Indiana Basketball: Projecting the Hoosiers' Starting Lineup Next Season
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Last year’s preseason No. 1 team, the Indiana Hoosiers, lost four starters and seven players total following their Sweet 16 run in March. Since the end of the 2012-13 season, IU’s roster has been completely revamped, and the Hoosiers have already started summer workouts in preparation for the upcoming season.
IU has a lot of production to replace from last year’s squad.
Indiana lost guard Victor Oladipo and center Cody Zeller to the NBA draft. Shooting guard Jordan Hulls as well as forwards Derek Elston and Christian Watford graduated and will play basketball professionally. Guards Maurice Creek and Remy Abell transferred in the offseason in search of more playing time.
The Hoosiers have reloaded with the fourth-best recruiting class in the country, according to ESPN. IU also added senior transfer Evan Gordon, the younger brother of former Hoosier Eric Gordon. Indiana Coach Tom Crean tweeted that Gordon has a lot to contribute to IU:
We are really happy about Evan Gordon joining IU. He brings an understanding of how to play and how to win. He has maturity, focus and skill— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) May 19, 2013
There are two locks for IU’s roster next season—sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell and senior forward Will Sheehey—but the remaining spots are up for grabs.
Incoming freshmen Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, Luke Fischer and Stanford Robinson are in contention for a starting role. Sophomores Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea have the best chances of being starters among the returning players.
Key Bench Players
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Indiana used only two different starting lineups for the entire season, and one of them was used just once. Next season could be much different since IU has several viable options at shooting guard, small forward and power forward.
There are several Hoosiers who are capable of working their way into starting roles but are more likely to come off the bench and lead IU's second unit.
IU has a plethora of small forwards between Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson. Hollowell was ranked 42nd in the 2012 recruiting class by ESPN. Williams is 54th and Robinson is 99th in the network's latest rankings.
IU has a number of highly touted recruits at the 3. Unless Coach Crean decides to play multiple small forwards in the starting lineup, Sheehey will start and the other three will be among IU's first players off the bench.
Hollowell played at least 13 minutes in eight of IU's first nine games last season and averaged more than six points per game during that stretch. However, the Indianapolis native struggled to play consistent minutes during Indiana's Big Ten schedule. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season. Given the number of scorers that IU lost in the offseason, Hollowell will be expected to help fill the scoring and rebounding void.
Williams is a 6'7", 190-pound product of Oak Hill Academy. According to Scout, his strengths are athleticism, versatility and his attack mode:
Williams is a very athletic player with a non-stop motor. He can score going to the rim and with his bounce above the rim. Also he is so athletic and has very long arms which allows him to be a lock down defender on the defensive end. Williams needs to get better shooting the basketball, but the tools are there for him to be an elite wing.
Williams has been described as a great athlete but a raw basketball player by Inside the Hall, which means that he could benefit from coming off the bench.
At 6'4", fellow freshman Stanford Robinson is a few inches shorter than Williams, which could be a disadvantage for Robinson as he competes with his taller teammates for playing time. Yogi Ferrell is 6'0" and Evan Gordon is 6'1", which means that it is unlikely Robinson would play alongside them because of the lack of height on the court for the Hoosiers.
According to Indiana assistant coach Kenny Johnson, IU likes Robinson because he is a "winner":
Mosquera-Perea never got the chance to get his feet under him last season because of a nine-game suspension at the start of the season. Due to the suspension, Mosquera-Perea missed most of IU's nonconference schedule, which delayed his development. With another year under his belt, the 6'8" Colombian forward will be a key member of the Hoosiers' frontcourt next season.
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As a true freshman, Yogi Ferrell started all 36 of Indiana's games last season. While playing alongside four teammates who had scored more than 1,000 career points, he was IU's main facilitator. Ferrell averaged 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in the 2012-13 season.
The point guard scored in double figures 12 times in his freshman campaign. His best overall performance came in the second round of the NCAA tournament against James Madison when he scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists.
His freshman season earned him a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team, which was voted on by the conference's coaches.
After shooting 40 percent overall and 30 percent from behind the arc in his debut season, the point guard has room to improve offensively. Ferrell gained valuable experience this offseason when he made the United States World University Games team this summer, and his growth curve should continue upward next season.
