An early look at the 2013-2014 frontcourt

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We took an early look at the 2013-2014 backcourt on Monday and today, the focus shifts to the frontcourt, where Indiana is also faced with substantial changes. We’ll have comprehensive player-by-player previews this fall, but here’s an early look at some of the storylines to keep an eye on with next season’s frontcourt:

– Sheehey’s shift from sixth man to a primary option: After starting just 19 games over his first three seasons and earning the Big Ten’s sixth man of the year award as a junior, Will Sheehey will be in for a significant change in his role as a senior. Sheehey has steadily improved his offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) over his first three seasons and Indiana will need him to continue his efficient play if it hopes to have a strong Big Ten finish again. His free throw (70.4 percent as a sophomore, 65.6 percent as a junior) and 3-point shooting percentages (38.3 percent as a sophomore, 34.6 percent as a junior) dipped a season ago and are two areas he’ll need to improve upon.

Sheehey has always been one of the best in the conference at moving without the ball, but without guys like Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford for opposing defenses to key on, he’ll become a focus on the scouting report and will be called upon to create more shots on his own. With a strong offseason that included trips to Colorado Springs and Kazan, Russia, for the World University Games and Los Angeles for adidas Nations, Sheehey had a busy offseason and appears poised for his best season yet at Indiana.

– Vonleh’s arrival and impact: For the third straight winter, Indiana will welcome a McDonald’s All-American to its roster. Noah Vonleh, who won’t turn 18 until this Saturday, is a physical presence that can impact the game in many ways. At 6-foot-9 and 242 pounds with a wingspan that’s nearly 7-foot-4, Vonleh will slide into the starting lineup immediately. He’s been regarded as one of the top rebounders nationally in his high school class, and the offseason transformation of his body under Je’Ney Jackson should make him physically ready to battle down low from day one.

On a roster that doesn’t appear to have a surefire option at the center position, Vonleh will give the staff some flexibility if it wishes to go smaller at times. With the departures of Zeller and Watford in IU’s frontcourt, Vonleh’s arrival will help soften the blow, at least from a talent perspective, and give the Hoosiers a reliable post scorer that  also can step out on the floor and finish in transition.

– Who plays the five? Cody Zeller’s decision to enter the NBA Draft leaves Indiana very thin from an experience standpoint in the post, which begs the question: How will the Hoosiers attempt to replace the nation’s most efficient big man? Freshman Luke Fischer figures to get the first look along with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who never really got on track as a freshman due to a NCAA suspension and an injury.

Fischer won’t be able to fill Zeller’s shoes, but Indiana fans shouldn’t expect him to. He runs the floor well, has good hands, displayed toughness and continued improvement throughout his prep career and is a guy that fits into IU’s culture. Mosquera-Perea is a bit of a wildcard because for all of the physical talent he possesses, his role was so limited last year that he’ll need to show major progress to earn a regular rotation spot.

– Where does Hollowell fit? With six new freshmen, a transfer in Evan Gordon and two regulars returning in Yogi Ferrell and Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell doesn’t always get the headlines that he may end up deserving when next season is said and done. His efficiency numbers weren’t great as a freshman (44.8 eFG percentage), but the sample size is too small to come to a conclusion on the kind of offensive player he could become. His prep and AAU career numbers suggest he’s capable of shooting better than 23.3 percent on 3-pointers or 63.2 percent from the foul line. And with more playing time and attempts available due to IU’s roster attrition, Hollowell is a guy that either could crack the starting lineup or be one of the first off of the bench.

Where he has a chance to really earn time, though, is on the defensive end. In stretches last season — the Michigan game at Assembly Hall immediately comes to mind — Hollowell was downright disruptive at altering shots. Indiana won’t be able to replicate its offensive numbers from a season ago, but the Hoosiers can ill-afford to slip into the bottom half of the league from a defensive perspective. If Hollowell can continue to improve as a defender, his role will increase as well.

  • IUMIKE1

    Never thought about it that way but that’s probably a pretty good analogy.

