We could be forgiven for not knowing a lot about the 2013-14 Indiana basketball roster.
After all, half the group is new to college hoops and the rest toiled behind noted spotlight magnets like Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo.
Still, there are interesting tidbits about next season's Hoosiers that may not have gotten the run they deserve. Let's shed some light on a few.
With six freshmen on the roster, we know the Hoosiers will be young next season.
Surprisingly, though, there are Big Ten teams even younger as presently constituted.
IU will have only three upperclassmen on next season's squad: the pictured Will Sheehey, graduate transfer Evan Gordon and seldom-used wing Austin Etherington.
Penn State and Purdue, both of which have seen multiple defections this offseason, also have three juniors and seniors on their respective rosters. There is a team, however, that has them all beat, and it's one that will likely still be a top-20 team to begin the campaign.
Michigan will be reliant on sophomores to score a large percentage of its points, and the experience those players got last season will be invaluable. After all, senior big men Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford are the only scholarship upperclassmen on the roster as of today.
Indiana will be able to point to inexperience if a head-scratching loss occurs, but they'll be far from alone in the Big Ten.
Don't let the grin fool you, Will Sheehey is a bad man. Whether it's opposing players, opposing fans or even his own teammates, Sheehey will lower the hammer when he feels it's warranted.
A New York Times profile of point guard Yogi Ferrell contained this nugget:
Early last summer, a couple of weeks after enrolling at Indiana, Ferrell nearly came to blows with a teammate, Will Sheehey, a junior, after Sheehey fouled him hard. Later Sheehey said he roughed Ferrell up for a reason.
“I knew he could be a very special player,” Sheehey said. “If he played to a certain level of toughness, he’d be a fantastic player.”
This season's freshmen will be wise to take notice and come prepared for contact when they take it to the rack on Sheehey in practice. The Hoosier enforcer would have been a perfect instrument of discipline in Bob Knight's era, and it appears Tom Crean has no issue with him hazing the youngsters.
Anything to get acclimated to the banging of the Big Ten.
College freshmen often have to adapt to homesickness when they leave Mom and Dad's nest to attend a faraway school. Stanford Robinson has been attending faraway schools for so long that the distance between his family home in Landover, Md., and Bloomington is a mere stone's throw.
Never mind his cross-country odyssey to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., just outside Las Vegas. That's a trip that many players have made in the past. Only incoming Washington freshman Nigel Williams-Goss is able to claim a full four-year stay at Findlay.
This Indianapolis Star feature contained an even more eyebrow-raising travel note in its sidebar.
Robinson would often endure a two-hour trip to get to school in the morning when he attended Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Va. From Landover, he would take the Washington, D.C. metro train into Virginia, then a bus ride to Paul VI.
Between dealing with a lengthy daily tour of the DMV region and the college-style existence of a Findlay Prep student, Robinson may be better prepared than most for the rigors of university life.
Tom Crean needs to thank Boo Williams for having a sense of humor.
The AAU legend and uncle of incoming Hoosier freshman Troy Williams was a power forward for Saint Joseph's in the late 1970s and early '80s. His career ended in the 1981 Mideast Regional final, where the Hawks lost to...Indiana. At Assembly Hall, no less.
So, when Tom Crean came to recruit Williams the younger sporting a lapel pin that celebrated the Hoosiers' 1981 national title, Boo could have gotten cranky.
Newport News Daily Press (Va.) columnist David Teel told the story of the fateful lapel pin when Troy Williams committed to the Hoosiers last October. Knowing what we know now, every time IU fans celebrate Troy making a highlight-reel play, they need to also add in some thanks to Uncle Boo for not being a prickly old curmudgeon.
Not to keep hammering it home, but a lot of production left Bloomington. It may be illuminating, though, to take note of exactly how much.
After all of the graduations, NBA draft defections and transfers, the table below illustrates how much of last season's production actually returns. Walk-ons like Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer are included, incoming transfer Evan Gordon is not.
All numbers are via StatSheet.com:
|Category||Ret. Total||Ret. %|
The vast majority of these numbers were amassed by the two men pictured, Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey. Opportunity knocks for every player who'll pull on an Indiana jersey this fall. Whether any of the newcomers can seize the chance will determine the Hoosiers' fortune come March.