Offseason storylines: What IU needs from Mosquera-Perea

  • 07/22/2014 12:33 pm in

Welcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2014-2015 Indiana Hoosiers. Next up, a look at the potential role of Hanner Mosquera-Perea as a junior. (Previously: A look at Indiana’s youth and how it got here, Is Troy Williams ready to make a leap?, Where can Ferrell grow as a junior?)

Indiana will enter the 2014-2015 season with one of the Big Ten’s best backcourts. Yogi Ferrell returns with a legitimate shot to challenge for first team All-Big Ten honors. James Blackmon Jr. arrives with numerous accolades, including a selection to the McDonald’s All-American team. Stanford Robinson will bring a year of experience and the ability to get to the basket. And Robert Johnson arrives with a college ready body and shooting stroke.

The frontcourt situation, however, is far less certain and full of questions.

The loss of Noah Vonleh to the NBA and the midseason transfer of Luke Fischer to Marquette leaves the Hoosiers with very few options up front. IU did add a bit of depth last spring with the signing of Jeremiah April, a 7-footer from Phoenix, Arizona, but the majority of the frontcourt minutes figure to go to sophomore Devin Davis and junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

At 6-foot-9, Mosquera-Perea is much more of a center than the 6-foot-7 Davis, although IU did use Davis at the five situationally last season against teams with similar size up front, like Michigan. But against teams with size, it stands to reason that Mosquera-Perea should get the first crack at the minutes that were mostly taken by Vonleh a season ago.

So what does Indiana need from Mosquera-Perea, largely unproven through his first two collegiate seasons, as a junior? In comments last week, Tom Crean said that it starts with consistency for the Colombia native.

“His body looks extremely good,” Crean said. “He’s gaining confidence. He’s gaining stature around his teammates. He’s gaining more of a voice. He’s becoming a better worker, but it’s July 15, he’s got to keep it up.”

A quick dig through Mosquera-Perea’s numbers over his first two seasons reveals a player that has finished the offensive opportunities he’s received relatively well, but has struggled with turnovers and foul issues.

As a sophomore, Mosquera-Perea made 57.5 percent of his 40 field goal attempts and boasted a ridiculous free throw rate (117.5), albeit in very limited minutes (7.7 per game). He actually attempted more free throws (47) than field goals (40), which isn’t easy to do. And when you consider that he made 72.3 percent of his free throw attempts last season, this could be an area of offensive strength for Mosquera-Perea, who figures to get a majority of his offensive chances on putbacks and lobs.

The key, however, to translating those numbers while in a bigger role, lies in Mosquera-Perea’s offseason improvement in limiting mistakes when opportunities do arise. He’s not going to be a featured offensive weapon given IU’s assortment of options on the perimeter, but a turnover rate of 25.7 is a number that Mosquera-Perea must clean up considerably. Some of it will come with repetition and becoming more comfortable with the speed of the game, but instinct things like anticipating when a ball is coming his way or catching a pass will be major factors in determining just how effective he can become.

One thing to also consider, as pointed out recently by Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated, is that the emphasis on playing through the post in college hoops is on the decline:

A brief summary of “polished” five-star freshman bigs in the past five seasons: (DeMarcus) Cousins’ absurd level of offensive production as a freshman helped Kentucky earn a No. 1 seed in ’09-10; Jared Sullinger’s low-block play made Ohio State a title contender in ’10-11; Cody Zeller helped Indiana break through to the Sweet 16 in ’11-12; Julius Randle’s bullishness around the rim was a big reason UK reached the championship game in April; and Joel Embiid, who had been billed a project but in reality was highly skilled, helped Kansas win yet another Big 12 title in ’13-14.

Yet in that same time period, there’s been a drop-off in the frequency of overall post-up play in the NCAA tournament. An examination of every offensive possession logged by Synergy Sports Technology from the past five NCAA tournaments — a sample of roughly 50,000 possessions — reveals that post-ups accounted for 10.0% of offense in both 2010 and 2011, then 9.9% in 2012, before dropping off to 8.5% in 2013 and 8.8% in 2014. That may seem small, but it represents a decline of more than two post possessions per game, per team — a noteworthy number.

