Indiana Basketball: Top Storylines to Follow in Hoosiers' 2014 Offseason

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2014

Indiana head coach Tom Crean walks off the court after an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Indianapolis. Illinois won 64-54. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

After a subpar 2013-14 season, the Indiana Hoosiers need a great offseason in order to rebound. The roster has many holes head coach Tom Crean needs to fill, and the young talent that played this year must get substantially better.

While the Hoosiers attempt to turn things around, here are the top storylines surrounding their offseason. 


Will a Big Man Emerge?

As we all know, Noah Vonleh will no longer suit up for Indiana. He's off to the NBA. In an attempt to replace him, Crean went after Temple transfer Anthony Lee but came up short. Lee decided Ohio State was the place to spend his final college season.

So, in the aftermath, Crean has three possible replacements at his disposal in Devin Davis, Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. All three are relatively unproven and still developing, and Crean better hope one of the three can step in and fill the void left by Vonleh.


More on the Way to Bloomington?

To say the Hoosiers have open roster spots would be an understatement. After the graduations (Will Sheehey and Jeff Howard), transfers (Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell and Jonny Marlin) and early departures (Vonleh), there is plenty of cream and crimson uniforms to go around.

In an effort to rebuild the roster, Crean is on the recruiting trail. There are offers out to Josh Cunningham and Yante Maten. Cunningham, a 6'8" forward, is considering Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma and South Carolina, in addition to Indiana. He is expected to announce his decision on April 9.

Maten is also a 6'8" forward, and besides Indiana, he is deciding between Colorado, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, TCU and Utah. Unfortunately for IU, the Michigan native is supposedly heavily leaning toward Tom Izzo and the MSU Spartans. 

Finally, Virginia Tech's Trevor Thompson is leaving the program. The Indianapolis native is deciding between Indiana, Purdue, Butler and Ohio State. At 6'11", Thompson would be a major addition for the Hoosiers.

Obviously landing all three players would greatly improve IU's roster, but at this point, even getting just one would be encouraging.


How Will Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. Coexist?

Yogi Ferrell will have a new backcourt companion when James Blackmon Jr. arrives on campus. Their relationship will be integral to IU's success.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13:  Yogi Ferrell #11 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball  in the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 13, 2014 in Indianapol
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This season, Ferrell was Indiana's leading scorer. The offense may have run through Vonleh, but for the most part, Ferrell had the ball in his hands. He showed he could score in bunches, and his offensive skills kept Indiana competitive.

Blackmon Jr. is a scoring machine (33.1 points per game as a high school senior) who could be Indiana's best offensive weapon since Eric Gordon. He can score in a multitude of ways and is especially deadly from beyond the arc, as demonstrated by his winning of the McDonald's All-American Three-Point Contest. 

So, how will the two mesh? Will Ferrell be comfortable giving up some of his scoring responsibilities to make way for Blackmon Jr.?

Ferrell should welcome Blackmon Jr.'s presence with open arms. This season, so much of the load was on Ferrell's shoulders that it had to drain him mentally and physically.

Having Blackmon Jr. by his side should be a welcomed addition, and in theory, make things easier for him, as defenses will have to respect Blackmon Jr.'s abilities. 

*All recruiting information from