Jurkin’s playing future at IU remains uncertain

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STARLIGHT, Ind. — When Peter Jurkin committed to Indiana in August of 2010 at adidas Nations in Chicago, he was the first class of 2012 recruit to do so.

The native of the South Sudan would be joined, in order, by Ron Patterson, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell to form a five-man recruiting class that was ranked in the top 10 nationally by many of the recruiting services.

A three-star recruit out of high school, Jurkin averaged 14.8 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game as a senior at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte, N.C.

But nearly two years after arriving on campus, Jurkin has yet to make an impact on the floor for the Hoosiers, who had hoped the 7-foot big man would develop into a reliable shot blocking and rebounding presence with some development and seasoning.

As he heads into his third year on scholarship in Bloomington, Jurkin, a member of the Big Ten’s 2013-14 Academic All-Conference team, continues to battle leg injuries and there’s uncertainty about his basketball future.

“That’s an up and down situation. There’s no clear path to that right now,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Wednesday at Huber Winery. “He had his surgery. The poor guy, he never been in any consistent health situation since he’s been here and it goes back to his high school days.”

After serving an NCAA-mandated nine-game suspension to begin the 2012-2013 season, Jurkin never broke through into the rotation for Indiana’s Big Ten championship season. He appeared in just three games, totaling seven minutes and one field goal attempt.

As a sophomore, Jurkin wore an air cast for most of the season and played in a total of 11 minutes over eight games. Now as Indiana looks ahead to a 2014-2015 campaign in which it will likely play an unconventional style without a true post presence, it appears Jurkin’s basketball future is very much in limbo.

“We have never seen Peter be able to get to where he would like to get, where we would like to see him get, where his teammates would like to see him get, because of the health situations,” Crean explained. “It is very hard for him to overcome that, but he’s there, he is going to summer school, he’s doing a good job.

“But at some point, is he going to be able to play or is he not? That is really what it is coming down to. We’re in year three now. He is a great kid and we want him to be successful, but you have to be healthy to have that chance to be successful.”

  • Ole Man

    2014 – 2015 campaign.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Put him on staff to be the lead recruiter of the Maker brothers since they’re all from Sudan.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I dig it

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

    Fixed. Nothing gets past you guys.

  • kyle jenkins

    Sounds like another transfer in the making. Here is your reason CTC was talking about 2 scholarships this year left instead of just 1.

  • N71

    This is somewhat like Jeremiah in that anything we can get would be helpful. Even if Peter can play he’ll still have the challenge of keeping up with the track team we’ve assembled.

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

    I’d think if Jurkin isn’t healthy enough to play, going on medical hardship would be a potential solution. That would keep him on scholarship at IU and allow him to finish his degree, but IU would be able to use his spot on another player.

  • Brian Stewart

    The other school has to want you in order for you to transfer. Who wants a 7′ kid who’s played 18 minutes in two years – poorly, and who still has health issues? I’d be happy for the kid if someone took him off our hands and freed up another scholarship because he’s never going to play in the Big10, but I don’t see that happening unless he gets healthy and shows it like right away. The clock is ticking.. Scholarships are too valuable to leave on sitting on the bench for four years.

  • kyle jenkins

    Makes sense. Thank you for clarifying.

  • SCHoosier

    Anybody know how far along he is toward a degree..given his academic performance..could he not be done at the end of this coming season..graduates in spring of ’15?

  • MillaRed

    This is the “insensitive” stuff Alex was talking about and I am guilty of it in the forum. I don’t really see it as “not caring” about Peter Jurkin.

    On one end, we are sympathizing with a kid that had it tough. Well, I’m not from Sudan but my upbringing wasn’t exactly fantastic in the ghetto that is Anthony C Oates in Evansville, IN. My father wasn’t even around. I would have given my left arm to get two years of free education at Indiana University. My point is, all of this is happening at the expense of the basketball program. We need the scholarship and we need a big that can help the team.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I am not asking we throw anyone into the street. But the kid is all-academic. There isn’t a bright employee over in admissions that can find a way to keep this guy on a non-athletic scholarship? With all of the crappy behind the scenes stuff that goes on in college sports I think this is not a lot to ask. Keep him around the team. Can we not reinstate him if by some miracle he is ready to contribute in 2 years?

    Whatever. Get creative and let’s move on. We are rooting for PJ but sorry, I am rooting for the basketball team more. It’s a TEAM.

    Sorry for venting. This situation has irritated me for 24 months.

  • PDXHoosier

    To be honest, I have no problem with PJ eating up a scholly for the next 2 years. He’s a good student- let him graduate and prepare for life after basketball. If he can play, he plays, but that’s just a bonus at this point

  • PocketHoosier

    As I said in a prior -fairly personal- post, everyone has their own particular sets of circumstances that they either overcome or serve as the backing to one of the tens of thousands of “what might have been” stories, such as mine.

    I don’t think any reasonable person is rooting for PJ *not* to succeed.
    I don’t think any reasonable person is wanting him to leave Bloomington without his degree.

