It is always great to get the viewpoint of an opposing team's fanbase. You can read all sorts of previews done by media but, in our opinion, the best way to truly understand a team is to talk to those that have their finger right on the pulse. With that being said, we are happy that Michael Hadley of Student on Sports reached out to us for a little Q&A session regarding today's Gonzaga-IUPUI matchup. We thank Michael for his time and think he provides some great insight into the program. Enjoy!
The Slipper Still Fits: Coming off of season in which IUPUI won 25 games, what are the expectations among the fans heading into this season?
Michael Hadley: Losing Rob Glenn to graduation, as well as two other great post players, hurts a lot. However Christian Siakam (Cincinnati, OH) has been waiting patiently on the bench for his turn, and freshman Donovan Gibbs (Louisville, KY) is ready to make his presence felt inside. 25 games might be a lot to ask, especially because all non-conference D-1 games are on the road, but no matter how many games are won and lost this team will come together and be prepared for Summit League action like never before.
TSSF: Over the course of the 2009-10 season, Alex Young emerged as an excellent No. 1 scoring option for this team. What makes Young so successful on the offensive end, and what are the keys to slowing him down?
MH: Alex Young (Indianapolis, IN) is an anomaly, in the best way possible. He is an NBA-sized perimeter shooter who can, when needed, bang inside. Depending who is on the floor, he can play the one or two guard, as well as the small forward position successfully, though he is generally at the three. If you're lucky enough to see him dunk on Sunday, make sure it's on film. The best way to slow Alex down is to get a similar-sized forward on him. His ability to exploit defenders is absolutely amazing, being too fast for the taller forwards but too tall for the quicker guards. I would have to say his kryptonite would be turning the ball over, which he seems to do at an unnecessarily high clip. I personally think he could score 25 points a game this season, especially if he is able to stay outside due to great post play by Siakam and Gibbs.
TSSF: Although he sat out last season due to transfer rules, what are the expectations for the type of impact that Stephen Thomas can make this season?
MH: I actually have some friends at Dayton who are furious that we "stole" Stephen Thomas (Indianapolis, IN) away. (He really came because he wanted to be closer to home, but you know how kids are.) If he plays as well as he did all summer in the Indianapolis Pro Am league and continues to find teammates as well as he did in the pre-season (averaged 6 assists per game), look out. John Ashworth (Indianapolis, IN) was able to distribute the ball in a great way last year (4+ assists per game) in Head Coach Ron Hunter's system, and he hates playing the point. Stephen is a true point guard who does everything it takes to win. We're beyond excited to have him on the floor.
TSSF: After the nets are cut down at the Final Four and you can look back on this season, what will it take from this group for you and other IUPUI fans to classify this as a successful season.
MH: Well, obviously we would like to be there when the nets are being cut down...But realistically a conference championship would be our goal. Like I said before, our non-conference schedule is beyond dicey, playing four top 25 teams before Christmas, all on the road, plus another handful of top-notch mid major teams could either leave us in shambles or poised to make a deep run into the tournament. Either way, Coach Hunter should be able to squeeze every ounce out of his team down the stretch. If I were guessing, I would say "success" for this season would be 21-10 (14-4). Alex needs to make progression, and if he does he could easily be a lottery draft pick after his senior season. Christian and Stephen need to adjust to heavy amounts of playing time they haven't seen since high school. And for the love of God, the bench needs to get its act together. (First pre-season game they were +11 to the starters +110).