With Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, and promising 5-star student Malik Reneau back on board, it won’t be easy to get to the minutes in the Indiana front zone.
Young striker Jordan Geronimo patiently waited for his chance. His minutes increased from 8.1 per competition as a freshman in 2020-21 to 12.6 last season.
But an extra year of eligibility means Thompson could return, and his decision to do so has many wondering if Jeronimo will look for an opportunity elsewhere.
Verb – on the ocean.
Geronimo announced his decision to return to the program in late April, following Thompson’s announcement and Renault’s commitment. His choice to stay at Bloomington was motivated by the opportunity he sees playing in a junior attacking position, a place at 6-foot-6 he will need to be drawn to sooner rather than later anyway if he is to play at the next level.
“I’m working on my guarding skills,” Geronimo said on IU’s popular Crimson Cast. “I’m trying to be three this year so I can expand my role as a player. This is off season, I’m working on improving my grip, reading the positions I’ll be in from the three. Of course my shot is in the jump (also).”
While his athletic talents are undeniable, Jeronimo has struggled at times when he has the ball off the basket. He often made poor passes and had a turnover of 21.3%, the highest among the attackers on the team. Geronimo also had the lowest assist rate on the team.
“I think it’s just about making the decision and being able to handle the ball better,” Thompson said of Jeronimo last week. “He’s an elite defender. Everyone knows that. That’s not a problem. I think it’s about being able to handle the ball and make good decisions.
“He’s been doing really well in practice, getting better every day and it’s fun to watch from being someone who didn’t really handle the ball to being able to make a move, have a defender, fake pump, one dribble one draw and being able to do that in one summer is impressive.” I hope he continues to build on that and can help us a lot.”
Jeronimo says he’s starting in a good place coming out of his sophomore campaign. He had 10 points in 13 minutes in a late season game in Minnesota, averaged 12 points and 6.5 rebounds in two NCAA championship games, Jeronimo had two blocks and was on the floor as part of an elite team defensive effort as IU rallied against Michigan in the Big Ten.
“My confidence was at an all-time high, being able to help my teammates win however I could,” Jeronimo said of his late seasons increase. “Being able to finish the season knowing I helped my team go further is a great feeling. I am just trying to use that to motivate me to keep improving.”
To get ready to move to the ocean, Jeronimo watches the movie.
“I watch a lot of movies with (assistant) coach Kenya Hunter, watching the practices we’ve had and learning about things I used to do and shouldn’t, and just learn about the new role as a three-man.”
Since he was in high school, Jeronimo has loved watching one player in particular evolve into a circumferential player to compliment his size and athletic life.
“When I was in high school, I looked at De’Andre Hunter who graduated from UVA (Virginia) and plays for the Atlanta Hawks. I just love his game,” Jeronimo said. Something I could do if I put myself in this situation. I love his game very much.”
Hunter led Virginia to the 2019 National Championship before leaving for the NBA.
Geronimo isn’t ready to make national title predictions for the 2022-2023 Hoosiers, but he can see it firsthand – the level of talent is different this year.
“We play a lot of games with this team, and just seeing us play, I feel like the potential we have with this team is crazy,” Jeronimo said.
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