Upperclassmen move quickly to bring along IU’s freshmen

When the class of 2009 arrived in Bloomington in June of that year, the program was coming off a 6-25 season that included a 1-17 record in the Big Ten. Player driven leadership had yet to manifest itself.

Move the clock forward three years as Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls continue their preparation for their final season in Bloomington and it’s clear the upperclassmen are working to build relationships and expectations for the four newest members of the program.

The 2009 group had no one to pull them aside and serve as role models during their adjustment period to college. In fact, Indiana’s hopes for success during the 2009-2010 season, Tom Crean’s second year, were largely pinned on the freshman leading the way.

That isn’t the case for Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin and Yogi Ferrell, who have dropped the “Movement” moniker and are now just Hoosiers.

“We tried something new with the freshmen, kind of grabbing a freshman and taking them along, kind of getting them up to speed, to where we are,” Elston said Thursday. “Me and Jordan, we never really had that. We would call coach (Tim) Buck(ley) and ask to go shoot. Now that we have Cook (Hall), and now that we have guys that want to come in here on their own time and actually get better, it just makes you feel good about where this program’s come.”

Ferrell, the point guard from Park Tudor, is paired with Hulls and Cody Zeller. Hollowell, who has drawn comparisons to Watford because of his length and laid back demeanor at times, is paired with Remy Abell and Will Sheehey. Mosquera-Perea, a native of Colombia, is paired with Austin Etherington and Watford. And Jurkin, a 7-foot center originally from the Sudan, is paired with Elston and Jeff Howard.

“They’ve just told me to stay on top of everything,” Ferrell said. “Academics and on the court, too. They’ve told us that Coach (Crean) was going to push us to see how tough we were. So we just had to fight through it and I felt like as a whole we all did that pretty well.”

“They text me everyday and ask me what I’m doing,” Jurkin added. “They want me to keep in touch with them, stay on top of school work and be on time.”

Jurkin’s time with Elston has been perhaps the most unique of the group. The senior from Tipton used Cook Hall to deploy an unorthodox strategy to help Jurkin catch the ball more consistently: playing catch with a baseball.

“In the beginning, he didn’t really have the best hands, really had trouble catching the ball, and when he did, whether it be the sweat or he was just so worried about finishing and trying to impress people, he would lose the ball,” Elston said of Jurkin. “So what I would do, I’d bring him in here and I just got to know him. I asked him questions, how it was like at home, while we were just throwing a baseball in Cook. I grabbed a ball, Jordan’s glove and mitt and a ball, and we just threw pitch and catch. I don’t really think he really realized I was trying to help him with his hands.”

Ultimately, taking a hands on approach to mentorship and bringing the freshman is something the senior class hopes will be passed along as the program continues to grow.

“It’s gonna be huge,” Hulls said. “Because they’ll have something to gauge what they can do the next years following, so they can teach the new freshmen coming in — how practices are supposed to be run, how you’re supposed to prepare for practice, what you’re supposed to eat, how you dress, what you wear, everything like that. They’re just learning, and they may not know right now, but those are little things that’ll help them out in the future.”

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I love this team!

  • http://www.vccm.net/ iubase

    Hulls is very impressive. He articulates the culture that is needed to succeed….tough kid and on his way to being a coach himself….otherwise linking Yogi with Cody is smart. Yogi will elevate everyone’s game – esp Z dat!

  • http://www.facebook.com/geoff.chenoweth Geoff Chenoweth

    Can’t wait to see the level of competition between the players at practice. Everyone knows we loved our bench guys last year, but think about the formidable opponents Cody, Wat, VO now get to go up against this year.

    Great to know that when our starters come off the court, we’ll still have size, strength and speed out there. Teams without a solid bench are going to get run off the court.

  • GaHoosier

    Me too!

  • HoosierTrav

    Me three!!! These guys may go down as one of the more important teams in Hoosier history. They are creating the kind of culture that attracts the right type of kids and creates a lasting standard of winning on a national level. Be afraid America! The Hoosiers are back and aren’t going ANYWHERE for a LONNNGGG TIME! “WE ARE BACK!” (Phil’s voice from the hangover)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.holt.37 Mark Holt

    Wonder who does this type of mentoring/leading the younger players at Kentucky?

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.wojcik Eric Wojcik

    Hulls will remain in basketball for a long time as a coach, if he wants to.

  • Kris

    I’m super impressed with Elston using baseball to help Jurkin learn how to catch better. The creativity of the idea, the concern for his fellow player, the leadership he’s displaying. Derek is a kid who through it all has kept a great attitude, even with minimal playing time during stretches. Love the kid and his game. Hope he has his best season yet at IU.

  • INAMEDMYPETAFTERJORDYHULLS

    Jordy and Derek were Mr. Basketball and Runner-Up that committed to their in-state team in the midst of a 6-25 season. I love Cody’s decision to come to IU, but these two guys, along with Watford led the resurgence. I am a proud Hoosier as long as we continue to work hard and do it the right way.

  • http://twitter.com/erikholm Erik Holm

    Are you deeming this mentoring irrelevant since a team with no mentoring just won the title…& had a couple great teams the 2 years prior? If so, I disagree.

    I hope you are taking a shot at UK instead. Well, actually I’m sure you are. I hate UK/Cal too. Just sayin’

  • DarkSouth

    I know some places use tennis balls but never heard of baseball either. Baseball’s probably better because, unlike a tennis ball, if you don’t give when you catch it sting in the palm will remind you.

  • http://twitter.com/ImAnEggDude Tiber Septim

    Heyyy you’re Anders from Workaholics brother…You definitely need to get the big handsome a guest starring spot on the show

  • jacobdetroy

    I disagree. UK last year had several players that were returning from a final four run. Mainly, Terrance Jones, Doron Lamb, and Darrius Miller, whom was a senior. Without those three I don’t believe they win the championship. I say this because experience matters – mentoring matters. Kentucky had it last year – we have a much much better example of it this year.

  • SCHoosier

    dont need any..they move on quickly..or most of them do.

  • marcusgresham

    “Hollowell, who has drawn comparisons to Watford because of his…laid back demeanor at times, is paired with… Will Sheehey,” who is anything but laid back. Good move.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I was thinking that too. Why isn’t he with Watford, they’re so similar? Ooohhh…

  • RemyWilling and Abell

    Hollowell has always reminded me of Cheaney , and Yogi has reminded me of Isiah Thomas .

  • IUMIKE1

    Absolutely no one

    Signed Mr. Obvious

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    Bruce Grimm JR was runner-up to Jordy. Wasn’t a threat for Mr. Basketball,but after a 40 point performance in the class 3 A championship game and a record 8 three pointers turned some heads. Then down by 3 points with 3 seconds to go,Grimm took the inbound pass at half court with being tripled covered. He drained the 3 to tie the game. Game went to overtime,and Rochester ended losing in double overtime. I graduated from Rochester and was at the game.

  • furman hoosier

    All the players at Kentucky are younger players

  • Hack Wilson

    Just another example of the additions CTC continues to make to the overall program. I hope other recruits read this, as it speaks loudly to the experience at IU. I wonder why Olidipo and Creek aren’t in the role as mentors…or at least they aren’t mentioned. Both guys are 1st class, from a fan and player perspective.

  • marcusgresham

    I thought about that and wondered if Creek wasn’t sent to focus on rehabbing.
    Maybe there’s just too much Vic for one person!

  • craig

    omg indiana basketball is amazing.

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