2012-2013 Player Profile: Peter Jurkin

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Peter Jurkin.

On Aug. 9 of 2010 at adidas Nations in Chicago, Indiana’s 2012 recruiting class officially started to be assembled. On that evening, Peter Jurkin, a 7-foot center from the Sudan who would soon begin his junior season at United Faith Christian Academy in North Carolina, gave a verbal pledge to Tom Crean and the Hoosiers.

Jurkin’s commitment was the first of five recruits Indiana would go on to sign in Nov. of 2011. At the time of his decision, Jurkin was largely viewed nationally as a very good defensive big man with an offensive game still developing. But after he missed the end of junior season of high school and his final summer on the AAU circuit with a stress fracture, many wondered what type of impact he could make at the next level.

The decision to take his time in returning from the injury was undoubtedly the right one for Jurkin as he bounced back with a terrific senior season. He averaged 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds for former NBA player Muggsy Bogues at UFCA and enters his freshman season in Bloomington with a lot of potential and room for growth.

For starters, Jurkin’s wingspan makes him an intriguing defensive option. Unlike two recent 7-footers in Tijan Jobe and Bawa Muniru, Jurkin won’t need nearly as much time to adjust to playing at the speed the college game demands. He’ll also be afforded the opportunity to play against a future lottery pick in Cody Zeller in practice every day, which should provide valuable experience for the future. At close to 230 pounds, Jurkin runs the floor well and his defensive instincts are very good. In Monday’s practice, Jurkin was very active in challenging and altering some of Zeller’s shots, which is a positive sign.

Offensively, Jurkin is still very much a work in progress, but has plenty of time to improve. Senior Derek Elston praised Jurkin as one of the hardest workers on the team over the summer and talked at the media challenge about the use of playing catch with a baseball to help him improve his hands. Going back to his AAU days, Jurkin is more than capable of finishing opportunities around the basket, but developing a couple of post moves will help make him more well rounded.

Bottom line: Given Indiana’s depth, Jurkin’s role as a freshman will likely be a backup who will be counted on at times to be a solid rebounder and defender. As minimal of a role as that may sound like, it could actually be pivotal as Tom Crean has stressed both of those areas as keys areas for his team. Jurkin is currently wearing a mask to protect a broken nose he suffered in a recent workout, but isn’t expected to miss any significant time.

Quotable: “When he first came in, no one knew a lot about him. I knew he was huge, and I knew he could dunk the ball. That was about it. Getting to know Peter, he’s just one of the hardest workers out here, out of the freshman class definitely. He calls me and says let’s go in, let’s work on our footwork, let’s work on catching the ball. Let’s do the easy things to get him up to speed. And that’s one thing I love about him, a guy who called me and wanted me to bring him in to get better.” – Elston on Jurkin at the media challenge

PreviouslyDerek ElstonChristian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Maurice CreekVictor Oladipo, Will Sheehey, Remy AbellCody Zeller, Austin Etherington, Yogi Ferrell

  • Hack Wilson

    Peter seems like such a team player, and a good kid. I can’t wait to see him develop. His length alone gives him a presence most teams never get in college basketball. Top that off with the ability to read an offense/defense, and he will be incredible. I remember looking at video of him when he committed…he couldn’t have been 190 pounds, soaking wet. Now, at 230! I have to imagine he’ll hit 245-250 by his senior year. Can you imagine…a 250 pound, 7’1″ center, with an 8′ + wing span…that can catch, block, move on the post, and run with the best of them?? Chills. Oh – and he has the best name of all time.

  • Jake

    I’m 90% sure he doesn’t have an 8′ wingspan lol. I thought I saw it was 7’6.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    I have big hopes for PJ, but given our recent history with bigs such as him, I’ll take the wait and see approach as far as how I think he could develop. On this team this year he wont be looked upon to be an immediate game changer. In the future, though, he needs to pan out to be very solid inside as he will likely play more with Luke than he will with Cody over his career. And Luke will need help inside defensively.
    Great to see Elston taking him under his wing……not sure if there is an actual “buddy” system Crean has implemented for the newcomers, but it sure seems that way as I have also heard Wat showing Jeremy the ropes. I think that is awesome.

