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Top 10 Indiana Hoosier Freshmen seasons

Publish Date:09/03/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Greatest Freshmen seasons in Hoosier history!

This list is mainly from the early to mid-70s until now because Freshmen were not eligible to play before then except with exceptions like a war in the case of Don Schlundt.

10) A.J. Guyton

He became only the second first-year Hoosier to record 400 points, 100 assists and 100 rebounds – joining Isiah, not bad for somebody who was supposed to be a backup to Michael Lewis.

Video: A.J. Guyton Game winnner vs Temple

A.J. Guyton Game winnner vs Temple

9) Alan Henderson

The only guy on this list to compete on a Final Four team, Henderson provided stellar inside support for senior Eric Anderson. Henderson’s 238 rebounds are still an IU freshman record.

Video: Ex-Hoosiers and NBA star Alan Henderson feels blessed

Ex-Hoosiers and NBA star Alan Henderson feels blessed

8) Jay Edwards

Edwards’.536 three-point shooting percentage remains a national freshman record and the third highest of any player in Indiana history. His 36 points and eight threes against Minnesota remain IU freshman single-game records; however, these were deducted due to a 30-day midseason academic suspension. Edwards was one of the greatest shooters in Hoosier history.

Video: Jay Edwards buzzer beater

Jay Edwards buzzer beater

7) Steve Alford

Alford’s.592 shooting percentage wasn’t based on a small sample size either. He made 289 shots, including many crucial ones, when faced with tough games like against top-ranked North Carolina in the Sweet 16, where he scorched them for 27 points, while Dan Dakich held Michael Jordan to 14 points. I am kidding of course as fouling out is what held Jordan to 14 points; Alford drug the Hoosiers across the finish line.

Video: Big Ten Icons: Steve Alford 1

Big Ten Icons: Steve Alford 1

6) Mike Woodson

Woodson’s Hoosier team struggled in Woodson’s first year, finishing 14-13 after losing the core of its roster that lost one game in the previous two seasons. Nonetheless, it wasn’t Woodson’s fault; with 18.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG,.521 field-goal percentage, and.792 free-throw percentage for a freshman, Woodson had one of IU history’s strongest all-around seasons ever – particularly impressive for someone so young!

Video: Mike Woodson's Passion for Hoosier Basketball | Indiana Basketball | The Journey

Mike Woodson’s Passion for Hoosier Basketball | Indiana Basketball | The Journey

5) Don Schlundt

The Korean War created a rare opportunity for freshmen to play one season, and 6’9″ Schlundt took advantage of it. Nicknamed “Ox,” the big man scored 17.1 points per game and crushed fifth-ranked Kansas State for 28 points in only his sixth collegiate game – never looking back.

Rebounds weren’t tracked until Schlundt’s final season, but given his height advantage over most opponents it’s likely he could have easily averaged close to a double-double.


4) Eric Gordon

Gordon scored 669 points, the 10th-highest total in Indiana University history. No rookie in IU history has come close to matching Gordon’s feat – no rookie has come within 100 points of it since.

Gordon’s 20.9 PPG put in rare air as a Hoosier, averaging more than 20 in cream and crimson during a single season. After spending considerable time at the foul line, Gordon drained 231 free throws – good enough for third place all-time in Hoosier history behind only two seasons from Don Schlundt.

The point is, Gordon scored a lot of points. While volume played an important role in his impressive totals (Gordon shot 43 percent from the floor), all of Gordon’s efforts could not save his team from turmoil after Kelvin Sampson’s departure.

Video: Eric Gordon HIGHLIGHTS 2007 -2008 SEASON

Eric Gordon HIGHLIGHTS 2007 -2008 SEASON

3) Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller gave Indiana the much-needed inside presence, the missing piece on a team that boasted plenty of perimeter threats. He set the pace from day one, scoring  27 minutes points against Stony Brook to lead his teammates’ charge.

Zeller finished second among rookies in points, rebounds, steals, field goals, free throws, and attempted. Furthermore, his.623 field-goal percentage was the second best recorded at Indiana University — surpassing only Matt Nover’s.628 from the 1992-93 season.

Tom Crean’s third IU team only managed 27 wins, one less than his initial three teams combined. Few IU teams have made such an astonishing improvement from year to year as this one. Zeller served as the catalyst on and off the court, leading offense and defense improvements that few other IU players have seen.

Video: Cody Zeller 2012-2013 Highlights

Cody Zeller 2012-2013 Highlights

2) Calbert Cheany

Many firsts mark Calbert Cheaney’s Indiana career.

The Indiana media guide hails him as Bob Knight’s first-ever left-handed player.

He became the first Indiana freshman to start their career opener and scored 20 points.

He finished his career atop the all-time Big Ten scoring list.

As a freshman, Cheaney wasn’t expected to do it all. Coming off an injury that interrupted part of his senior season and joining a class with two McDonald’s All-Americans, he was seen as more of a supporting actor. But Cheaney proved himself more than capable.

Cheaney would average 17.1 points per game, grabbing 4.6 rebounds per night and shoot 57 per cent from the floor; yet his teammates Greg and Pat Graham could only muster up half of Cheaney’s average combined.

Video: Calbert Cheaney Tribute

Calbert Cheaney Tribute

1) Isiah Thomas

Thomas showed his mettle as a freshman when injuries began to decimate the roster. Veteran stars Randy Wittman and Mike Woodson, along with Thomas’ classmate Indiana Mr Basketball Steve Bouchie, suffered early on. Wittman retired before Christmas, while Woodson came back to lead an incredible charge towards the Big Ten title; however, Thomas kept everything running smoothly in between.

Isiah averaged 14.6 points, four rebounds, 5.5 assists and more than two steals per game. His Sophomore season was even better…

Video: Isiah Thomas meets Bobby Knight

Isiah Thomas meets Bobby Knight

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