  • IUMIKE1

    I remember noticing that as well and was kinda like, huh.

  • IUMIKE1

    LOL, what the HELL was I thinking, speaking ill of HIM !! Something tells me there is going to be a liger sighting outside of my house tonight. Ph, if you don’t see any more comments from me in the near future you’ll know I became liger bait.

    In the name of everything IU bball Tijan, forgive me and do not send him to my house.

  • IUMIKE1

    Word !

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree – my prediction is DD will be the sleeper to 2013 class that Calbert was to the class of ’92.

  • hoosier1158

    You’re exactly right. No way can this coming season’s team be better, except maybe at effort. Last years team should have been in the final 4. Syracuse was good, but not better than IU.

  • Munsonthe

    Who was better Tijan Jobe or Bawa Muniru?

  • PDXHoosier

    I think a lot of people on here are going to be unpleasantly surprised by the level of play this year, at least at the beginning. We lose too much experience to even compare to last year’s team. We have good freshmen, but they aren’t close to the freshmen at UK, for example. They will need time to develop, and there will be some growing pains this year.

  • PDXHoosier

    Tijan. so easy

  • Munsonthe

    Who was a better contributor Malik Story or Devan Dumes? I still think they should have brought Tijan off the bench more to eat opposing players. Just my thought.

  • PDXHoosier

    Peter will not see significant playing time during his career. I hope he gets a degree and has a good time in college.

  • PDXHoosier

    Malik wasn’t accused of murder, so he gets some points for that.

  • PDXHoosier

    It is strange that Wisco is totally irrelevant, and yet they occupy so much of my hatred.

  • Snookafly

    I am hopeful for AE, but in all the games in which he actually played he looked completely lost. He was obviously young, but I wonder how much he could have progressed especially going out with the injury.

  • BrianS

    I think Troy Williams will be close to that top 3.

  • nwin iu fan

    Turnovers will be a huge problem this yr and outside shooting

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I agree that the best MAY not win it all but many times it does and when it doesn’t sometimes it’s because the best may have had one of their bad nights or other circumstances. Not that I disagree with you entire statement mainly just the pseudo of the 75 & 76 teams. I don’t recall the match ups so I won’t argue that problem but I do agree that the 75 team was the better team.

    But I disagree that we lost because of match ups…if you remember the 75 team would have won it all as well but there was a broken bone issue as you recall…we would have had back to back titles those years and two undefeated teams. Out of those two years we only lost one game of course the last one. So I don’t think you can really use those two teams as an example as you could L’ville. L’ville was not the best team last year but they won…if you ever watch L’ville they are a fouling machine but never get called for it, the ref’s are so used to their style they just let them hand check the entire game.

    The same as for our 92 team I think IU had the best team but when Henderson went down right before the final 4…I think we beat L’ville but can’t recall who we lost to? I don’t think match ups was an issue there either we were the best team.
    This past year Syc really didn’t beat us as much as we beat ourselves…we were beat up in the Temple game, remember the shoulder separation of Hulls, not to mention all the other fouling that was allowed. IU was beat up that game. That is why we didn’t make it to the final four nor would we have one it all under those conditions.

    We will be courting the most athletic team IU as maybe ever seen from top down, yes young but talented. Now will these guys gel this year is the real question. Same as pUKe, they have assembled the best recruiting class the NCAA has ever seen, so they say. But will they gel? The good news is that all of them are 1 and dones.

    When will our full schedule be out?

    Some triva. When was Dis-Assemble Hall opened, who did we play defeat 84 to 77 and what Junior Center scored 33 pts and had 26 rebounds setting a school recorded that I think is still held today?
    BC

  • Bleeding Crimson

    pUKe floored a great bunch of kids last year and was gel’n pretty good until Noel went down. Anything can happen but I agree they are stacked at each and every position 1-5.

