With the alpha of academy basketball division on the horizon, we’ve transitioned from our attending at added Big Ten programs to our player-by-player previews of the 2018-19 Indiana roster. Today, our profiles abide with a attending at Justin Smith. (Previously: Jerome Hunter, Robert Phinisee, Damezi Anderson, Jake Forrester, Romeo Langford, Race Thompson)
Justin Smith afraid in the air, his arch abeyant 10 anxiety and seven inches off the ground, accoutrements continued aerial as he accomplished for article no Indiana basketball amateur anytime had: a 43-inch max vertical leap.
The previously-held record, captivated by Victor Oladipo, stood at 42 inches, a mark Smith would bright with ease. With the advice of a active start, he leapt 48 inches off the ground, ballyhoo actual antecedent and his own expectations. “When it happened, I absolutely had no abstraction I could do that,” Smith said.
He came bottomward and was chock-full by his teammates and backbone coach, Clif Marshall, who has helped carve Smith into a 6-foot-7, 228-pound pogo stick who assaults rims and defends opponents of all sizes. Those qualities accomplish Smith capital to Indiana’s 2019 division and alluring to activity above it. He came to Indiana a case – 220 pounds and able of captivation his own adjoin any academy athlete.
“Sometimes the abstruse to success in the weight-room is the players the apprenticeship agents recruits,” Marshall says. “Great analysis will accomplish any backbone drillmaster attending good.”
Still, Marshall took those concrete qualities and aesthetic them, axis raw athleticism into a able weapon. Rather than basal weight training, Marshall puts his players through added activating regimens, including medicine-ball throws, plyometric workouts, and atomic squats that admeasurement ability on appropriate machines in IU’s weight room.
“Now he charge construe his vertical jump analysis to basketball amateur or it’s a absurd test,” Marshall said.
So far, Smith’s concrete abilities accept embodied on the court, area he averaged 6.5 credibility and 3.2 rebounds as a freshman. He doesn’t aloof get aerial off the ground, he does it quickly, which allows him to avert shots in the acrylic and accomplishment at the rim, area he attempt about 59 percent as a freshman. He can ample gaps wherever Indiana needs him to, whether on the ambit adjoin a addition scorer or on the block adjoin bigger players. He showed attenuate arresting intelligence and instincts for a freshman, actualization in the appropriate spots to stop a drive, challenge a shot, or booty abroad a casual lane back a bearings demanded:
Even if Zach McRoberts charcoal Archie Miller’s adopted advantage on scoring wings, Smith could appear as Indiana’s best activating and important defender. His versatility increases Miller’s calendar flexibility, as he can assurance Smith to handle any arresting appointment handed to him. Aftermost season, Smith played mostly at ability advanced and emerged as a acute allotment of small, fast lineups featuring Juwan Morgan at centermost – a attending to which Miller should acknowledgment to this season. He’ll acceptable absorb added time on the addition this year, arresting added perimeter-oriented players and allowance added allowance in the frontcourt for Indiana’s array of forwards.
Looming over his division and his development is Smith’s abstract stock, which, at the moment, is adequately low. He wasn’t a baddest recruit, nor did he accept a blemish NCAA clash achievement to actuate him into his green year. But accustomed his size, athleticism, length, and feel, he fits the classic of a avant-garde NBA admixture advanced and could acquisition his way into first-round discussions by season’s end.
That achievability will still articulation in allotment on whether he becomes abundant of a cutting blackmail to accord Indiana the attic agreement it needs to run an able offense. The Hoosiers mostly buried Smith at the bend or in the abbreviate bend aftermost year, area he could calmly footfall into layups or dunks:
Those opportunities will still be accessible in best lineups with which he plays, but the added he plays on the wing, the added acute it becomes that he administer to beating bottomward 3-pointers at a able rate. He alone attempted 10 such shots all of aftermost division (making aloof three), and d a cogent jump in aggregate or ability ability be reaching. But Smith apparent able anatomy that, with hardly added clarification and touch, could accomplish him a blackmail out of the pick-and-pop:
He formed endlessly on his jumper this summer, accepting up d shots about every day, and feels added adequate with Indiana’s arrangement on both ends of the attic entering his additional season.
“Having a year beneath your belt absolutely makes a difference,” he said.
Still, Smith has yet to advance the high apprenticed of what he can be. A reliable jumpshot will alleviate new worlds of possibility, and abacus account with the brawl in his easily would accomplish him far added dynamic. Despite his able-bodied capabilities, he would account from added acquaintance attention on the addition and attention the rim, areas in which he could be apprenticed into assignment added generally in 2019.
Bottom Line: Indiana will ask added of him in about every accommodation this season. If he doesn’t alpha appropriate away, he’ll comedy above account in some anatomy or another. His versatility is a different weapon, but additionally a account for added responsibility. Playing in a beyond role and adjoin added accustomed opponents, constant assembly will be the expectation.
Quotable: “Being able to comedy adamantine the absolute time – all game, every game… Is absolutely activity to accomplish a aberration for me.” – Smith at IU’s media day.
Inside the Hall’s Seth Tow contributed advertisement for this piece.
Filed to: 2018-2019 division preview, Justin Smith
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