Final Grades: Rob Phinisee Gets a Grade, But Incomplete Seems More Appropriate

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Prior to the start of Indiana's basketball season, it looked like sophomore Rob Phinisee was going to have to carry a huge load at point guard for the Hoosiers. 

There were only four guards on the roster, and the other three — Devonte Green, Al Durham and freshman Armaan Franklin — were much more comfortable off the ball. Guessing that Phinisee would lead the team in minutes played seemed to be a no-brainer.

But when preseason practice started, Phinisee couldn't go. He had a nagging lower abdominal injury that kept him off the court for a month, and when the games actually started, he was on a strict minutes limit.

Because of that, he was really never himself all season. There were a few nice moments late, but nothing that we would have expected 

Let's take a look at Phinisee's season.

By the numbers

  • Games played: 27
  • Games started: 16
  • Minutes per game: 23.6
  • Points per game: 7.3
  • Assists per game: 3.4
  • Rebounds per game: 2.5
  • Field goal percentage: 37.4
  • 3-point percentage: .33.3
  • Free throw percentage: 72.5

Best game

Indiana 66, Ohio State 54 on Jan. 11, 2020: It was Rob Phinisee's first start of the season, and he responded in a huge way. He made his first three three-pointers and was able to play 29 minutes to help Indiana defeat No. 11 Ohio State 66-54. Phinisee had 13 points and seven rebounds.

"It always comes down to guard play and to beat the best, you have to have good guard play," Indiana coach Archie Miller said. "I thought we had very good guard play today. Rob got us going on both ends of the floor, and Devonte played well, too."

Things I liked

At his best, Rob Phinisee is one of the best point guards in the Big Ten. But that abdominal injury slowed him down for too long, and we never saw the best of him. You just can't get that practice time back. So when he did play well, it was just in a more narrow window.

He's still an excellent passer, and he can get to the basket off the bounce. We saw that in short bursts — Ohio State early, Maryland, Iowa and Minnesota late — and he still is an above average perimeter defender. There's no question that on Phinisee's best moments, Indiana was a better team. 

Things I didn't like

Because of the rust factor, Phinisee never really found his shot. He was only 37.4 percent from the field, and he struggled to finish a lot around the rim, or even in knocking down mid-range jumpers.

He's a much better shooter than that, of course, and it was easy to expect more. 

Best video

Indiana coach Archie Miller talks about Indiana sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee being more aggressive later in the season.

Final Grade: B-minus 

I'll be honest, I'd just as soon give him an incomplete because he was never really himself this season. But I also have to be realistic about this too, because he did play in 27 of the 32 games. There certainly was enough of a sample size to evaluate what he did all season.

That shooting percentage really bothers me. He had a similar number as a freshman (36.1 percent) and we really expected that to jump this season. It didn't happen, of course, are there are underlying circumstances. Here's to hoping he's good to go next year and can be a bigger factor, with or without Khristian Lander on the roster. (And yes, they can play together.)

Your thoughts? Please join the conversation in our Community thread.

Related content on Rob Phinisee 

  • HEALTHY YET?: Rob Phinisee is starting to turn the corner for the Hoosiers, and he can make a huge different when he's closer to 100 percent. CLICK HERE
  • FLIPPING THE SWITCH: Adding Rob Phinisee makes a big difference in victory over No. 11-ranked Ohio State. CLICK HERE

Complete list of  'Final Grades' stories

  • PART 1, DEVONTE GREEN: Breaking down the season for Indiana senior guard and co-captain Devonte Green. CLICK HERE
  • PART 2, DE'RON DAVIS: Indiana's senior big man battled injuries throughout his career, but stayed healthy in 2020 and played a small role. CLICK HERE
  • PART 3, AL DURHAM: The junior guard leads Indiana in three-point shooting percentage and carries a big load. CLICK HERE
  • PART 4, JUSTIN SMITH: The junior forward was second in scoring and rebounding for the Hoosiers, but there seemed to be something missing. CLICK HERE
  • PART 5, JOEY BRUNK: The transfer from Butler added a lot to the Indiana roster, both on and off the court. CLICK HERE
  • PART 6, ROB PHINISEE: The sophomore point guard never was the same after a lengthy abdominal injury. CLICK HERE
  • PART 7, JEROME HUNTER: It was great to see Jerome Hunter back out on the floor after missing entire freshman season. CLICK HERE
  • PART 8, RACE THOMPSON: The redshirt sophomore was productive off the bench, and had a happy homecoming in Minnesota. CLICK HERE
  • PART 9, DAMEZI ANDERSON: We take a deep dive into what happened to Damezi Anderson, whose offensive game completely disappeared. CLICK HERE
  • PART 10: TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: The standout freshman was Indiana's best player all season, and it wasn't even close. CLICK HERE
  • PART 11: ARMAAN FRANKLIN: Some magical moments back home in Indianapolis this season for Indiana's freshman guard. CLICK HERE
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