Remy Abell of Eastern High School scored 14 points in Indiana's win Monday.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) –- Remy Abell has not missed a shot for the Indiana University basketball team this season. Monday night, during Indiana's 87-61 victory over North Dakota State, Abell averaged nearly a point per minute.
Other than Cody Zeller, Abell was Indiana's most dynamic player – and Zeller is a national player of the year contender. Abell is the guy Tom Crean signed out of Louisville Eastern High School in the same sophomore class with Zeller.
There was one 80-second stretch Monday when Abell made a pair of three-point shots and then converted an acrobatic layup that inspired the fans in Assembly Hall to rise and chant his name:
"REM-MEE A-BELL! REM-MEE, A-BELL!"
But scoring 14 points in 17 minutes was not the most impressive thing Abell did on the day of Indiana's second victory. His five rebounds were also nice, but they also don't top the list.
Consider the way Abell started his Monday: Before 8 a.m. he was waiting outside the office of Marni Mooney, who serves as the academic director of Tom Crean's top-ranked basketball team.
"Remy, what are you doing here?" Mooney asked when she arrived for work.
"Just needed a little extra work to be ready for the week," Abell said.
"What were you going to do if I didn't get here early?" Mooney asked.
"Just go to the study table," Abell said.
"That's Remy Abell," Mooney said. "He's as sweet as any kid on the team. He's always positive. He wants to do well in everything that he does."
If you have studied the way Indiana has played while winning its first two games, you know this: Abell is making a serious push for major minutes with the Hoosiers.
He is not just a guy who is going to play when the starters struggle. Crean considers him one of Indiana's starters, even if he has yet to start a college game. Abell can defend, rebound, pass and handle the basketball. He can change the energy level during the game.
Crean wasn't happy with the energy that several of his players brought to the North Dakota State game, especially defensively, during the first half. Enter Abell. He has a thick, powerful 6-foot-4 body. He is consumed with keeping his man away from the basket. Word among the players is that Abell has the strongest lower body on this team.
"He comes in and impacts the game immediately," said Darrin Horn, who analyzed the game on the Big Ten Network. "He's a winner."
"He got some tough assignments tonight and it carried right over to his offense," Crean said.
And Abell is also becoming a shooter. Shooting was supposed to be the one thing that Abell could not do. It was the reason that several schools balked at recruiting him. It explains why he was headed for Bradley and then got to Indiana on the rebound after Bradley fired its coach in 2011.
His shot will not remind you of Jerry West. Sometimes it appears that Abell cocks the basketball behind his head deeper than the textbook says you should cock it.
The shot is going in. In two games, Abell has played 35 minutes. He has taken seven shots – and made every one, including all five three-pointers. Abell has scored 26 points, missing one of eight free throws.
"Hard work," Abell said. "Teammates pushing me, coaches pushing me. I'm just here to play my role and do my job. Whenever my name is called off the bench, step in and be ready to play and make an impact on offense and defense."
Know this: Last May Abell went home and worked in Louisville with former Eastern High School coach Joe Rogers. Just two guys in the gym dedicated to making certain that Abell could succeed on a team where the competition for playing time will be fierce all season.
It's only two games but Abell looks like Indiana's most improved player, a guy who delivers instant defense – and instant offense. The crowd noticed. And Abell noticed the crowd, pumping his fist wildly after that acrobatic layup.
"This place is always crazy and full of energy," Abell said. "I just want to help it out. I just want to make it more. Why not? … Why not?"