hitting a pair of three-pointers against Penn State.

“He played great last game,” said Woodson. “The last few games he has played well.

“The bottom line is, when you are short-handed, guys who did not get many minutes, you have to start thinking about minutes for those guys.

“Rob played 18 to 20 minutes, so (Geronimo) and Gallo and Anthony might be thrown in there. When your name is mentioned, you have to be ready. It’s just that simple.”

This adds to the challenge – Maryland’s power is at the waiting position, led by Eric Ayala (16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds) and Fatts Russell (12.4 points, 3.8 rebounds).

“All their guys playing are capable of knocking you off the dribble,” Woodson says. “It’s a great dribble drive team. A great isolation team. It’s no surprise. We have to defend the dribble. We have to do it for 40 minutes.”

Indiana (15-5, 6-4 in the Big Ten overall) won three of four games and five of six. It’s looking for a big run to move to Big Ten title fight. It is sixth in the conference standings, 1.5 games behind the leaders no. Wisconsin and no. 19 Illinois.

With Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State looming in the next few weeks, the Hoosiers need to score as many wins as they can.

“We’re going to keep getting better,” Johnson said.

IU struggled from three points this season, but not against Penn State, when it was 10-for-13. Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp and Xavier Johnson everything connected outside the arc.

Can the Hoosiers maintain that accuracy?

Why not, Woodson asks.

“I never told us not to shoot tries. We should shoot them when we’re open. I thought Parker and Miller and X, everyone who shot them, they were in step and knocked them down. We are “They’ll need them to keep doing it because we need the three-ball. There’s no doubt about it. We can not go (5-for-19) like we did against Michigan.”

Maryland (11-9) has won its last two games, upset Illinois and then beat Rutgers.

The Terrapins made a season-best 12 three-pointers to beat Rutgers.

Under interim coach Danny Manning, who took over early in the season after Mark Turgeon’s resignation, Maryland found himself. Next to Ayala and Russell, forward Donta Scott averages 12.3, 6.7.

“The road is what it is,” Woodson says. “We play Maryland on the road. They play much better. They play great. You’re going to have to commit to 40.

“We’ll put together a game plan, and we have to commit ourselves for 40 minutes to go there and get a win. It’s not going to be easy, but we are able to win on the road. We have proved it. in Nebraska. “





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