  • cdog

    It is good to hear that PJ is developing and learning. He may be our starting center next year if Anya decides to go elsewhere. All the work with Cody should make his time on the floor this year productive. It sounds like he is a good kid who wants to develop, which really is every kid on this team. The kids that CTC is bringing in are winners and you are now seeing the results. Hopefully we NEVER have a coach or administration that allowed what happened in 2008 to occur again. Fred Glass is a class act and won’t allow that to happen. Welcome Peter and I hope you have a great and healthy season. Go Hoosiers!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I find myself saying…”one of the most interesting guys to watch this season” about pretty much every player on this team. Not surprisingly, I feel that way about Jurkin. I was hoping to get a look at him during the ESPNU practice but his nose prevented him from doing much. However, I thought he looked significantly thicker than he did during any of the highlight videos we have seen him in.

    Here’s what we think we know: he can be a factor on defense when we need him to be. He appears to be able to run the floor pretty well and move well. He also appears to be coordinated and that should allow him to contribute with put backs on offense. We also know he won’t be shoved into a position he isn’t ready for.

    I think we are excited to see how much he can contribute on the offensive end. If he is able to be any kind of threat on that end of the floor, CTC could choose to overwhelm teams for short periods of time with a big lineup of Jurkin, Zeller, Watford and a combination of Sheehey, Oladipo, Huls and Yogi.

  • b_side
  • HoosierTrav

    What has me most excited about Peter is that he is most likely a 4 year guy. Potentially could go in 3 years with Crean’s ability to develop. If we can find a way to land Vonleh or Anya, our frontcourt will STILL be dominant. It may take a year to get back to speed but we will be set. Luke Fischer is going to be one HELL of a scoring big guy. He gets better exponentially. Wisconsin will regret losing that one. I’m glad we dont have to worry about our frontcourt for the next 3-5 years. Kentucky has a historic 2013 class brewing. I have a feeling 2015-2016 is gonna be historic classes for IU.

  • tmessIUfan

    The other major thing he will bring is a little more defensive security for us should Zeller get into foul trouble at any point this season.We have plenty of scoring on the floor, so as long as he can keep people out of the middle on defense, we should be much better off this year!
    GO Hoosiers!!!

  • HoosierTrav

    ^ votes for everyone!

  • Yimyames

    Yep add Kennedy Meeks to the UK list, jeez!

  • Derbus

    What many fail to realize is our team leaders are instilling confidence in the frosh class. This is vital to their development and game minutes. How many frosh in the USA get this opp?! Peter will excel in this powerful hoops training arena. The entire team has a team-first attitude and we are blessed for years to come!

    CTC has engineered a Hoosier culture that is 2nd to none!

  • Hack Wilson

    OK, 9′

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47200990 Matt Humphrey

    Meeks committed?

  • http://www.trinityoaklabs.com Hoosiergirl

    Was just ready to post the same thing, can’t have enough of people like this

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

    Why do you say that?

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

    Why do you say that?

  • ScoopGeoff

    Considering they just got a commitment from Marcus Lee I don’t think Meeks is on their list any longer. Maybe I’m wrong…

    I was also a little surprised to see that Lee had eclipsed Anya in ESPN’s rankings. He has really risen up the board fast since IU started recruiting him.

  • Hoosier7883

    I think we should petition the NCAA to make games longer! We need more minutes for all the talent we have.

  • SCHoosier

    I think we’re all getting a bit giddy here. Jurkin has size and can run the floor and move with more athleticism than some bigs we’ve had in the past. ..but he is still a VERY RAW b-ball talent. I think TC and crew will do a great job of developing him..but it is going to take some time.

