Indiana Basketball: 5 Story Lines to Monitor During Hoosiers' Offseason
For Indiana University basketball, it has already been an eventful offseason.
Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo declared for the NBA draft. Remy Abell and Maurice Creek transferred. Six freshmen are getting ready to join the program.
With all of the change surrounding the Hoosiers, the team faces questions as it prepares for the 2013-14 season. This slideshow will discuss five stories to watch as the team gets deeper and deeper into the offseason.
Three players need to greatly improve in order for IU to have success next season: Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin.
Hollowell needs to become the type of prolific scorer he was in high school (averaging nearly 24 points per game), as he was not aggressive enough on offense for the Hoosiers.
That has to change.
The other two players become important because IU’s low post depth is suffering without. Cody Zeller (8.1 RPG) Christian Watford (6.3 RPG) and Derek Elston.
Mosquera-Perea is an athletic 6'8" power forward, while Jurkin stands at 7'0". Both certainly have the size to compete.
The Hoosiers will need both players to step up, but will they take the offseason seriously?
The verdict won't become clear until next fall.
As it looks right now, the starting five has three openings. Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey will occupy the backcourt. The frontcourt is where the gaps need to be filled.
For the two forward positions, incoming freshmen Troy Williams, Noah Vonleh and sophomore Jeremy Hollowell will battle it out. For the task of replacing Cody Zeller, it comes down to sophomores Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin and new man on campus Luke Fischer.
These position battles between newcomers and players that have spent a year in the program should define Indiana's offseason.
How Will Tom Crean Adjust the Offense?
For the past two seasons, Cody Zeller has been the face of the team. IU got a nice surprise this year when Victor Oladipo elevated his game to All-American levels. Not only were these two Indiana's leading scorers, but they were also its most efficient players (player efficiency rating of 29.8 for Zeller and 28.9 for Oladipo), per sports-reference.com.
Both won't suit up for the Hoosiers ever again.
Tom Crean must figure out who is going to replace the lost production. Zeller and Oladipo brought stability. When the offense was struggling, at least one of the two could be counted on to right the ship.
Crean will have to configure the offense to the players he has. This presents several questions.
Who will become the feature player? Can Will Sheehey make an offensive leap like Oladipo did this season? Will the incoming freshmen be able to score in the rugged Big Ten?
These questions probably keep Crean up at night, but lucky for Indiana, he is a good coach and has plenty of time to develop a new game plan. It will just be interesting to see what his new offensive strategy will be and what players it will include.
Who's After Yogi Ferrell?
The biggest hole in the Hoosiers' roster right now is at point guard. Remy Abell backed up Yogi Ferrell, who transferred at the end of the season.
Now they are light at the position, and unfortunately, Ferrell cannot play the whole game. Someone has to be able to give him a break.
It appears Tom Crean will have two options next season.
Jonny Marlin is a natural point guard that couldn’t play last season because he transferred from IPFW. He was decent there, averaging 3.5 points and 3.5 assists per game. The question surrounding him is, will he be ready for the rigors of the Big Ten?
Seeing how Crean will find help for Ferrell will be interesting to watch this offseason.
Three-pointers are an integral part of IU's offense. Tom Crean wants his team to push the pace and get out in transition. The speed of the Indiana's attack catches defenses off-balance, and when IU's shooters find spacing on the fast break, they get open looks from deep.
Indiana's two best three-point shooters thrived from this style of play. The problem is Jordan Hulls (career 44.1 percent from three) and Christian Watford (career 42.4 percent from three) are no longer on the team.
Next year, where will these points come from?
Will Sheehey, Yogi Ferrell and others will have to become better three-point shooters. Those two only shot 34.6 and 30.3 percent from three last season, respectively.
It will be interesting to see if Crean implores current players to improve their outside shooting, or if he changes his offensive strategy.