The Inside the Hall Mailbag: May 14

NV006The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@HopslamHoosier writes: how much should we take vonleh’s four year player comments with a grain of salt? Or should we?

I’m not surprised by his comments. (You can read them here.) Crean has said several times that while he’s not opposed to recruiting one-and-done players, he’s also not looking for players who won’t unpack their bags in Bloomington. It seems like Noah is coming into the situation with the attitude that he’ll be in college until he’s fully prepared to take the next step in his career. In other words, he’s not viewing IU as a quick pit stop to the NBA. That’s the attitude Crean covets when recruiting the top players.

Cody Zeller came to Bloomington with a similar attitude of staying for four years, but ended up leaving early because he was prepared to do so. I see the Vonleh situation in a comparable light. He’s coming to college to be a student athlete, to win games and get better. If he has the opportunity to leave early and he feels he’s ready, I think that’s what he’ll do. And who could blame him if that’s what happens? But to answer your question, I believe he’s genuine in his comments. – Alex Bozich

@mattyork1941 writes: how is austin etherington’s rehab progressing? Will he be ready and have a significant role next year?

It sounds like Etherington is on track to be healthy for next season. Here’s the latest from Tom Crean from a little more than a week ago: “Austin Etherington continues to make strides with his knee rehab, strength and jump shot,” Crean tweeted. “His shooting was very impressive last Friday.”

As for the role Etherington will play, I’m not sure I foresee him taking on a significant role. That’s not to say he can’t find his niche as a perimeter shooter, but he’ll have stiff competition for perimeter minutes with guys like Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams and Collin Hartman all vying for time. — Alex Bozich

@RealAdamJ writes: What impact do you expect from Perea and Jurkin next year? How big is another summer of conditioning for these guys?

Hanner Mosquera-Perea has been impressive in workouts this spring and the biggest thing for him this offseason is getting in the gym and taking on that 365 day a year mentality that Crean frequently references. If that happens, there’s no reason to believe that Mosquera-Perea won’t be a rotation guy next season. He has the talent and athleticism to do so. The suspension last season was a significant setback for him because he lost valuable time against several of IU’s early non-conference opponents.

As for Jurkin, his foot injury hampered him throughout Big Ten season and if he is to contribute next season, getting healthy is the first thing on the checklist. — Alex Bozich

@MShlyank writes: how realistic is it to repeat as Big 10 champs?

The Big Ten will once again be a strong league next season, although it will likely take a step back from where it was this past season. Right now on paper, Michigan State looks like the favorite with Michigan and Ohio State right there behind the Spartans. Beyond that, the league looks fairly wide open with Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin in the next tier of teams.

To answer your question, it’s not very realistic that Indiana will repeat as Big Ten champions. In fact, it’s probably a pretty fair to predict, barring injuries, that the league champ will come from one of those top three teams. — Alex Bozich

@EnglertEvann writes: how much will yogi and will need to step up depending on freshman?

Both players will be taking on much larger roles next season regardless of how good the freshman are from day one. For Will Sheehey, he’s the lone senior on the roster at this point. That could change if Evan Gordon transfers in, but regardless, he’ll be the only four-year player in the program. He’s going to be counted on as a leader both on the floor in games and throughout the summer in helping to instill a work ethic on the incoming players.

As for Yogi, he’ll also become more of a leader on the floor and could also take on more of a role as a scorer. That wasn’t what he was asked to do as a freshman, but with the offensive production Indiana lost, the scoring will have to come from somewhere and Yogi is more than capable of picking up some of the slack. — Alex Bozich

Steven Harris writes: How does (Evan) Gordon compare to Abell?

Size wise, Remy Abell is a bigger guard. Abell is in the 6-3 to 6-4 range, while Gordon is closer to 6-1. Style of play wise, Gordon is much more likely to shoot from the perimeter as 59.2 percent of his field goal attempts came from behind the 3-point line. That’s not to say he isn’t effective at times going off the dribble and shooting the midrange or pull-up shot, but his role at Arizona State last year was largely based around shooting threes. I didn’t see Gordon play last season at Arizona State, but Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic told me he was one of the team’s better perimeter defenders. — Alex Bozich

Trent Gould writes: Do you think Luke can fill the shoes Cody has left behind? I think most have underestimated fish.

Fill his shoes? That’s a lot to ask. Cody Zeller was a program-changing recruit both because he opened the door for others to consider Indiana and he was also an All-American who made others around him better. Fischer is a very good prospect who continues to improve, but comparing him to Zeller is unfair.

