Indiana Basketball: 5 Biggest Wild Cards for Hoosiers' 2013-14 Season

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2013

Indiana Basketball: 5 Biggest Wild Cards for Hoosiers' 2013-14 Season

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    As Indiana's basketball team prepares for the upcoming season, it's no mystery who the team's key players are. The Hoosiers are relying on Will Sheehey, Yogi Ferrell and freshman phenom Noah Vonleh to lead.

    The role players, however, are yet to be determined. This roster is full of players who are unproven and unknown.

    This slideshow will predict who the biggest wild cards are for the Hoosiers. 

5. Troy Williams

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    Troy Williams is a member of the Hoosiers' high-profile freshmen class. He is ranked No. 54 in ESPN's 100, but he has been relatively under the radar. All of the talk has been about fellow freshman Noah Vonleh.

    Williams is a wild card because he is athletic enough to start, but he isn't a quality jump-shooter. It's still unknown whether he can develop into a quality shooter.

    In the college game, he won't be able to beat defenders off the dribble and score all of his points at the rim. He must have a reliable jumper in his arsenal in order to take his game to the next level.

    The verdict is still out on this high-flying freshman. Can his athleticism alone catapult him into Tom Crean's rotation, or will his developing jump shot hold him back? 


4. Peter Jurkin

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    Sophomore center Peter Jurkin is one of the biggest mysteries (literally) on the Hoosiers' roster. The 7-footer only played in three games last season because of a nine-game suspension and foot injury

    Besides the IU coaching staff, no one has really seen the big man in action. Most are still trying to figure out what he's truly capable of. 

    Jurkin makes this list because of his size. Coaches can't teach height. This 7-footer could prove to be a valuable asset for a team that just lost an All-American 7-footer in Cody Zeller. 

    The Hoosiers are thin in the post. The only other viable options are Hanner Mosquera-Perea (6'8") and freshman Luke Fischer (6'9"). Indiana could be exposed down low and will need a bigger body to defend the rim and rebound. 

    Who knows? Jurkin might be the man for the job. 

3. Jonny Marlin

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    For some, this might be the first time seeing something about Jonny Marlin. He is on the team. Trust me.

    Marlin transferred to Indiana last season from IPFW. Because of NCAA transfer rules, he wasn't eligible to play. 

    Much like Peter Jurkin, he hasn't seen much action, but he could this season considering the roster. Indiana's only other true point guard is Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell is obviously slated as the starter, but who plays behind him is still up in the air.

    Freshman Stanford Robinson and senior Evan Gordon are a possibility, but they are natural shooting guards. If they can't take care of the basketball like a point guard should, Marlin will have to be considered for the job. 

    He has shown he can play at the college level. During his one season at IPFW, Marlin put up decent numbers. He averaged 4.3 points and 3.5 assists per game and shot 35.6 percent from the three-point line. 

    While those numbers are respectable, he wasn't facing Big Ten opponents. Marlin might be a completely different player against the elevated level of competition.

    At this point, Marlin is completely unpredictable and is definitely a wild card for the Hoosiers. 

2. Collin Hartman

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    Collin Hartman, the lights-out shooter from Indianapolis, is a member of the Hoosiers' incoming freshmen class. Unlike Noah Vonleh, Luke Fischer and Troy Williams, Hartman wasn't highly ranked by the various scouting services.

    ESPN's scouting report (subscription required) says he's not a great athlete and will struggle when having to defend perimeter players. Those attributes haven't stopped head coach Tom Crean from playing guys like him before. 

    Hartman may not be the best athlete, but neither were Matt Roth and Jordan Hulls. Roth was a deadly shot-maker off the bench, and Hulls was in the starting lineup for most of his career. 

    What Hartman does have over his predecessors is size. He is 6'5", which is big compared to Roth (6'3") and Hulls (6'0"). 

    Hartman is definitely someone who could surprise fans and opposing teams this season. If the Hoosiers need a spark on offense, Crean may call the freshman's number. 

1. Austin Etherington

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    Junior Austin Etherington is the ultimate wild card on IU's roster. Etherington missed nearly his entire sophomore season because of a gruesome knee injury. He's returning, but how good will he be?

    While the injury was definitely a setback, there is a silver lining for Etherington. This year's team is very inexperienced. He is one of the few Hoosiers who isn't a freshman or sophomore. Tom Crean will need his leadership and experience on the court if the younger players fail to produce.

    So, there is a good chance Etherington could play meaningful minutes this season.

    Despite this, he's still a wild card because it's unknown whether he will return to his pre-injury form. Only time will tell if Etherington will be a valuable contributor or stuck on the sidelines.