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CJ Gunn looking to take a big leap in year two with Indiana basketball

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The 2022-23 season was up-and-down for now sophomore guard CJ Gunn. He played sparingly as a freshman and when he did play, the 6-foot-6 guard struggled to do the thing he does best, shoot the three-ball.

Gunn averaged 7.5 minutes in 20 games last season and his struggles shooting the ball limited his time on the court. Gunn shot 30.9 percent (17-of-55) from the field and 8.3 percent (2-of-24) from three.

While his freshman shooting splits might say otherwise, CJ Gunn has the ability to shoot the ball at a high level and in year two he’s looking to prove that.

“A lot of people go through their rough patches their freshman year… I can’t let it define me,” Gunn said about his struggles during Indiana basketball’s media day. “… I know the type of player I am and I know what I can do to benefit this team.”

Gunn has changed his approach and lifestyle heading into the season as he focuses on “living like a pro”.

“Just being in the gym more consistently… and staying disciplined,” Gunn said about his approach. “[I am] just living like a pro. I’ve been trying to elevate my mind, like read more books on how to stay more resilient or more poised.”

A part of the change has been reading more books. He believes his new approach off the court will help him on the court.

“I feel like that definitely helps with being on the floor,” Gunn said about reading books. “Just stay strong mentally and be prepared for anything.”

Gunn is looking to be more disciplined and patient when he’s on the floor for Indiana basketball in year two after he struggled to adjust to the speed of the college game in year one.

“Last year I rushed a lot of the shots I took. [I was] more worried about scoring when I did get in, than taking the right shots. I feel like being more poised and patient with the ball, that’s going to help me tremendously.”

While he will look to be more patient with his shot selection in year two, his confidence in himself as a shooter has not changed.

“I’m not really worried about being the shooter. I’m just worried about knocking down the shots I do take,” Gunn said about his ability to shoot. “Obviously, I think I can shoot the mess out of the ball. If I see a shot I like, I’m gonna take it.”

Watch: Full Ride Network previews Indiana basketball 2023-24 season

While he might be more patient, he won’t hesitate to shoot and no one believes in his shooting ability more than Gunn himself.

Most of the attention surrounding Gunn has been about his offensive struggles. But in his first year, he was able to make an impact on the defensive end for Mike Woodson. He used his length well last year and emphasized the importance of being a two-way player for Indiana.

“I think I’m stronger on the defensive end and over the season I’ve worked on increasing my body weight, trying to get to 200 pounds,” Gunn said. “On that side of the ball, I’m definitely going to be a two-way player because I believe defense leads to offense.”

Gunn made an effort to gain weight over the offseason and he has reached his goal weight of 200 pounds. He was listed at 194-pounds in his first season with the Hoosiers. Gunn’s defensive ability will give him plenty of chances on the floor for Mike Woodson as he looks to establish himself as a consistent member of the rotation.

With Indiana basketball losing four starters from a year ago, there will be plenty of minutes to fill. One of the starters who left was the team’s best three-point shooter, Miller Kopp. Kopp led the team in both makes and attempts, while finishing second in percentage. With no clear replacement for Kopp’s catch and shoot ability, Gunn could have the opportunity to fill that role.

Woodson has noticed the work that Gunn has put in this offseason and he is hoping Gunn takes that leap forward in year two.

“The beauty about this summer, a lot of these guys, they stuck around and they put in the work, especially CJ and Kaleb Banks,” Woodson said during Indiana basketball media day. “I’m expecting more out of them. They’re not freshmen anymore. I need more. We need it as a ball club.”

SEE ALSO: Kel’el Ware, Payton Sparks, Anthony Walker discuss decision to transfer to Indiana basketball

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated, part of the Full Ride Network, on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTubeto stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for HoosierIllustrated.com and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.

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