As for the assertion that he’s been underestimated, I’ll agree. He was the centerpiece of two straight undefeated state championship teams and won Mr. Basketball. Those are significant accomplishments. When I spoke to a national recruiting analyst lately about Fischer, he told me the thing he likes most about him is that while some of his peers leveled off this past high school season, Fischer continued to get better. That bodes well for his future. — Alex Bozich

  • MillaRed

    I’ve seen Luke play four times. They are different players entirely. Luke will not win a 40 yard dash against Cody, and Cody will not win a shooting match against Luke. They are similar in many other ways.

    I love Cody Zeller, but his ducking when around the basket really got irritating. Almost as bad as Verdell dribbling with his head down. Luke uses his size much better down low. And when you respect the 12 footer he will blow by you.

    I also think Luke is a better blocker for sure and has a higher rebounding ceiling. Luke’s teams will be much more athletic. I think that will help him a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522743716 Andrew Chastain

    I don’t agree agree with your, “Zeller was prepared comment.” I think anyone could see the glaring issues in his game and that he most certainly was not prepared to leave for the NBA. He saw dollar signs and that’s the end of the story. I don’t blame him or his parents. Who would turn down that kind’ve money? I know I wouldn’t but saying that he was “prepared” isn’t really that close. I think 1 or maybe 2 more years would’ve been better for Zeller.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    @Alex “As for Jurkin, his foot injury hampered him throughout Big Ten season and if he is to contribute next season, getting healthy is the first thing on the checklist. — Alex Bozich”

    So you are reporting or implying that Jurkin is still not healthy at the present time?

  • WhatsUpKnight

    love the insight, and i hope people don’t mistakenly regard him as zeller 2.0. personally, i’m looking forward to seeing what he’s got to offer, given his particular skill set. sure seems to me you’re of the opinion that he’ll be a bit more versatile on the offensive end? and perhaps a bit more aggressive defenderrebounder?

  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.nash.3956 Josh Nash

    definitely agree with you. Fisher seems to have the look of a more traditional 5, while I think Zeller is (or at least has the potential to be) more adept as a facilitator in the post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.nash.3956 Josh Nash

    He wasn’t fully prepared, but who is? I would have loved to see him back for another year, and not just because of the talent we’d be retaining. His post game needs work and he needs to hit the weights HARD. This year was probably a better opportunity for him to be a lottery pick than next year would have been. His stock only dropped from last year to this year, and it’s very likely it wasn’t going up if he stuck around for a third year.

  • Daburns0

    I agree, I don’t think we will see a big run the floor like that again. I think Cody really needed a shot blocker on the floor with him. I was excited for Perea to play with him, but that didn’t work out.

    I was listening to Nerlens Noel yesterday, and thought to myself, “Man, if he had come to IU, we would have won a national championship.” I think some of these recruits that have UK high on their list will start to realize this.

  • Hoosier10

    Zeller will develop more in the NBA than he would staying around. He will be a better played a year from now if he goes than if he stayed. People also forget that he went toe to toe and maybe even outplayed Anthony Davis last year in the two games they played.

  • Ole Man

    Don’t forget that Cody will probably play more forward then center in the NBA. I think some of those “glaring” issues aren’t really so glaring and won’t be issues at all in the NBA.

  • calbert40

    While Cody isn’t a finished product, and has some areas of his game which need improvement, I feel he was ready for the next step. A player gets drafted in the NBA based on his potential moreso than his current ability. I watch a TON of college basketball, and some of the players that get drafted are uber-talented, but they were borderline mediocre at the college game.

    An NBA GM is going to be less concerned with his play at IU last year than he will be with his ability to develop over the next 3 years in the NBA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/efoy.mcnaughton E Foy McNaughton

    Damion Lillard was fully prepared

  • MillaRed

    @Knight, @Josh & @daburns0………..

    I think Cody is a better player. The thing that throws things off is what he could have been as a JR/SR. Luke may not match Cody’s stats the next two years, but he will be a 4-year player and in his 3rd/4th be ALL-B1G IMO.

    I think Luke will be more versatile because he can knock down shots and will not hesitate to do so. Why Cody never went there will always befuddle me.

    This is the closest thing to Cody out there. We are really lucky to have him. He is already better than any big we have outside of Noah.

  • MillaRed

    = what Calbert said. These kids are typically drafted on potential.