    My two favorite teams are IU and whoever is playing pUKe. I try to never use those two letters together whenever possible.
    You have to keep in mind that I live right across the bridge from L’ville, KY. So when I listen to the local broadcast and I discontinued receiving the paper because it’s always pUKe, then L’ville and maybe IU getting a short piece of the pie. I’m sure the L’ville area coverage will be different this year. Plus I’m not crazy about L’ville but it is good for the local economy.

    Alex, it seems like when you Dad was with the Kentucky Journal, he seemed as if he didn’t grad from IU…why is that. I assume because of the paper he was writing for but?
    BC

  • SCHoosier

    Hope you are correct..but again..other that some decent games in HS…AE’s three point shooting prowess is just “Wishing and hopin'” kinda thing. Let’s hope he gets the chance to shine.

  • SCHoosier

    I think we’ll see more of Gordon early in the season…more of Stan has the season progresses.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Sorry, I can get long winded at times but I’m a huge LONG time fan of IU. But to add to my above remarks, the 75 team also never trailed at half-time. They dominated teams even better than the 76 team did.

    And it was Scott May who had the broken arm. We won the first two rounds but lost to no other than pUKe. It was a rough game and May got knocked down the first time down the court…May only played one minute of that game…he was a non-factor and probably was our best shooter esp within 17 ft.
    BC

  • Bleeding Crimson

    One reason we always play up for PUke, while Wis we know going into it it’s going to slow our pace down.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Question:
    Each you I have the Honor of watching at least one practice. I’m trying to pick the best time to evaluate our kids. Of course I’m not going to wait until our first game but I would also like to go when everyone is more healthier. So my question to you guys is when would you go? Thanks for any input.
    BC

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Sorry,
    Should have said Each Year I get to attend at least one practice.

  • calbert40

    I can see that one might thing those two issues MAY be problems this season, but to definitively say that both will be huge problems is probably not fair or accurate. Actually, the two players who led us in TOs last year both just got drafted in the NBA lottery…both at 2.3 per game.

    If you think that TOs will be problematic, because we will have some inexperienced players, I’ll point you to Yogi’s stat line last year. As a freshman, he was 2:1 Assist to TOs, and despite our tempo, only averaged 2 TOs per game. Not fantastic, but not awful either. And if Gordon is going to handle the ball a lot too, he averaged about 32 mpg last season for ASU, but only 1.3 TOs per game.

    IU plays an uptempo style, so TOs are going to happen.

    So far as outside shooting, I’m slightly concerned about that as well, but we have quite a few players who have the potential to be strong in that area. Hopefully, one or two of them can play well enough in the other areas to merit PT.

  • IUMIKE1

    I used to do some AAU coaching so to me the one to watch would be the first practice after a game that most, if not everyone, thought we would win but for whatever reason we didn’t, but that’s just me. Would be interesting to see if Crean thinks the main reason we lost was the same as what I think it is, cause I’m sure you would be able to tell pretty much what he felt like the reason was by how the practice is conducted and what they work on the hardest.

    Once at the very first full practice, another at the beginning of B1G play and then right before the Big Dance I would have to say would be pretty interesting as well. Heck, just get there early, install a quality spy cam, and sell access to just us ITH’ers. That way the Crean Complainers can tell him EVERYTHING he needs to do differently instead of just most of the them.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree

  • IUMIKE1

    Live in the same area and know EXACTLY what you’re saying. People think they hate pUKe, most of those people don’t know what it is to really hate them until they have had to put up with what we do living where we do.

  • IUMIKE1

    Think it opened for the ’71 – ’72 season.
    Believe it was Steve Downing with the 33 & 26.
    For some reason I seem to remember at the time thinking it being only right that the first game was against another instate school and that that school had the word ” ball ” in it’s name or may have it totally confused with something else all together. Ball State ?

    Think Bellamy holds the single game rebound record but I may wrong about that as well. lol

  • http://www.vccm.net/ iubase

    The potential for this team is high. They will realize that only if they put in the work. If HP and JH put in the time (they have more talent compared to Watford and a young olipido) then they could have the same impact as the Michigan frosh had last yr. Victor however had the heart and drive to succeed. If HP and JH can somehow come close to this work ethic the season may be a terrific surprise to some.
    Vonleh and Fischer are wild cards. They will improve over time and could contribute in the NCAAs. Will and Yogi are solid.
    Barring injuries, they have the potential to get back to top 16.