There’s no clear answer for why this is happening, although multiple coaches suggested to me the possibility of a trickle-down effect from the NBA, which has begun to fetishize the “stretch four” over the traditional power forward. The pros have also offered fewer classic, low-post centers for young players to emulate.

That’s not to say that having an effective true post player isn’t important, but a team like Connecticut winning the national championship without much of a post presence this past season proves that winning largely with guard play is possible.

The other side of the ball will be equally important for Mosquera-Perea, who will be tasked with helping replace the defensive rebounding prowess of Vonleh. As a sophomore, Mosquera-Perea’s defensive rebounding percentage was 20.5 percent, which would have ranked near the bottom of the top 10 in the Big Ten had he played enough minutes to qualify. That would be a number that Indiana could live with from Mosquera-Perea as a junior, assuming he gets help on the glass from Davis, Troy Williams and a guard core that may have to crash more aggressively than in year’s past.

Also of importance is cutting down the fouls, which have been a problem for Mosquera-Perea over his first two seasons. In 338 career minutes, he’s racked up 58 fouls, which is one foul every 5.8 minutes. By comparison, Vonleh fouled once every 9.8 minutes last season. In two college seasons, Zeller fouled just once every 11.8 minutes. In a season where Indiana will need Mosquera-Perea on the floor for major minutes, cleaning up the fouls is pivotal.

Ultimately, what Indiana needs most from Mosquera-Perea was summed up succinctly in early June by Crean, who challenged the rising junior to embrace what awaits in his third season.

“It’s time to play. It’s time to be really serious about playing extended minutes,” he said. “It’s time to be an enforcer at the basket. It’s time to show that toughness that his body gives you. It’s going to have to happen or he won’t be out there as much.

“We need his consistency. It’s no more fun and games, now it’s time for you to lock in and mature and not anymore talk, let’s get at it.”

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  • oldiugymnast

    None of those teams went through the NCAA death penalty. It simply is unfair to compare. Having one down year isn’t unusual for even top tier teams that have already established a long term pipeline. Sometimes your shooters don’t materialize – see Austin.

  • Jeff Smith

    ….maybe he will end up being like AJ Moye

  • HoosierFan08

    Well, the conversation is sort of getting a little off track. How do I know what NV was thinking, I don’t but most people can venture to guess what I’m guessing and it would be an educated guess not an opinion because I’m not expressing how I feel, I’m expressing what I think happened. But anyway, thats not the point.

    You said this…

    Did he ever say or anyone say he was a one and done that u can prove other than the talk or they?

    This is the point… “The Talk”

    I’m merely expressing what I believe to be was the talk the whole season, not just 3/4 of the way through the season. From ESPN to Sports Illustrated to ITH to every other media outlet that I’m interested in, “The Talk” was that he was going pro…and not just the professional analysts but also the blogs. Did NV himself say he was going pro, no of course not, athletes don’t do that, it would be unbecoming and it would take the focus off of his team…If your source is the athlete to determine whether or not they are likely to go pro, then you will never have an opinion because they don’t share what they are leaning towards at least most of them don’t

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    At least Patterson had b-ball skills that he could demonstrate when he was in the mood which seemed far too infrequent. We’ve yet to see any skills from HMP and I wonder if we ever will.

  • ronb

    This is silly and going no where. I am never going to believe that everyone thought NV was a one and done before the season started based on facts from, NBA Scouts, Coaches, NV, on an on. IU and it’s Coaches and NV worked hard and he got ready a year ahead of what most experts thought. Good for him!
    So can we just agree to disagree and move on from this fruitless debate? I sure hope so. I am to old for this and sick. You won’ t hear from we again

  • IUJeff

    Hanner needs themax PT he can get in pre-season for sure. Thanks NCAA jack arses for keeping him out last year. Set him back a full season IMO.

  • IUJeff

    I disagree Kyl. Hanner is a world class athlete reportedly. Has A GREAT free throw stroke and has the size to play in the NBA. What’s between his ears is the only thing stopping him from being in the NBA combo IMO. And by that I mean experience and bball knowledge.

  • Kyl470

    I’m assuming you are being sarcastic and you actually agree with me.


    Yes, you two are The Lords of Unlimited Linguistics.

