It's time to start looking toward next year Hoosiers fans.
Indiana's season ended in bitter disappointment as it lost, 61-50, to the Syracuse Orange. The Hoosiers just so happened to save its worst basketball of the season for the NCAA tournament. They never really looked like a top team and shot poorly from three-point range, which was one of the Hoosiers' biggest strengths during the regular season.
Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo both had performances to forget, which has led to some calling for the pair to remain in school for at least another season in order to improve before hitting the NBA. It's an unrealistic expectation because one or both players could go in the top 10 and will look to take advantage of a perceived weak draft class.
Instead, Hoosiers fans need to focus on the players who will definitely be there next season. Replacing Oladipo and Zeller will be hard, but there's enough talent to believe Indiana can remain among the elite of the Big Ten conference again.
These three players in particular will play the biggest roles.
Yogi Ferrell was Indiana's floor general this season. He averaged just 7.6 points a game but dished out 4.1 assists per game, which led the team. His skill-set is perfect for the high-tempo attack that Crean uses. Ferrell can get up and down the floor very quickly.
There are few things Ferrell can't do for a point guard. He's a solid defender and can penetrate and get to the basket. Ferrell's also a pretty good shooter.
Decision-making was a bit of an issue for him when he came into Indiana. With the experience he gained playing this year, Ferrell should be able to take off next season.
Jeremy Hollowell didn't have a huge impact during his freshman year in Bloomington. He only played 9.7 minutes a game and averaged 2.8 points. Regardless, he's still a very good player and should step up in the absence of Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford next season.
Hollowell was a very good scorer in high school. He was able to attack the basket very well off the dribble. Should defenses try and sag off him, though, Hollowell is also a strong shooter from long range.
The Hoosiers are watching a lot of points leave after this season. Players like Hollowell, who are capably offensively, will need to help pick up the slack during the 2013-14 campaign.
Noah Vonleh is the highest-rated recruit of what looks like another strong recruiting class for Crean. He's a fantastic athlete for his size (6'9", 220 lbs.). Vonleh can get up and down the court extremely quickly.
One of the issues with Vonleh coming in is his scoring. He has some trouble hitting mid-range shots. Aside from that, though, he's got nothing that's a major concern.
Vonleh can be force on the defensive end. Opposing players will have a hard time dealing with his length. That's great for Indiana considering the hole Oladipo will leave defensively. That length also helps Vonleh on the boards.
He's got the potential to become a huge star at Indiana.
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