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The 2013-14 Indiana basketball team will be very young. There will be six freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and two seniors on scholarship. Evan Gordon's experience will make him an important member of next year's team.
Gordon played for Liberty in the 2010-11 season before transferring to Arizona State for the 2012-13 season. He averaged 10 points, three rebounds and two assists per game for the Sun Devils. He shot 39 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range last season.
Gordon has proved for multiple seasons that he can help carry his team in scoring. In an interview with Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall, Gordon said that he sees himself as a combo guard who can play with Ferrell:
...they needed guards so I’m another guard that can score, can shoot and can pass. I think just playing on the perimeter and being a little older than the rest of the guys is also going to help me in the leadership factor on the team. Just playing a primary scoring role and being a leader I think is going to be my main focus in what we’re looking to do next year.
Tom Crean tweeted that Gordon will greatly help Indiana this season:
Evan Gordon is really going to help Indiana. He can really get better and wants to. He is tough, determined, strong and understands the game— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) July 4, 2013
Gordon's leadership, experience and offensive prowess makes him the top candidate to start at shooting guard for the Hoosiers next season.
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Will Sheehey was essentially IU's sixth starter last season. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game in 2012-13. He shot nearly 49 percent from the field and could do a little bit of everything.
Sheehey is the only senior Hoosier who has spent his entire collegiate career at IU. He has had a number of stellar games while donning the cream and crimson, including scoring 22 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting performance against in-state rival Purdue and hitting the game-winner against VCU in the third round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
The 6'7" forward from Florida has been glorified as one of the nation's best bench players for the past two years, and now he is getting the opportunity to be one of IU's best starters.
Similarly to Ferrell, Sheehey made the U.S. roster for the World University Games. He scored a team-high 20 points in a victory against Finland.
In an interview with Justin Albers of Inside the Hall, Sheehey said that he has improved this summer:
I think just mentally I’ve become a better player over the summer. I’ve learned a lot this summer, not only in the Colorado experience and the Russia experience, but also here, being the oldest guy and learning the nuances.
As a veteran who has been through the good, bad and ugly of IU basketball, Sheehey will bring both experience and skill to the Hoosiers' starting lineup.
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Noah Vonleh was ranked 13th in the final 2013 ESPN 100 player rankings. Indiana hasn't had a recruit rated this highly since Eric Gordon in 2007, who was ranked second in his class by ESPN.
Vonleh hasn't even turned 18 and is still filling out his body. Since arriving in Bloomington, Ind. for summer workouts, Vonleh has added 20 pounds to his 6'9.75" frame to reach nearly 245 pounds.
Noah Vonleh said he's gained 20 pounds since he got here May 29. #iubb— Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) July 16, 2013
According to the ESPN NBA Draft Tracker, his defense, rebounding and size make him elite. Vonleh's work ethic is an intangible that will make him even better.
247Sports' Zach Osterman tweeted that IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson said that Vonleh would move a cot into Indiana's practice facility, Cook Hall, if he could:
Kenny Johnson on Noah Vonleh's work ethic: "I truly believe if he could move a cot into the building, right next door, he probably would."— ZachOsterman (@ZachOsterman) July 9, 2013
Vonleh is a potential lottery pick in next year's NBA draft, and it should show throughout the season with his play on the court.
Luke Fischer was ranked 34th in his class by ESPN.
The Indiana Hoosiers are officially in the post-Cody Zeller era. Luckily for IU, another top center prospect is headed to Bloomington, Ind. Luke Fischer of Germantown, Wis. was ranked 34th in the 2013 recruiting class by ESPN.
I've seen future IU C Luke Fischer play a lot, in HS & AAU. Not at all surprised ESPN bumped him way up to No. 34 in its rankings. #iubb— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) May 1, 2013
The 6'11" center averaged 21.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a senior, according to Inside the Hall. Not only did Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball produce individually, but he led his team to even greater success. Germantown won 56 consecutive games and two state championships in the process.
Fischer is best suited to start at center compared to the rest of IU's roster. Sophomore Peter Jurkin has been limited due to injuries, and no other Hoosier play qualifies as a true center. Expect Fischer to start at the 5-spot for IU next season.