    But he has been given a very generous deal of a paid for degree in exchange for being able to put a leather bound ball through a hole. He has been to this point incapable of fulfilling those commitments and I don’t consider it unreasonable to expect that he should either progress towards full competition or he should seek other avenues for his continued admission to IU.

    I disagree with the notion of athletic scholarships in the first place. I hate the notion that someone who could not pass muster with the general student population could be given undue privilege and untoward benefits. By all accounts, PJ can hack it as a collegiate student so my disdain for athletic scholarships does not particularly apply to him, but why is it unreasonable to expect him to work, seek grants, academic scholarships, and loans for their financial support the way all other students are expected to do?

    Why is it unreasonable to expect someone who has been unable (admittedly through no fault of their own) to hold up their end of what is a pretty sweet deal go through the same process that everyone else who can’t put a leather bound ball into a hole shall go through as required by Indiana University?

  • MillaRed

    Indeed. Furthermore, how many millions would trade places with PJ in Sudan as we speak? Two years of free education, room and board, with a few more on the way.

    In Bloomington we sympathize with PJ’s circumstances. In the Sudan and every neighboring country they envy him. His privileges are indeed one in a million, if not more.

  • BT

    As an alumnus of IU (and as someone getting fed up with the current, greedy and short-sighted landscape of college athletics), I’d rather see a young man like Jurkin come through and be a great student over four years in spite of any health and personal issues that are no fault of his own than have some one-and-done rental come thru, use our resources for a year and bolt for cash.

  • CreanFaithful

    I’ve heard that he is on the 3 year plan. Can’t say that I have heard it from a credible source, but if true, he will graduate after his junior season.

  • IUDan

    I really think this is the plan with him … If we can use the scholly immediately then I’m sure the staff would be (or is) looking at a medical hardship – my guess is they don’t anticipate using it this year, so give him the year to graduate and move on … I would anticipate him graduating in the spring, as seems to be the norm with IU players. If he needs more time, apply for the hardship waiver and use the scholly for the ’15 class.

    I’d love nothing more than to see him make an impact this year … But it doesn’t look good.

  • PDXHoosier

    Even better. In that case, he doesn’t affect the scholly situation at all. We still have an extra for this year anyway

  • WhatsUpKnight

    if CTC is even mildly pessimistic about something, it’s a major concern. ;)

    PJ seems like a great kid, and i would love to have seen how he far he could have progressed going into his final two seasons. and reading through all the posts these past few months, it’s obvious a lot of hoosier fans feel the same as i do. it just looks like it ain’t gonna happen unfortunately.

  • Dee McDonald

    And now we’re using our brains…those kids (especially Thon) are going to be quite ridiculous. I mean, he’s like a Kevin Garnett combo forward…yikes!

  • FinEndNow

    It is sad that his legs just wont let him play. But it is still great to know that he is doing great in school. His work in the classroom can make us fans proud.

  • Miamihoosier

    If Peter is practicing at full speed, he’ll be valuable in Jeremiah April’s development. Another 7 footer in practice, whose stronger and knows college level defensive positioning, could be big. If not, he’s still helping our APR.

  • Kyl470

    I think it’s great to see CTC stick with this kid even though he hasn’t been able to contribute like all of us would like. What this shows more than anything is that CTC cares about all of his players and not just the star players. What a great selling point this could be to a potential recruit. CTC could sit in a kids living room and honestly say that if you come to play for IU and for some reason something happens in your life that physically prevents you from playing I’ll still make sure we help you get an education.

  • hardly

    Your mission, if you choose to stay on scholarship: Recruit the Makers. Best idea i’ve heard in a long time.

  • Snookafly

    What type of surgery did he have? I asked about a week ago, but no one has been able to tell me what exactly is his injury? He can practice with the team and has played mop-up in games, so is it just a question of pain management? I’m trying to separate fact from fiction.

  • calbert40

    “if CTC is even mildly pessimistic about something, it’s a major concern. ;)”

    hahaha!! That’s funny. After years of the Hoosiers having a coach who could find the negative in any situation, sometimes it feels weird to have a coach who is the opposite!

  • marcusgresham

    Doesn’t hurt the scholarship situation but he maintains the APR standards.

  • marcusgresham

    Minor point to most of us, but probably not to Jurkin: he’s a native of South Sudan, not the Sudan. He was born in the Sudan because South Sudan didn’t exist until a couple of years ago, but I doubt he calls himself Sudanese any longer.

  • Benhyoung14

    I hope they allow him to use the medical hardship, but if not I’m not going to be upset. The Sudan is one of the toughest places in the world right now.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    opposite sides of the spectrum fo sho! maybe CTC should read ‘the power of negative thinking’. haha

  • ForeverIU

    This is exactly the kind of class and noble tradition that comes to my mind when we say “It’s Indiana”.

  • ForeverIU

    It’s nice to see someone catching this nuance. I’m not basing this on first-hand knowledge, but I’m guessing the Southern Sudanese would still call themselves Sudanese, especially because the cultural map does not align easily with the political map; Peter, for example, is perfectly at home in both his Christianity and native Arabic language (judging from his tweets).

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

    I’ve fixed this.

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