Jalen Hood-Schifino impressed in his first two college games.
And it only scratches the surface of its potential.
The freshman has yet to have a big scoring game in the regular season. He just didn’t fire many shots against Morehead State on Monday, and he had a tough shooting game against Bethune-Cookman. Hood-Schifino went 2 for 8 from the field Thursday, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range. He went 4 for 5 from the free throw line, helping him to eight points.
But even when his shot misses, he has a positive impact on the game. It was especially evident against the Wildcats, with five rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
“The shots (didn’t fall), they won’t fall every night. So there are other things and other ways to impact games, and that’s what he does well,” said Trey Galloway. “When he has the ball in his hands, he makes the right play, makes the right reads. I think he did a great job, just finding transitioning guys, finding open guys.
Some of that unmarked impact goes beyond box scoring. As Galloway said, Hood-Schifino is more than just a passer – he’s an enabler. He will make passes that will create better passes for his teammates. He will drive into the lane to create space to kick him out. He controls the tempo of IU’s attack – something Galloway added that the rookie does well with.
IU head coach Mike Woodson echoed Galloway in saying cold nights do happen sometimes, but there are plenty of other ways to impact the game.
“I mentioned to those guys coming into this game that we should be averaging 20-25 assists per game. If you’re disinterested and a guy is open, you gotta give him the ball,” Woodson said. “Jalen had a solid game. He just didn’t shoot. The end result was a W, and that’s what matters.
Hood-Schifino also had an impact on defense. Admittedly, Indiana’s competition so far has been less than stellar, and that will tell how he holds up against the guards of bigger opponents. But he has shown promising signs at this end of the field, with good footwork to match his athleticism and quickness. The freshman had two interceptions against Bethune-Cookman and one against Morehead State.
Of course, Hood-Schifino has the ability to be a top scorer and have huge games there too. It showed more in IU exhibition games.
Bethune-Cookman head coach Reggie Theus was impressed with Hood-Schifino, based on what he saw on film and during the game.
“He can reach the rim, take the dribble away from you. He has a certain toughness going for him,” Theus said. “I think he’s going to have some big nights. For them to win like we think they can win, he has to have big nights.
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