Most underrated IU player

Falky22

Freshman
Aug 9, 2002
459
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definitely under appreciated. Most young fans don't even know who he is. I remember him blocking an inside shot vs one of the Iowa twin towers (Stokes/Payne?) and he was undersized by 10" but still stuffed it back in his face. Guy could really leave the ground. He hit a couple nice jumpers in the UAB game I referenced.
Jim Thomas was a terrific rebounder and athlete. My favorite Jim Thomas memory was in 1980. I was 10. IU was hosting Kentucky and Jim Thomas elevated above everyone including Kentucky’s big man Mel Turpin and had an authoritative one hand slam off the rebound. And of course Assembly Hall was going nuts! At least that is how a young IU fan saw it through his eyes:)
 

Birnk403

All-American
Nov 17, 2019
5,673
3,272
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Jim Thomas was a terrific rebounder and athlete. My favorite Jim Thomas memory was in 1980. I was 10. IU was hosting Kentucky and Jim Thomas elevated above everyone including Kentucky’s big man Mel Turpin and had an authoritative one hand slam off the rebound. And of course Assembly Hall was going nuts! At least that is how a young IU fan saw it through his eyes:)
Great game, tough end. Ray Lee missed a big dunk that proved costly.
 
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Jfats

Junior
Dec 13, 2008
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It’s been cited above, but I always think Joe Hillman. He came in averaging 40+ a game in HS; took on a role far different, but became one of the toughest and most undersized player ever. If you ever tried to coach a kid whose reply was “I’m too small to play basketball,” plug in a video of Hillman to show how it’s done.
 
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ericrossiu

Freshman
Dec 1, 2009
414
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It’s been cited above, but I always think Joe Hillman. He came in averaging 40+ a game in HS; took on a role far different, but became one of the toughest and most undersized player ever. If you ever tried to coach a kid whose reply was “I’m too small to play basketball,” plug in a video of Hillman to show how it’s don
It’s been cited above, but I always think Joe Hillman. He came in averaging 40+ a game in HS; took on a role far different, but became one of the toughest and most undersized player ever. If you ever tried to coach a kid whose reply was “I’m too small to play basketball,” plug in a video of Hillman to show how it’s done.
6’3 200lb
Great size for a guard imo
 
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mushroomgod_1

All-American
Apr 9, 2012
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Figured I'd try a new thread about something other than shitty coaches and transfer portals. Curious what people think about this topic...most underrated player over the years.

This popped in my head after watching some of the 81 season NCAA tourney games (UAB for one) and watching Ray Tolbert. I forgot what a freak he was...big, physical, great hops, could run. Saw him pull some serious man-sized rebounds above the rim in heavy traffic in the lane. But what really got me was his ability to hit the 10-12' jumper in the lane or the baseline. He hit several in the UAB game, and I realized that, as good as TJD is as a player, I don't think I've ever seen him do this, even once. Hopefully CMW is showing TJD a looped video of this game.

Tolbert is everything that RMK hoped Andre Patterson would become.

Greg Graham would also get serious consideration. Like Tolbert, Graham played on a stacked team with several studs, including one the greats (Calbert/Isiah) and tends to get less praise as a result.

Dean Garrett
 

iubirdman

Sophomore
Gold Member
Oct 7, 2016
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Bailey, 5th on career scoring list when he graduated, tied for 2nd on the career assist list when he graduated, 6th on career steals list, and oh yea, won more games at IU than any player in history and we still have "fans" that call him a bust!

Oh yea, and 2 Big Ten titles. He had a GREAT career, yet many consider him a bust for some reason. I guess under appreciated may be a better way to phrase that then underrated, but either way, Damon has to be considered for this discussion
 
Last edited:
Mar 14, 2003
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Bailey, 5th on career scoring list when he graduated, tied for 2nd on the career assist list when he graduated, 6th on career steals list, and oh yea, won more games at IU than any player in history and we still have "fans" that call him a bust!
that's because SI and mention of him in SOTB elevated him to Thor/Loki status before he was out of the 8th grade.
 

Crossblock

Junior
Jan 8, 2019
1,405
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I.m going to take an unusual tact and nominate a guy who played on teams that won High School, NCAA, Olympic, and NBA Championships. Quinn Buckner. He was the guy on the Court who ran the Offense, led that stifling Defense, and made everyone He played with better. He was never a great Shooter or great Scorer, and his work got lost behind some of the guys He played with- Steve Green, Wilkerson, Scott May, Kent Benson. There were games where He scored 8 points and was the most valuable Player of the game.

I've always maintained that one of the reasons those teams were so successful was that when Knight needed to convey a message to the team, He could give Buckner an Earful, and Buckner would effectively convey the message to the Team. That way Knight didn't have to dress down 5 guys at once and ruffle feathers.
 

medred

Benchwarmer
Gold Member
Oct 1, 2010
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He would be exceptional today, especially defensively. Forty five years ago, he was almost like having an extra player. And he and Buckner together were unreal on D. Physically, they were incomparable.
Buckner had exceptionally quick hands and Wilkerson had the same, with length and quickness. He played guard with Buckner and jumped center, too. Don't recall his vertical, but it was one of the highest ever at IU.
 

TommyCracker

Hall of Famer
Mar 18, 2004
13,656
10,100
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I agree that Jim Thomas was the most underrated of my lifetime.

We don't win in 81 without him and he went on to have a decent NBA career....but he's never mentioned. I'm not sure he's even in the HOF.

A guy who was a little before my time was Abernathy on the 75 and 76 team. Not sure he gets the credit for how important he was for those teams.

Guy who was even better than I remember was Jay Edwards. Not just his clutch shooting but some of the numbers he put up were crazy and he only played two seasons.

In an interview with Guyton he said he scored right off the bat. In his, first practice he put up 27 against the starters but Knight didn't play him. He kept dominating in practice and Knight finally gave him some run against Notre Dame where he scored something like twelve unanswered points in three minutes....or something to take us to OT....where Knight didn't play him.

When he got into the lineup he broke most single game freshman records.

Jay admitted he needed one more year. Not for his game but to get over an injury and to kick his alcohol addiction that he struggled with back in HS.

Anyway, Edwards might have been underrated.
 

rocketo

All-Big Ten
Feb 23, 2007
4,655
1,645
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Henderson is the only player in school history to finish his career top 5 in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals. Think about that? How many IU fans would consider Henderson a top 5 player in school history? Top 10 even? I don't think many would.
That’s pretty nuts. If he didn’t get hurt, he really could have blossomed. His injury hurt his explosiveness.
 

rocketo

All-Big Ten
Feb 23, 2007
4,655
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Creek's body betrayed him. Over and over.
Big time. He had some serious structural issues with his knees. Too bad. Because had he been built right, he had the potential to be an all time great. And he could have really helped us excel during his time here.
 

Sonap

Benchwarmer
Apr 17, 2011
275
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Eric Anderson (RIP)

I have to tell this story. Senior year of HS, , all ready to go to IU in the fall I am playing against Eric Anderson in the regional final. During warm ups, I check the upper corner of the balcony and Knight is there. About threw up cause at that point I would have given my right nut to play for him. I am giving up 5 inches on Eric. In bounds play under the basket and we are playing a 2-3 zone. Ball swings out and I get posterized by Andersen on an alley oop. We play them tough the rest of the game and lose in the final seconds and almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in State that year. That was my last varsity game and I sat in the locker room and was overcome with emotions. That was it, no more organized basketball for me after that game but I played my heart out against a Anderson and got to do it in front of the coach Knight. It was a great night except for the loss.
 

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