Competition at a high level in Indiana’s fourth practice

Photo creditIndianaMBB on Twitter

Inside the Hall had a chance to watch Indiana’s fourth practice of the season earlier today and here are our observations and what stood out:

· The competition and attitude was high level: Tom Crean has talked some in the preseason about IU’s depth affecting the level of competition and it certainly showed today. This was our second time watching a practice under Crean and the competition level combined with the spirit of the players was fun to watch. The bench could be a huge asset for Indiana given the amount of talent on the roster  and how Crean has talked about wanting to play from a pace perspective. But ultimately how deep this group will be determined by the amount of drop off there is when going to the bench.

· Christian Watford, who is still getting his wind back after missing some time in the offseason with a foot issue, looked more aggressive around the basket. In one sequence, he blocked Victor Oladipo’s shot on a drive. And on a couple of occasions, Watford finished plays with dunks, something he’s rarely done over the previous three seasons.

· Rebounding and defense are two clear areas of emphasis for Indiana going into the season. From a rebounding perspective, sending four men to the glass is something Crean stressed the importance of as well as positioning when a shot goes up. One of the more interesting drills was a two-on-two situation where a manager’s shot went up and it was a free-for-all to see who could get the ball and end up finishing a putback. Will Sheehey and Hanner Mosquera-Perea battled throughout the drill, a matchup Crean later said he set up before practice. The grit of Sheehey going against the pure power and strength of Mosquera-Perea will no doubt result in improvement for both players.

· Mosquera-Perea was very aggressive attacking the glass for rebounds and like Watford, he’s still getting his conditioning where it needs to be after missing some time with a foot injury. But this much is clear: There are few guys with the physique and pure athleticism that Mosquera-Perea possesses. Crean said after practice that he’s very pleased with how Mosquera-Perea has progressed since returning two weeks ago.

· The mentoring of the freshman by the upperclassmen in the preseason has carried over into practice. When a mistake was made by the newcomers, the returning players were quick to step up and help coach them through it. Sheehey in particular was very vocal throughout the practice.

· Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls played together and did so effectively. Much has been made on whether the two can play together from a defensive standpoint, but offensively they complement each other so well. Ferrell’s ability to find his teammates in the right spots coupled with Hulls’ knack for finding openings out on the perimeter will be a tough combination to contend with.

· Oladipo was putting the vocal leadership he talked about at the media challenge into play from start to finish of the practice. Defensively, he caused arguably the most havoc of anyone with his ball pressure and he looked much more confident hitting shots from the midrange.

· Maurice Creek looked much more fluid than I expected after coming back from his third major surgery in 22 months. Creek participated in every drill, including the rebounding drills with significant contact. He still may be a step slow from where he once was, but he looks like a different player than he did when he returned for 18 games a sophomore. Creek also shot the ball very well from the perimeter and also got into the lane a couple of times and scored against length, which is encouraging.

· Cody Zeller said at the media challenge that he felt like he could move very well at 240 pounds and the added weight and strength has only helped his game. He’s more explosive around the basket and he was battling relentlessly on the glass. On one sequence, Zeller dove out of bounds attempting to save a loose ball near the sideline.

· Peter Jurkin wore a mask to protect his recently broken nose, but gave Zeller problems a few times in the paint with his length. Jeremy Hollowell, was also effective at times shooting from the perimeter and his length shows promise for the type of defender he can become.

· Danny Ferry, General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks, was there watching.

  • Hoosier_DC

    Oh my, Hanner is going to be a beast one day. I’m so glad we have such a quality group of guys

  • Hoosier_DC

    Watford dunking? Whaaat??

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Nice!!

  • Kelin Blab

    Always thought Jordy and Yogi could play together. Defense is a team sport and those two can work well together on both ends.

    The word length seems to be showing up in practice with Hanner, PJ, and Hollowell.

  • HoosierPat

    It is not as shocking as when VJIII dunked last season.

  • HoosierPat

    It will be interesting to see how Yogi and Jordy can play together on defense. Playing both of them will put Indiana at a size disadvantage, so they need to be strong on D.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.coghlan.50 Matt Coghlan

    I’m so pumped to see him in the dunk contest against Vic!!

  • SS8941

    Jordy’s ball-handling and turnover problems should be minimized because Yogi and Remy ought to be handling it much more than he does, but Jordy’s on-ball defense has got to improve for him not to be a liability at times. I am really looking forward to seeing how Mo Creek has progressed as well. I think we tend to forget after the wild ride of last season that Mo was a bona fide star and things could’ve turned out a whole lot better in 09-10 and 10-11 had he not been injured. It’s great to see him fully back and hopefully he can play a big role in IU’s success this season.

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

    I think this combo, along with Big Handsome are lethal. But they’ve been stressing defense and the combo of VO and Yogi could be the best defensive backcourt in the B1G.

    Defense is why Perea is going to get way more minutes this year than anyone is talking about. I’ve seen people listing him as 10th on the depth chart. Just don’t see it. Later in the season, I see him 2nd off the bench coming in with either Sheehey or Hulls.

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

    I think this combo, along with Big Handsome are lethal. But they’ve been stressing defense and the combo of VO and Yogi could be the best defensive backcourt in the B1G.

