Indiana Basketball: 4 Hoosiers Who Could Have a Breakout Season in 2013-14
The Indiana Hoosiers lost four starters from last year's squad that advanced to the Sweet 16. Point guard Yogi Ferrell is the only returning starter, and he will take on a greater role—offensively and as a leader.
Senior forward Will Sheehey will likely start for IU, and Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon should be a regular in the rotation as well. Head coach Tom Crean and Indiana fans know what kind of production those three players will have this year based on past seasons.
However, it remains to be seen what the other Hoosiers will contribute in 2013-14 season.
Jeremy Hollowell, Austin Etherington, Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin played fewer than 10 minutes per game last season. They could be the next players in line to fill the void left by the seven men who left in the offseason.
The six freshmen are question marks for IU as well. Noah Vonleh and Luke Fischer could be immediate starters and major contributors like Ferrell was last season and Cody Zeller in 2011-12. The other four could be one of the first players off the bench, or they could struggle to play significant minutes during conference play.
Since the freshmen are new to the college game, they are not included in this list of Hoosiers who could have a breakout season.
Continue reading to find out which Hoosiers could have a breakout season in the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell was ranked the 42nd best prospect in the 2012 class by ESPN. In his freshman campaign, Hollowell averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game. He shot 40 percent from the field and 23 percent from behind the three-point line.
IU lost nearly 75 percent of its scoring and almost 69 percent of its rebounding from last season. Hollowell could be one of Indiana's leaders in both categories. At 6'8" and 217 pounds, he can play either forward position for the Hoosiers this season.
Inside the Hall's Justin Albers predicts that Hollowell will start at the 3 in IU's first game this season.
— Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) August 3, 2013
Hollowell scored 26 points in his first two collegiate games but didn't score more than seven points in a game after that.
He improved defensively as the season progressed and became more comfortable on the court. He was fourth on the team in blocks, and the three players with more swats played significantly more minutes than he did.
If his shot improves, he could develop into a similar player as Christian Watford—a forward who can play in the paint and knock down outside jumpers.
In the 20 games that he played in last season, he showed his potential to be a big-time dunker, rebounder and shot-blocker. He never scored more than six points in a single game, but he does not need to be a major scorer for the Hoosiers to be successful.
His best game came against Florida Atlantic, when he grabbed 10 rebounds and scored four points in 14 minutes.
The 6'8" forward is on the highest level of lifting on the team, according to Inside the Hall's Justin Albers.
Je'Ney Jackson said IU players lift in levels. All freshmen are Level 1 guys. He said Will Sheehey and Hanner Perea are Level 4 guys. #iubb
— Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) July 31, 2013
Tom Crean trusted Mosquera-Perea to play against Syracuse, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Butler, which means that the coach's confidence in the forward will continue to grow in the future.
Junior Austin Etherington only played seven games last season due to a knee injury he suffered against Central Connecticut State. He played 6.7 minutes per game and averaged 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds.
With the Hoosiers needing to replace lots of points and rebounds from last year's team, Etherington could prove to be a key role player off the bench.
His athleticism is reportedly close to where it was before his injury, according to Justin Albers.
Jackson said Austin Etherington's vertical leap is back to within a half inch of where it was before his injury. Is 8 lbs heavier now. #iubb— Justin Albers (@Justin_Albers) July 31, 2013
Etherington, who was a 3-star recruit per ESPN coming out of high school, has been in the IU program longer than most players on the roster. He could finally live up to his potential in his junior year.
Between his suspension for receiving improper benefits in high school and a foot injury, Peter Jurkin barely played last season. The 7-footer played 2.3 minutes per game in three games. His only recorded statistic for the entire season was one missed shot.
A lot of "ifs" surround the sophomore's play this season. He will have to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire season. Once he's healthy, he will have to improve his ability to catch and dribble so that he isn't a major liability on the court.
The best-case scenario for his career is to be a good rim protector.
ESPN.com analyst Dave Telep told Inside the Hall's Alex Bozich:
Jurkin would be well-served to develop into the role of Baye Keita has at Syracuse, essentially serving as 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.
Realistically, Jurkin could play five to 10 minutes per game this season off the bench. His biggest contributions would be blocking and altering shots, as well as rebounding.
Considering that he is not expected to contribute much on offense, a breakout season for Jurkin could consist of being in IU's rotation and providing a strong defensive presence.