Offseason storylines: A look at Indiana’s youth and how it got here

  • 06/10/2014 3:37 pm in

Welcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2014-2015 Indiana Hoosiers. First up, a detailed look at Indiana’s youth and where it stacks up in terms of returning production in the Big Ten.

Just one year removed from having the second least experienced team in the Big Ten, according to the experience rankings, Indiana is again looking at putting one of the league’s youngest teams on the floor for the 2014-2015 season.

It was one of several topics Tom Crean discussed at last week’s “On the Road” tour stop at Huber Winery in Starlight, Indiana when he met with the media for the first time this offseason.

“We are going to be really young again,” Crean said. “I don’t know where we will stack up in the Big Ten, I have to believe we are right there. The bottom line is we have to have guys come together throughout the summer.”

While it’s impossible to forecast where Indiana will end up in those same rankings for the upcoming season — the ranking uses eligibility class weighted by minutes played for a particular season — a quick look at the returning percentage of minutes across the league bears out Crean’s assessment.

Before getting to what we found in our examination of both percentage of points and minutes returning for each Big Ten team, it’s equally important to look at how the Hoosiers got here.

In the 2012-2013 campaign, a season in which the Hoosiers won the Big Ten outright for the first time since 1993, Indiana was the sixth most experienced team in the conference with a solid mix of upperclassmen (Christian Watford, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, Will Sheehey) and youth (Cody Zeller, Remy Abell, Yogi Ferrell).

As scrutinized as Indiana’s 2010 recruiting class was at the time, it was one of the better recruiting classes Crean has landed when you consider the production, culture building and length of time in the program provided by Oladipo and Sheehey.

Since that class, the Hoosiers have landed a McDonald’s All-American each year, but the complimentary pieces in both the 2011 and 2012 classes either leaving the program or providing less than anticipated production is a major reason IU will be lacking in experience for a second straight year.

Of the 2011 and 2012 recruits Indiana signed not named Zeller or Ferrell, only Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin remain in the program. Austin Etherington, Abell, Jeremy Hollowell and Ron Patterson have all moved on for various reasons, which is why Ferrell is the only returning upperclassman who has logged more than 350 career minutes.

Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin, Indiana’s two returning upperclassmen besides Ferrell, have combined for a total of 99 points in two seasons.

In his comments last week, Crean talked at length about the leadership role Ferrell must shoulder as a junior along with the importance of the upcoming summer for a roster that will include five freshmen and four sophomores.

“Yogi has to become better, he has to be a leader and mature. Our whole team has to mature,” Crean said. “We lost 6,900 (career) points the year before, which we knew we weren’t going to replace that easily. The decision making, the maturity of that team, we really lost that. It is not just the obvious guys that were in the lottery. It is guys like Derek Elston. We never had a replacement for Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls this past year. We didn’t have a replacement for the energy of a Derek Elston. We had guys that were mature enough to put people in their place when they needed to be put there.

“Our guys last year spent too much time being buddies, than being absolute comrades. Comrades and even friends, they don’t let you make mistakes. It is not just what goes on, on the floor, it is what it is off the floor. Buddies are afraid sometimes of telling each other what needs to be done and we have to outgrow that and Yogi is a key component of that.”

When Indiana ultimately takes the floor for the start of practice next fall in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers will have summer workouts, 10 practices and a five-game foreign tour to Montreal under their belt. It will be the first time Crean has taken a foreign trip at Indiana and the first for the program since 2007. By NCAA rules, the program can take a foreign tour once every four seasons.

Those experiences will be valuable, but ultimately the Hoosiers will still be close to the bottom of the conference in percentage of minutes and points returning.

Indiana will return 44.7 percent of its minutes played from the 2013-2014 season, the lowest number in the Big Ten. Only three other conference teams, Michigan (47.2), Purdue (47.6) and Ohio State (48.6), are also under the 50 percent plateau.

In terms of actual scoring production returning, Indiana will return 50.1 percent of its points from the 2013-2014 season. Only Michigan (42.7), Ohio State (42.7), Michigan State (45.5), and Purdue (50) will return less scoring.

Youth, of course, shouldn’t be the only definition of Indiana in 2014-2015. The Hoosiers had bigger issues, namely turnovers, in the 2013-2014 campaign that Crean said must be overcome.

“The turnovers and the lack of timely shooting, which goes into the decision-making, were not where we needed it to be,” he said. “When you can pinpoint that like we have been able to do and you know you are going to get better with that, that gives you a lot of optimism. We don’t want to give in some other areas, that is going to be why it is important we have a great summer.”

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  • Ole Man

    Soap boxes are okay, occasionally. LOL.
    God bless your wife. As a former teacher, I know the “hell” she goes through to “make a difference.”

  • calbert40

    Thanks, OM. I wasn’t trying to make that argument personal or direct it solely at you. It is just something that gets my blood pressure going.


    And sometimes they get prettier well before closing time, guess it just depends on one’s pace on any given night. LOL

  • Ole Man

    Never took it personal. 🙂
    You and I have been posting too long…lol.

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong. We have the kid’s public statement, that is the ONLY fact so far! Apparently you never read my many criticisms of Crean’s personnel use last season (and the previous year’s: he should have played both Vic and Will much more in their freshmen and sophomore years, and Will more his junior year). I was very harsh last season on Crean not playing Hanner and Devin with Noah; not playing Devin more; not playing Hanner more; ever playing Howard instead of Hanner or Devin; ever playing Marlin instead of Stan; etc. Walk-ons are for practice. You must play your prized scholarship freshmen as many minutes as possible so that they grow and gain experience.