  • SCHoosier

    re: PU at WIS..Badgers were obviously looking ahead to a bigger game the upcoming weekend..and PU shot the lights out. Boilers played their best game of the year. WIS at home makes everybody play their game. Bo’s offense is the perfect antidote for IU’s defense…and WIS’s defense gives the IU offense fits..hey it happens. Entirely different schemes used by both schools in the 80’s and ’90’s.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    You are correct. It was Steve D and the New A Hall’s first game was against Ball St on Dec 1st, 1971. As for the record I assume it was broken but I don’t know that for sure.
    Thanks for the response. It’s nice to see us Ole Man timers are still around to remember such.
    BC

  • IUMIKE1

    Actually Bellamy was before Downing but……I’d say that that pretty much has to be the record for that venue. Just glad someone ask it while I still can remember those things. Got it before those dad gum young whipper snappers could do that there google thing a ma jig. lol

    Signed Proud Member of Ole Man Club.

  • marcusgresham

    I think he’ll need to develop a more reliable jump shot before he’ll be a top-notch scorer. I think he will become a better shooter in time because I get the impression he’s a worker, but I’m not sure that time is quite here. If I’m wrong I’ll be very happy about it, though.

  • marcusgresham

    Adreian Payne. He’s going to be a load this year.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I think you know how we are referring to….I’m not sure how far you go back but I became I fan in the early 80’s before college.
    Signed Proud Member of the Ole Man Club.
    BC

  • MisterSlippery

    I hope you guys are right about JH. I like him, but he always seemed to be kind of flailing around. I’d like to see him get stronger and more confident.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Thanks for the input.
    I would love to say that I’ve play BB and coached such but I was a runner thru my school years. I now only assisted on coaching Cross Country & Track, not BB. But I’m so impatience that I don’t want to wait too long nor closed the window of opportunity to take the visit. I can’t say how I have been blessed with this privilege of going to the practices….it is very special. We’ll just leave it at that. I’m thinking the best time would be a week before our first game but you bring up some interesting points.
    I have to admit I would not do any phone tex, video, etc because to many parties may know, so we’ll just leave it at that with the respect of such. But this is a completely different year in a long time and my schedule and the window I’m allowed is very narrow. So that is why I bold the question. I think I will wait until the week before…thanks for the input.
    BC

  • IUMIKE1

    When I thought about what you asked I guess it was just me thinking along the ” comparing notes ” line. Not that I think I’m even on the same planet coaching wise as Crean is, just how I think I guess ( my ex always told me that I analyzed things to death lol ).

    Maybe just the coach in me but the upside to me would be that there is never a bad time to take advantage of that type of privilege.

  • IUMIKE1

    Good timing I guess. My start pretty much coincided with when The Hall opened. Marvin, a slightly older friend, who was a very passionate IU bball fan, was the one that set the IU bball hook in me. He always liked to tell the story about how he & some friends went to and watched us lose ” that ” game to pUKe in the Big Dance. He demanded that the cream & crimson still be flown on the drive back (from Dayton I believe). After being passed very slowly and loudly by a car flying the blue him leaning half way out of the back seat window trying his best to get them to pull over while his friends did their best to get him completely back into the car. He was as fine a representative of the Club as I’ve seen. He even scheduled his chemo treatments to where it didn’t conflict with the span of time it would take for him to watch the game and then listen to the post game report with Don Fisher.

    RIP Marvin & thanks for the memories my friend.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Man , I never thought I’d have to wait a whole season to see Hanner tear down the rim on a nasty dunk. We’ve been waiting 4 yrs now , hope it’s soon

  • Tim O’Nawbny

    Every game that Lexington NBA team wins is a steaming pile on the NCAA and most everything that makes it better than the NBA.

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