    But I think you got him when it comes to obscure facts. lol


    I believe it was his freshman season that they made him (and PJ) sit out wasn’t it ? At any rate, regardless of what season it was they are still jack asses, or as I like to call them, the taliban of college bball. lol

  • HoosierFan08

    Personally I don’t really care what you believe and I’m not trying to get you to believe anything…I’m just answering your responses to me. And by the way…You’re Wrong…The experts thought he was going pro from the beginning and they were right…

  • yimyames

    I’ve seen plenty of skills, just not consistency. Good mid range jumper, good FT shooter. I’ve witnessed a few amazing rebound, dunk put backs, and a few amazing blocked shots. To say “we’ve yet to see any skills from HMP” is just wrong IMO.

  • ForeverIU

    arses, sounds better, lol.

  • Outoftheloop

    And Hanner only played an average of 7.7 min/game last year. So if he got all of those minutes he would have doubled his experience to 15.3 min/game!

  • ronb

    I guess your experts and mine don’t agree. I am sorry but I can quote mine and I am not wrong but I do not want us to go away mad I just want to go away. Please let this go. I am sorry I ever started this discussion and I hope u will forgive me for ever doubting your “talk”.

  • Outoftheloop

    Tom said that he would play them together some, but that never happened. That is NOT “addressing” the issue!

  • Outoftheloop

    Correct, but it IS “pretty well”!

  • Outoftheloop

    Lee is NOT that good! He does not belong on your list. Against Hammonds you double immediately

  • deebo

    We have scorers. We need HMP to defend, rebound and stay out of foul trouble as much as possible, PERIOD.

  • HoosierFan08

    bro…I’m not mad at all. I think sometimes its hard to know what people are thinking in a blog because its just words, but I’ve never been mad. We just disagree with each other, that’s all. It’s ok to disagree. Sorry if you took it the wrong way…

  • ronb

    Thanks, I am glad to hear your words. Sometimes on a site like this it is easy to be misread because you are not talking face to face and can’t see body language. I am soooo glad you did not take my words as an attack on you. That is the last thing I would want!! We just disagree and that is OK. Have a great day.

  • I don’t want to believe 35-81 but unfortunately it’s a fact.

  • Mike Davis took Indiana to the final game and won a piece of the big ten…do u think he should still be the coach?

  • 91-97 with zeller.

  • April is not a big ten basketball player

  • I’ll be sure and tell him next time I see him on campus, that some Dilbert names Ben thinks he’s not a Big 10 player.. I’m sure he’ll be impressed.
    That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but I do not share it.. Sorry Big Guy….

  • Lol it seems as if you think these 5th year guys and players with last minute desperation big ten offers are going to come in here and change the landscape of our program. I’m starting to see maybe other people are right about a majority of our fan base being delusional. You better let him know this year that I said that because next year you may have to drive to East Tennessee state to let him know.

  • Lol the one game. None of us that saw it will ever forget it.

  • True. It’s just both Patterson and Hanner are benchmarks of physical beings yet a guy like jordan hulls has the heart and was more effective.

  • Snookafly

    Or the game before. UE almost embarrassed us until that last second turnaround jumper.

  • And Neil reed threw a fit he didn’t get MVP

  • iubase

    agree. What we need with HMP is patience. He does not have a great deal of experience and will make mistakes. We need to play him a ton of minutes in the pre season and prior to big ten play. Hopefully CTC won’t pull him quickly(as he did last yr IMHO) but will allow him the game experience which should enable him to get used to the speed of the game. He has a great skill set. CTC will motivate him. A lot hangs on his development.

  • Outoftheloop

    If the goal was to win games last season and to build the best foundation for this season, then the Coach blew it! Neither was aided with Howard and Marlin on the floor and Hanner on the bench.

  • Outoftheloop

    And you know this how??

  • Outoftheloop

    The only semi-specific fact in your post is WRONG! Bawa went to TSU!

  • Outoftheloop

    A truly nonsensical, cherry picked, fact!

  • Outoftheloop

    But a meaningless fact!

  • PocketHoosier

    (Favorite joke ever…even if it’s not really meant to get a laugh)

    Every boy should devote countless hours of youth studying the English language. Why? Because the ladies love a cunning linguist.