BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Jordan Geronimo is such a good athlete that he does things on a basketball court that none of his teammates can. He’s a great ‘north-south’ athlete, with a vertical leap in the mid-40s, and he can shake things up in a lot of ways
But Thursday night, Geronimo outdid himself. He did something he never did in the Hoosiers’ much-needed 74-64 against Maryland.
Midway through the first half, Indiana’s Race Thompson got to the free throw line and took his first shot. He missed the second attempt and Geronimo, lined up on the left block, slipped past Julian Reese and then mounted Xavier Green. He couldn’t put both hands on the ball, so he dug into the ground.
He bounced back – and into the basket. Everyone was shaking their heads and laughing, including Geronimo, the 6-foot-6 second from Newark, NJ
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Geronimo said with a laugh on Friday when asked about the crazy game. , because I can reach them.
“The ball was at a point where I could catch it, but (Green) was still hitting me, so I just kicked it. I saw the arch and thought, ‘That could be good. I’ll take my two points. ‘ Well, I’m just going to come back in defence. That’s the reason why I kicked the ball. If I can’t fully grasp it, I’ll just try to create an opportunity for my teammates or myself, however it comes.
Indiana’s often bustling bench exploded. It was the craziest two points any of them had seen, but it was also vintage Geronimo, all bustle, all energy, whatever it takes.
“It was crazy. It was crazy,” Indiana guard Anthony Leal said. thing.
“I remember we were all on the bench saying, did this really happen? It was amazing. It’s the kind of thing you would practice playing HORSE or something like that. I really don’t think he meant to do this, but it works.’
It was shocking that his tip actually went in, but it didn’t surprise anyone at all that Geronimo got to the ball in the first place. He was credited with an offensive rebound and the basket. It was his sixth offensive rebound on a missed free throw this season.
(You can insert your joke here that he gets so many rebounds on missed free throws because Indiana LACK so many free throws. The Hoosiers are dead last in the Big Ten with 68.4%. That’s bad but, unfortunately, that .684 percentage is actually their best in six years.)
Geronimo averages 12 minutes per game, usually the first player off the bench when Race Thompson needs a break at the forefront. Despite the limited playing time, he’s third on the team in rebounds, averaging 3.6 per game. He’s averaging 3.1 points, shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 30 percent (6 for 20) from three. He’s just a 50 percent free throw shooter (17 for 34).
Geronimo hasn’t had years of high-level basketball experience, so he continues to grow in the game. First-year coach Mike Woodson and his staff often preach player development, and Geronimo in is an example. Although he still has a long way to go, he is much better than he was a year ago in first grade.
He gives a lot of credit to his teammates for being great mentors, especially Thompson.
“Race made me think a lot about basketball, and he’s really good at telling how to move and reading a defense, because I didn’t really have that in my bag,” Geronimo said. “But he also helped me control my emotions and stay calm. It also helped a lot because it was something I struggled with when I got here.
“Every time we train and a game happens, he never takes time off or sits down. He’s always ready to compete no matter how he feels and look at that as a underclass student is really inspiring. I’m really learning from that and I want to be like that myself.”
Geronimo is still a work in progress on the perimeter and doesn’t outsource much to the wing guys. He’s an average shooter at best, and his ball handling still has a long way to go.
“What I focus on is more on the ball, because that never seems to help, and just the IQ aspect of learning how to move to guard,” Geronimo said. “When we were shorthanded at Northwestern and I was playing all three, I had trouble maneuvering as an off-ball.
As a guard, I couldn’t be in the paint and it’s confusing, so I had to understand that mentality. This comes from watching movies and studying our threesomes. I worked on ball handling and the mid-range pull-up, which I worked on a lot. Of course, the footwork is different. All my life I’ve kept one through five, so I feel like my footwork is good, but I have to keep working on it and make sure I get it right. ”
Geronimo is also very motivated by his coaches, with the main message being to be able to focus on the things he does well.
“One thing the (Dane) Fife coach always tells me before we play when we stretch is go do things with Geronimo, bounce back, play defense, you know, make plays” , said Geronimo. playtime. I know when I do the things I’m supposed to do, I’ll get through it.”
Doing “Geronimo” things is a good thing. It just scratches the surface too, and it has a high ceiling. Being able to improve his perimeter game is the next big step in his growth, because it would be nice if he could be on the floor with Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis at the same time.
But those perimeter skills aren’t there yet, and there’s a liability there. You even see him on the defensive end, where faster guards are blowing right next to him. That athletic ‘north-south’ explosiveness he has doesn’t quite translate to ‘east-west’ explosiveness as a perimeter defender.
It can, however, change over time, and it will. And then we’ll see some more ”Geronimo stuff”.
Indiana Basketball Related Stories
- PHOTO GALLERY: Our photographers had a great night Thursday capturing plenty of footage from Indiana’s win over Maryland. Take the time to view the full photo gallery. CLICK HERE
- WHAT WOODSON SAID: The Hoosiers’ 5-game losing streak came to an end thanks to a huge effort from point guard Xavier Johnson who tallied 24 points in Indiana’s 74-64 win over the Terrapins. Indiana head coach Mike Woodson spoke to the media after the win. Read his full transcript or just watch the attached video of the entire press conference. CLICK HERE.
- WHAT JOHNSON AND THOMPSON SAID: Indiana senior guard Xavier Johnson led the Hoosiers to victory with 24 points in the 74-64 win over Maryland. Senior Redshirt forward Race Thompson finished second with 19 points and nine rebounds. Read the full transcript of their press conference or just watch the attached video. CLICK HERE.
- JOHNSON’S ALMOST PERFECT NIGHT LOSS STRING: Indiana point guard Xavier Johnson has struggled lately, but he came out of it in spectacular fashion on Thursday night, scoring a season-high 24 points in the 74-64 win over the Hoosiers versus Maryland. CLICK HERE.