Indiana shooting guard Maurice Creek was emerging as one of the best freshmen in the country when he fractured his kneecap in late December and ended his season after just 12 games. Creek had already built quite the resume, however, including a 31-point outing against Kentucky and strong showings against Maryland and Mississippi. Now, as Indiana prepares for its third rebuilding season, Creek must quickly regain his old form and produce for the Hoosiers.
At 6'5 with a lanky and wiry frame, Creek does not readily pass the eye test for an NBA shooting guard, looking like he needs to continue to get stronger to handle more physical defenders. Until his frame fills out, he will remain just an above-average athlete as well, as he does not boast particularly impressive quickness or explosiveness. Despite his limitations, however, he is an incredibly smart basketball player and almost always plays both within his abilities and around his limitations.
Creek's physical profile raises quite a few questions about how he will fare on the offensive end nightly in the Big 10, not to mention the NBA. On tape, however, Creek adapted quickly to the competition, scoring 25.5 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while shooting 60.9% from inside of the arc and 44.8% from outside. At this stage, he is an outstanding catch-and-shoot player, almost always squaring his body to the basket while boasting an incredibly quick release on his jump shot. His shooting motion is a bit unorthodox, but his percentages speak for themselves and in just 12 games, Creek established himself as one of the most efficient shooters in our entire database.
Though the sample size was small, Creek showed some solid progress scoring off of the dribble, as well. Though his first step is not particularly impressive, and his ball-handling skills are still improvable, he plays angles better than many his age and, at times, he did a good job of getting to the line by drawing contact in the lane. Next season, he must continue to utilize his basketball IQ to find opportunities at the rim or at the foul line. Similarly, he shows potential scoring from mid-range, where, despite his lack of countermoves, he can utilize his excellent scoring instincts to create space for himself and his teammates.
It is also worth mentioning that Creek is a solid passer and, at times, is the lead ball handler on the offensive end, further examples of his versatility and how much potential he has at the collegiate level. While his lack of ideal athleticism may limit him to a degree in the NBA, Creek should only get better at Indiana, where he can continue to build on his skill-set and find ways to involve his teammates on both ends of the floor.
On defense, Creek showed promise by playing very intelligently, including running over screens, moving his feet instead of his hands, and talking to his teammates. Unfortunately, against more athletic competition such as Kentucky, he noticeably struggled due to his average lateral quickness and lack of strength. This season, he must work on maintaining his fundamentals against better athletes, in addition to maintaining the intensity and effort that scouts have respected since he was in high school.
Creek is still a ways away from reaching his full athletic potential at this point, but he is already one of the Big Ten conference's top scorers. He is also one of the conference's most intelligent and skilled players. Assuming that he is as far along in the rehabilitation process as reports indicate, Creek should be able to pick up where he left off last season and continue to develop on both ends of the floor. While he played just 12 games last season, Creek is clearly a top prospect in the Big 10 conference, and with early-season trials against Kentucky, New Mexico, Boston College, and Northern Iowa, he should have no trouble proving himself to scouts even before the rigorous Big 10 conference schedule commences.