Indiana Basketball: Reviewing the Hoosiers' Depth at Each Position
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The Indiana Hoosiers' roster will look completely different this season than it did in the 2012-13 season. IU lost four starters and its four leading scorers in the offseason. Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller were selected in the NBA draft. Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston graduated and they will be playing professionally overseas. Remy Abell transferred to Xavier and Maurice Creek transferred to George Washington.
The Hoosiers now look to undergo a mini-rebuild without losing too much of the progress that they made over the course of the past two seasons.
Tom Crean still has sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell and senior forward Will Sheehey to lead the Hoosiers this season. Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon should be an immediate contributor and four of IU's incoming freshmen are in ESPN's top 100 players of the 2013 class.
Here is a breakdown of Indiana's depth at each position this season.
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Point guard is the only position where Indiana returns its starter from last season. Sophomore Yogi Ferrell averaged 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 2012-13. He will be a greater contributor on offense after starting every game last season and because he is IU's second-leading returning scorer.
Ferrell showed several times last season that he is capable of carrying the scoring load for the Hoosiers. He scored 19 points against Iowa. In the second round of the NCAA tournament, he scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists against James Madison.
Incoming freshman Stanford Robinson will probably be the backup point guard for IU. According to Inside the Hall, Tom Crean asked Findlay Prep coach Todd Simon to prepare Robinson to play the point in college.
That was our focus, especially the second half of the year with him, was getting him ready for that. There were a couple of scrimmages where he played 32 minutes straight at the 1 and didn’t come off the ball. We tried to get him to understand that at that position, wins and losses are on you, the pressure’s on you to get everybody in right spots. He came a long way at it.
Robinson is 6'4" and will give Crean a much taller point guard option to run the offense when Ferrell needs a breather or gets in foul trouble. He is ranked 99th in the 2013 class by ESPN.
Senior transfer Evan Gordon and walk-on Jonny Marlin are two more players who could potentially play point guard this season. Gordon is a combo guard who averaged 10 points per game at Arizona State last season.
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After Remy Abell and Maurice Creek transferred in the offseason, IU's backcourt got much thinner. The addition of Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon helped fill the void. Gordon averaged 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season. He shot 39 percent from the field.
Another option to play shooting guard is senior Will Sheehey even though his natural position is small forward. At 6'7", Sheehey would bring much needed height to IU's backcourt since Yogi Ferrell is only six feet tall. Sheehey shot nearly 35 percent from three-point range as a junior and more than 38 percent as a sophomore, so he is a legitimate candidate to start at the two this season.
Freshman Stanford Robinson could potentially play point guard, shooting guard and even some time at small forward for IU. Gordon and Sheehey have more experience and they are proven scorers but Robinson could be the Hoosiers' third option to play the two.
If one of the teams many small forwards, such as Austin Etherington or Troy Williams, can prove to be a consistent shooter, then they could potentially fill in from time to time at shooting guard.
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Indiana has more depth at small forward than at any other position. Senior Will Sheehey, sophomore Jeremy Hollowell, junior Austin Etherington, freshman Collin Hartman, freshman Devin Davis Jr. and freshman Troy Williams can all play the 3.
Sheehey and Hollowell are the leading candidates to play small forward. Sheehey averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. He shot more than 48 percent from the field and nearly 35 percent from behind the arc. Plus, the senior has more experience than any other player on Indiana's roster.
Hollowell could potentially be the Hoosiers' most improved player from last season to this season. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in 2012-13. The sophomore started off hot at the beginning of last season, when he scored 26 points on 8-for-17 shooting in his first two games. Hollowell was a minor contributor during conference play and the postseason but he could potentially start for IU this season. Inside the Hall's Justin Albers predicted that the Indianapolis native will start IU's first game at small forward.
Etherington only played seven games for the Hoosiers last season due to a fractured patella that he suffered against Central Connecticut State. He averaged nearly two points and two rebounds per game during that stretch.
Williams was ranked the 54th best recruit in the 2013 class by ESPN. He should be one of IU's first three or four players off the bench this season.
Tom Crean will have a lot of flexibility in who plays at small forward in 2013-14.
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Indiana has two very athletic options for power forward this season. Sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea and freshman Noah Vonleh will likely dominate the playing time at the 4 for the Hoosiers.
Mosquera-Perea is listed as 6'8" and 225 pounds. The Colombian forward and teammate Peter Jurkin had to sit out the first nine games of last season for receiving improper benefits in high school. He played limited minutes when he was eligible to return to the court. Mosquera-Perea averaged 0.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game.
The power forward did show flashes of his potential in the 20 games he played in the 2012-13 season. He grabbed 10 rebounds in 14 minutes against Florida Atlantic. In his next game against Jacksonville, Mosquera-Perea scored six points in 12 minutes.
Vonleh, who was ranked 13th overall in the 2013 class by ESPN, increased his weight to 241 pounds this offseason, according to Peegs.com's Jeff Rabjohns. Rabjohns also reported that Vonleh recently touched 12 feet on a vertical leap test.
Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh is up to 241 lbs, has touched 12 feet, IU strength coach Je'nay Jackson said.
— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) July 31, 2013
Vonleh is reportedly in "ridiculous" shape and will likely start at the four for IU.
Je'Ney Jackson on the kind of shape Noah Vonleh is in for a freshman: "It's ridiculous. I mean, it's stupid." #iubb
— Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) July 31, 2013
Indiana's other option at power forward is walk-on senior Jeff Howard.
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Center could very well be Indiana's weakest position this season. The Hoosiers lost All-American Cody Zeller to the NBA draft and 6'9" senior Derek Elston, who could play the 4 and 5 as needed, graduated.
The only returning center is sophomore Peter Jurkin, who was incredibly limited last season. The seven-footer received a nine-game suspension at the start of the season for receiving improper benefits in high school.
Jurkin only played seven minutes in three total games last season. According to Inside the Hall, Jurkin suffered an "undisclosed foot injury" and he still has a lot of work to do before he is a regular in IU's rotation.
Jurkin is more of a mystery because he was rarely on the court and his foot problems have now claimed two of his last three seasons of basketball. ESPN.com analyst Dave Telep once told me that Jurkin would be well-served to develop into the role of....a rim protector first and foremost. Currently he’s a long way from that, so getting healthy and getting into the gym loom large for Jurkin during the offseason.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, incoming freshman Luke Fischer, who is 6'9" and could play power forward or center, will give IU some much needed depth at the 5. Fischer was ranked 34th overall in ESPN's final rankings of the 2013 recruiting class.
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein tweeted in the offseason that he expects Fischer to start at center for IU this season.
Early prediction on Indiana starting five -- Yogi Ferrell, Evan Gordon, Will Sheehey, Noah Vonleh, Luke Fischer.....
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 15, 2013
Tom Crean could also choose to go small and have freshman Noah Vonleh or sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea play the five so that IU has more options for its frontcourt.