  • Outoftheloop

    Where can I see this report?

  • Outoftheloop

    I had to get your attention. But don’t let it keep you from a good night’s sleep. It isn’t really very important!

  • Outoftheloop

    Just try getting a shot at the rim against Hibbert.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t get it.

  • Ole Man

    What did you expect the kid to say?
    “The chemistry on this team sucks. I feel like an outsider. This isn’t what I signed on for. Etc.”

  • HoosierGrampy

    You said that right!

  • SCHoosier

    On ITH or Inside Indiana..maybe the Star..sorry don’t remember. It was a summary article on Luke’s departure..discussed his injuries..was a late arrivee on campus that summer.and that the court..he only had 1/2 hang out buds. I have always personally believed that had the injuries not kept him out of the flow..the flow might have carried him thru any homesickness…if that’s what it was. too bad we’re all still examining this I guess..water over the dam.

  • skotchie

    Well cal I can define leadership in many ways not just one
    court telling another player “hey you need to move over there”! Leadership is
    passed on year to year, cultivating a culture and the ultimate ruler in this
    case is CTC and he began with Kyle Taber & Brent finklemeyer.

    Over time beginning with Jordy, Derek, and Christian we
    heard CTC say I found kids who would “buy in” to what we’re trying to do here.

    Next we hear about Vic, Will, Jordy, Derek, and Christian
    are the “365 guys” and since we’ve heard the (movement class) didn’t exactly go
    all in on that, sadly and who knows maybe the guy who coined the phrase might
    be the driving force missing. But we’ll never know.

    The last group was the “unpack your bags” group. Noah never
    unpacked we’ll see what this year brings and now we hear CTC referring to this
    team as “we need to be comrades not buddies”?

    So let’s review, I give “buy in” a B+ though it started slow
    it gained good momentum.

    The “365 guys” I give an A+ because they went on a mission.

    “Unpack you bags”? I give it a C; I remember thinking what
    the hell? All that’s left of the 365 culture is Will & AE because Remy
    & Mo are gone half of your lead group is gone! Will can’t do it on his own
    and to some point it’s believed that he and Yogi don’t exactly see eye to eye.
    AE probably wasn’t shown the respect from under classmen he’d like to so he
    decided to say see ya!

    We need to be “comrades” not “buddies”? D+ and the culture
    once built dwindles quickly. Well it’s Yogi’s team and his job to lead, and his
    job alone! Can Hanner help out? Seriously PJ, really? Yogi doesn’t have Will to
    fall back on this year when the questions start to fly, Yogi is solely responsible
    for where this culture winds up at the end of this season and where it’s going,
    then it’ll fall to guys like Troy, Stanford, and Devin.

    That cal is how I look at leadership, it’s building a
    culture and maintaining that culture. It’s slipping away and the responsibility
    for the players brought in is CTC’s as well as the players opting out.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Travis, I’m still on the fence with YF. He has some skills individually, but as a point guard and leader he 1) has way too many turnovers (now going on two seasons); 2) really hasn’t demonstrated floor leadership. I say this because he spends so much time standing, dribbling in one place, pointing and is down right lazy on the defensive end (check out how he preps for a rebound…usually hands by his side, doesn’t bother to block out, and he never challenges ball handlers, etc.; 3) he isn’t a very good penetrator and passer and for some reason he’s not involved in much pick/roll action (may be the IU offense and coach I don’t know)… so I’m not so sure how he will facilitate others; 4) He excludes teammates at ends of games and just jacks up shots 5) His brush with the law 6) AND THE BIG Q: Does he want to work with his new shooting guard or does he want to showcase his own skills for the nba??? I really think he’s likely to demonstrate the later. I say that because I think many of his teammates seem to ignore him on the court and he kind of embarrasses them by pointing and directing them all the time. They don’t need that. Just call the play or run the offense. All this stuff has been hashed around. I’m not trying to say hey, I won’t watch him play and pull for him. I am saying in my mind the jury is leaning against him improving much more in the next two years (as a team player and team leader) and I don’t think he’s shown he can operate as the best point guard in the country from a skills standpoint. Certainly the NBA wasn’t too interested in him. But whatever opinions are, he’s the center of this team so where he goes , IU goes. We shall see.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    RMK turned IU into one of the nation’s top scoring teams when someone named I. Thomas showed up. He did that by simply turning Thomas loose. He turned the team into a 3 point powerhouse when the 3 point shot was implemented. His fundamentals focused on screens and team defense.

  • There are so many quotes from this that are just blatantly false. I’m not saying there weren’t bits of truth to some of it…..but a LOT of wrong IMO. I’m thinking you could possibly be basing your overall opinion of him on a very small sample size of games. You’re also short changing him on what type of person/young man he may be. I think you implying that he is some selfish teammate is is the worst of all of the statements in your above post.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Yep, the jury is out for me. And so I do see things differently from you. But don’t despair, I’d buy you beers all game long. So let’s watch and see, which makes these threads and games fun. I’m just thinking that the young man has a lot of maturing to do to grow into a PG that leads a nationally ranked team. That isn’t easy. I understand your enthusiasm for him, he has tons of individual skills and potential, and he is from Indiana, which I appreciate, but wow, I did watch a lot of games, and just didn’t quite feel and see the teamwork that top college point guards usually exhibit. I’m also wondering if it isn’t Yogi that Crean is referring too when he calls for more on/off court team spirit…but I could be reading too much into that.

    Q: Who do you think YF worked well with on last year’s team? (and I don’t mean to imply that Q as argumentative, but as a sincere ask).