    Defense is why Perea is going to get way more minutes this year than anyone is talking about. I’ve seen people listing him as 10th on the depth chart. Just don’t see it. Later in the season, I see him 2nd off the bench coming in with either Sheehey or Hulls.

  • BigD

    Who is Big Handsome?

  • IUMIKE1

    I know, I know. I hope his play this year makes me have to take back the comments I have made in the past about his so so hops.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Really glad to hear that Creek is progressing so well. I was concerned he would not be able to contribute a lot this year.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Will Sheehey must be an absolute pest to practice against and I mean that in the best way possible. Victor could certainly be viewed in the same way but the note about Will battling Hanner stood out to me. I think Crean wants Will to get under Hanner’s skin and really push him to use his strength, athleticism, length (all the physical tools).

  • marcusgresham

    Zeller

  • marcusgresham

    If he is a step slower that just means he’s the trailer on the break. I’m OK with that option on a kick out!

  • HoosierTrav

    How Dare you!

  • HoosierTrav

    How Dare you!

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I’m curious, what kinds of plays were these that Watford finished with dunks? Was it drives and nobody stopped him from getting to the rim in traffic, or was he under the basket and it was kind of a standing dunk thing? Feel like theres a big difference there in representative athleticism.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    x factors,jurkin& hollowell….+ DEFENSE!!

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    x factors,jurkin& hollowell….+ DEFENSE!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    He dunked against Kentucky in the sweet 16.

  • southport65

    We must also remember how difficult others teams will have matching up against those two when we are on offense. The gain we get in ball
    handling, assists, steals, speed, 3 point shooting, and team chemistry out weigh what we may lose in defense. if this team commits to team defense the way coach wants them too gaps in our defense will cover up quickly. We are going to be one hard team to defend against for other teams.

  • SCHoosier

    Glad to hear the Hanner critique..because on the ESPN practice I tried to watch him as much as possible. He bobbled several passes and was shooting bricks from the outside on the pass and shoot drill. Iknow this kid’s strength will be low and on the boards..but the bad hands did bother me. Also looked like a war going on..Jurkin with a nose bandage..Cody’s finger with a big wrap and Remy’s entire arm under wrap. tough practices!!

  • SCHoosier

    Glad to hear the Hanner critique..because on the ESPN practice I tried to watch him as much as possible. He bobbled several passes and was shooting bricks from the outside on the pass and shoot drill. Iknow this kid’s strength will be low and on the boards..but the bad hands did bother me. Also looked like a war going on..Jurkin with a nose bandage..Cody’s finger with a big wrap and Remy’s entire arm under wrap. tough practices!!

  • Geoff_85

    LOL

  • SS8941

    What is laughable about my comment? I’m just interested to know.

  • SS8941

    What is laughable about my comment? I’m just interested to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.bergmann2 Ken Bergmann

    I have to agree. Two point guards. One with the ability to drive and dish, or to to take it to the hole. The other a perimeter passer who can shoot the 3 like Alford. If I’m an opposing coach, I’m praying that one or the other comes down with a bad case of the flu when we have to play them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.bergmann2 Ken Bergmann

    Two handed no less!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.bergmann2 Ken Bergmann

    I’d pay good money to see that!!!

  • Geoff_85

    Jordan Hulls’ turnover problems. His ast/to ratio isn’t incredible, but it isn’t bad, especially when you consider he played out of position for 3 years, but you’ve been all over the kid since I’ve been on ITH and I guess I was really laughing about the fact that I will see these type of comments coming from you all season. While it’s understandable that you’re just calling it the way you see, or whatever cliche thing should be said there, it just seems like you never point out anything he does that’s good, which is a lot.

  • SS8941

    I understand that Jordy has been playing out of position. Did you miss the part where I said his turnovers should be minimized because he shouldn’t be handling the ball as much this season? The positives that he brings are so obvious (shooting, leadership) that I really see no need to point them out. Everyone seems to ignore that his defense was nothing short of terrible last year, and that’s why I continually have pointed it out. I really like Jordan but I think it’s necessary to point out the negatives when no one else does.

  • HoosierPat

    very mature.

  • ErniePyle

    I wonder who Danny Ferry was looking at on the team…It’s not Cody; Atlanta will have a pick somewhere in 12-20 range. Maybe some early scouting on Yogi or Hanner. Or CWat, J smoove is in the last year of his contract…Victor?…man we’re gonna be good.

  • Geoff_85

    Are you kidding me? People criticized his defense all last season. I would argue that it was criticized so much that it became as obvious as the positive things you mentioned that he does on the court. The question of how Hulls and Ferrell will do in the backcourt defensively was brought up during the broadcast of Indiana’s first practice on ESPN, and it wasn’t even Dakich that brought it up. No, I didn’t miss the part where you said that his turnovers would be minimized, but I’m not quite sure why his turnovers were even brought up considering the fact that he didn’t even average the highest t/o per game last year despite handling the ball a lot more than anyone else. I’ve got no interest in arguing with you though. No matter how obvious the positives are that Hulls brings to the court, when you only point out turnovers and bad defense, it makes you look like a hater.

  • VerdellJonesIV

    I believe he simply has too small of hands. That’s why he shoots so well but often loses the ball when going up with one hand for the dunk. They’re just barely big enough to palm it so he sometimes loses it when going up.

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