  • http://www.facebook.com/efoy.mcnaughton E Foy McNaughton

    My prediction for next year’s B1G finish, top 4. I think, however, this team may have the talent to make a deep run in the NCAA if they gel and get hot at the right time. Yogi will be a sophomore (like Trey last year – big difference). Will Sheehey will make a huge jump (now projected a late 2nd round NBA pick) and will be 1st team B1G. Hollowell will become the next star in the making. And I believe there will be 4-5 freshman that will play significant minutes and/or start (Noah & Williams may become consistent starters). I’m excited, is it November yet?

  • SCHoosier

    re: Nov..I wish. Check out IU football..should be an interesting season.

  • SCHoosier

    Correct..and while Cody had to play a certain way for IU to stay in each game..he won’t have that pressure as a sub in the pro’s..when he gets in the game he can be a hell of a lot more creative on offense..and more physical on defense.

  • SCHoosier

    I think you are going to see Luke score in different ways than Cody did..if TC’s gives his the green light to put it up when he’s open. I want him to be more aggressive defensively also…Hanner can provide some quality defensive minutes if Luke picks up early fouls.

  • CreanFaithful

    One interesting thing to note is Cody’s short wingspan (-3.5″). I think it explains a lot about Cody struggling with the 6’8″-6’9″ players with +4-6″ wingspans. Luke’s was +2″ last I saw it reported. I’m not sure about the vertical jump comparison, but the wingspan alone is a big advantage IMO. I have much more interest in how high a player can reach up with his hands than the top of his head…

  • http://www.facebook.com/efoy.mcnaughton E Foy McNaughton

    I think the football team will be better. Not good, but better.

  • IUMIKE1

    Plus a lot of people underestimate how important what the current draft class looks like and what next year’s draft class is projected to look like and that plays a much more significant role with some players and I think Cody was the poster boy for incorporating that line of thinking.

  • IUMIKE1

    I”ve only seen Luke in person once so, with you having seen him more than that and matching up against other bigs, I’ll defer to you on his height. When I seen him and he was standing beside players said to be 6′ 8″ or 9″ or a player said to be 6′ 10″ it looked like it was a stretch to call him 6′ 11″ and anything over that was really a stretch. At times he almost looked like he was closer to 6′ 9″ than 6′ 11″ or more. What say you on this.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    NBA decision makers would disagree with you. And they are the ones who sign the checks.

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    No, not implying anything. The last we saw of Jurkin, he wasn’t dressing for games.

  • Hardwood83

    Thanks Alex, I appreciate your insights- mostly because I agree with them.

    I’ll be thrilled if IU can finish top 4 B1G, finally beat Wisconsin and win at least a couple games in both the conference & NCAA tourney.

    I believe IU will be solid next season but could be really special in 14-15.

  • BlakeD1223

    I personally think that Zeller has an excellent 12 foot jumper but for whatever reason TC put him lower on the block. I understand he was our only big man option but those that were at Hoosier Hysteria this year saw how good of a shooter Zeller is. I think the NBA will use him more as a shooting center then we did. From the highlights I’ve seen on Luke he reminds me of a Dirk Nowitski or even a Chris Bosh. He’s not as good obviously but he’s got good handles and can shoot from just about anywhere. I think he’ll be fun to watch improve. I’m really hoping that Perea comes out and shocks us all at the beginning of the season!

  • http://twitter.com/CandyStripedKid Cream & Crimson

    haha “Almost as bad as Verdell dribbling with his head down.” yuuuup

  • WhosierPhan

    You’re ready to go when a team will draft you. Cody would have been a top ten pick last year.. He was ready then. Damian Lillard had a good rookie year. He is still far from complete. He is AWFul on D, turns it over a ton. And shoots a terrible percentage. (nitpick I know just saying.. If you stay your stock can only go down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522743716 Andrew Chastain

    Alex, going to have to disagree with you on the whole Zeller is ready but that’s ok because I absolutely love this website and check it frequently per day. Just curious where all those people are that said Zellermis wasn’t ready to go. Lol! I certainly hope both he and Dipo do well at the next level. Thanks for your dedication!

  • plane1972

    I agree, but I’m beginning to think 4-year players are becoming a thing of the past, at least the ones who will contribute. Seems everyone is on the 3-year graduation plan and guys are exploring their options in year 4. I’m afraid if a guy the size of Luke becomes all B1G his 2nd/3rd year, he won’t be around for his 4th year.

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