  • SCHoosier

    I think we’re all getting a bit giddy here. Jurkin has size and can run the floor and move with more athleticism than some bigs we’ve had in the past. ..but he is still a VERY RAW b-ball talent. I think TC and crew will do a great job of developing him..but it is going to take some time.

  • p b

    all he’ll need to do this year is be a big body on defense and block out, he doesn’t even need to get the rebounds, just clear out space so maybe a guard could get the rebound. If he can do that, he’ll get small but significant minutes as Cody’s backup.

  • skotchie

    I agree but honesty I’m always leary when a big entering college level of play is still working on hands (catching ability) and feet (footwork). My understanding is he runs the floor well and can play good D, so hopefully he will develop quickly under CTC.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    cody is our center next year . Zeller’s graduate .

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    cody is our center next year . Zeller’s graduate .

  • unclekerfuffle

    RW&A

    I, too, would not be surprised if CZ wears candy stripes for three seasons. i think too many sports fans have lost sight of the fact that there is a non-monetary value to earning a liberal arts degree which has nothing to do with earning a living. The Zellers are people who seem understand this concept.

  • Moye’s Facial

    You guys are going to call me crazy… but what if we play Jurkin with Cody… especial when playing big teams. Cody is an excellent passer and Jurkin won’t miss within 3 feet. (unless he tries to dunk too hard)… Endless possibilities with this team

  • Moye’s Facial

    You guys are going to call me crazy… but what if we play Jurkin with Cody… especial when playing big teams. Cody is an excellent passer and Jurkin won’t miss within 3 feet. (unless he tries to dunk too hard)… Endless possibilities with this team

  • cdog

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Zeller at IU for year 3. The difference between Cody and his brothers is that none of them were even close to being the number 1 draft pick at this stage. Tyler was a good player, but was not even a lottery pick after four years. The only thing that would keep Cody at IU next year would be if he regressed significantly or had a major injury. Being the number 1 pick would do two big things for IU. First, it would show recruits that you can be a top draft pick at IU. Second, he would have had to lead IU deep into the tourny in order to remain the top pick.

  • yimyames

    oops, was thinking of Lee.

  • yimyames

    oops, was thinking of Lee.

  • marcusgresham

    The Ebony and Ivory Towers!

  • marcusgresham

    If you watched any HS video on him, he had a better understanding of the game in those clips than Tijan or Bawa ever did (but Tijan’s elbows are more deadly)

  • marcusgresham

    If you watched any HS video on him, he had a better understanding of the game in those clips than Tijan or Bawa ever did (but Tijan’s elbows are more deadly)

  • marcusgresham

    Ever hear of a kid that went to Houston named Akeem Olajuwon? He was pretty raw before he added an “H” to his name.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Good point, CDog. I guess we just need to enjoy and appreciate him as long as we have him on the team.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    Jurkin has to be the most intriguing freshman we have. He looks really coordinated for a guy his size with his experience. It will be great to have some size coming off the bench and it will be extremely valuable for both zeller and jurkin going up against each other in practice. Zeller will learn to play better against a defensive monster 7 footer and jurkin will be able to compete and learn from arguably the greatest player in college basketball right now.

  • Sloan Screen 45

    40 minutes of hell! Dont play both 7′ players at once. Play 5 guys in 5 minutes increments. Push the ball offensively and constant pressure on defense. We are deep on the bench. We proved last season that we are in great shape so lets run the legs off and the lungs out of our opponents.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    But keep in mind that neither of the previous Zeller boys had an older brother in the pros. Cody could stay 4 years and get some spending money from an older bro I bet. Don’t be surprised if Cody shocks the world and plays all 4 and somehow leaves IU with a doctorate. It wouldn’t be a shock to me though. Best of luck to him if he decides to leave early though.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    And we are blessed with personnel to allow the team to devote time towards player development.

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