Roundup: Indiana present in most early preseason top 25’s

  • 04/08/2015 11:02 am in

Following a 20-14 campaign that ended with a loss to Wichita State in the NCAA tournament, there are still plenty of questions to be answered in regards to Indiana’s roster for next season.

The commitment of Thomas Bryant answered the question of whether Indiana will have a big man next season, but Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams are still undecided on their futures despite being projected as late second round NBA draft picks by most.

That, however, hasn’t stopped the national media from including the Hoosiers in several preseason top 25’s for the 2015-2016 and we’ve rounded up those rankings below with a brief snippet from each:’s Eamonn Brennan: No. 16

Despite a late slide toward the bubble, Tom Crean’s 2014-15 Indiana team — which was comprised almost entirely of guards — slightly overachieved overall. Help is on the way: Last week, four-star center Thomas Bryant announced his commitment to the Hoosiers, and suddenly the Hoosiers don’t look quite so small. There is some question as to whether either junior point guard Yogi Ferrell and sophomore wing Troy Williams will be back next season, but neither are particularly prized by NBA scouts; either departure would be a mild surprise. If both are back, Indiana’s starting lineup of Ferrell, James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, Williams and Bryant may well be the Big Ten’s most talented. If either (or both) leave, the Hoosiers faithful should still feel optimistic.

Seth Davis of No. 9

Freshman Thomas Bryant, a 6’10” power forward from New York, will fill the interior void that will allow the Big Ten’s best perimeter corps (spearheaded by 6-foot senior point guard Yogi Ferrell) to flourish.

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News: No. 14

Why we worry: The Hoosiers are still a body short in the paint, and it’s not certain yet that point guard Yogi Ferrell will return as a senior.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports: No. 12

Why the Hoosiers are ranked here: What was Indiana missing this season? A competent big man. What is Thomas Bryant? A competent big man. So the Hoosiers should have no issues making the NCAA Tournament again — provided Yogi Ferrell doesn’t turn pro.

SBNation: No. 9

Despite all the Tom Crean jokes and unrest in Bloomington, Indiana has the potential to be awfully good in 2015-16. Assuming Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon both decide to return, the Hoosiers will be bringing back virtually everyone from a tournament team that could score with anyone this past season. They’re also bringing in one of the best big men in the class of 2015 in five-star center Thomas Bryant out of Huntington Prep.

USA Today: No. 20

Barring any surprising departures, the Hoosiers should bring back one of the most talented rosters of any Big Ten team, led by underrated guard Yogi Ferrell (16.3 ppg, 4.9 apg) and James Blackmon Jr., who should hit another level as a sophomore. Forward Troy Williams will also be back and is capable of averaging a double-double with more consistency. Undecided high-level recruit Thon Maker also is considering Indiana.

Filed to:

  • SilentBob

    To some degree yes. But if you consider most top winners also win big and intential fouling doesn’t usually occur until the last two minutes at least… I mean Wisconsin had a better win percentage than Arizona I believe and played stiffer competition in the big ten top to bottom than Arizona did in the pac 12 and Arizona attempted something like 6 and a half more free throws per game. It certainly doesn’t doesn’t explain the lack of free throw production from our “big” men.

  • dwdkc

    JBJr should be much improved. I think some additional strength will make all the difference with his driving game and his legs will stay fresher late in the year and late in games–I see high 40s to 50+ 3 pt %. Also on a better team and with some added maturity he’ll make better decisions; he already is an excellent rebounder. With his relative lack of athleticism, he might be a 3 year guy too. I look for Emmitt and RJ to make some strides–RJ won’t turn it over as much. That freshman/sophomore leap to me (on O and on D) is the biggest reason to be really optimistic, not just relying on a freshman big man. I’m with you in that my biggest concern is the late season regression we’ve seen 3 years in a row.

  • SilentBob

    Not surprising in the slightest. But it just kind of reinforces the idea that relying heavily on three point shooting is a bad idea for consistent success. This is just another area where I think Bryant and a healthy Hanner help a great deal. The two highest quality shots come at the rim and at the line which usually results from quality drives. Our guards are surprisingly good at driving, but with no consistent threat down low there is no one to dish to and allows teams to tighten up on the perimeter which caused us to shoot threes at a lower percentage. Plus the amount of threes and the amount of ball reversals required to get open looks without possessing a solid pick and roll option kill a guards legs. It makes a player like James, who has rather average explosion already, a half step slow.

  • SCHoosier

    Believe comparison between Morgan and O.G. and the other two other players you mentioned….none..nada…zero..not happening..forgetaboutit.

  • Jeremy

    Well neither April or Priller were highly rated. This Morgan kid is a 4 start recruit and if he really is 6-9 255 then hes another big body. Remember Troy was a 4 start recruit.

  • thanks, that’s good to know. All I ever got was deletions of relevant links and the silent treatment.

  • How often do you cheer against IU? Seriously curious, as I know many were disappointed when IU won, and didn’t want them to make the tournament. If all you do is cheer against the team, then you are by definition not a fan. You realize that, right? Would you be upset if they made the Final Four next year? Serious question.

  • I was waiting for kuntecky to get beat first.

  • Missing Moye

    If those are serious questions, I’ll give you serious answers. I have never cheered against the team or wanted them to lose, though I’ll admit to being somewhat apathetic after Northwestern dismantled us. I could see at that point the season wasn’t going to end well, but it had little to do with my feelings about the coach. I was one that wondered, though, if losing out wouldn’t have been better for the long-term interests of the program. I think that’s still a fair question. But I wasn’t actively rooting for it to happen.

    As for next year, I would be ecstatic with a Final Four appearance, I just don’t believe it’s truly possible with the current coaching regime. If we make the Final Four will I turn into a CTC supporter? No, because I don’t think he’s a very good coach (just good at getting talent that requires less coaching than, say, Wisconsin). I would however become much more tolerant of him if he produced some results.

    As Seeing Red pointed out in another thread, so many of the CTC supporters seem to support him for the mere reasons of “we could do worse” or “I don’t want to blow up the team.” I’m not sure I’ve seen too many people claim that Crean is a coaching genius and that his in-game adjustments are top notch. The guy is a pretty average coach, I’m not sure why he continues to get so much support from the fan base, other than the fact that he isn’t Kelvin Sampson.

    Now your turn. Explain to me why Tom Crean is such a good coach and why I should believe that his track record indicates that he is the long term solution at IU. I’m open to reasonable arguments – I just haven’t heard any.

  • Ben thorne

    Agreed. With a Maker commitment, there will be so many great pieces…….hope they all spend the summer together in order to learn about and from each other and keep focused. As CZ said ” I think something pretty special is about to happen at IU” ( or something like that )

  • pcantidote

    Agree that none of the CTC supporters ever say that he is a coaching wizard. I have been tough on him this year for the first time. Nevertheless, I am done with CTC criticism until we see how next year goes. He has all of the pieces and it my view that the entire fan base should throw their weight behind him and see what happens. Obviously if we are mediocre with that roster, he should be out. I think everyone agrees with that.

  • Missing Moye

    I agree that it’s just not productive at this point to bash on CTC – he’s here for better or worse and that isn’t changing. I just took exception to Clyde’s declaration that anyone who thought a coaching change this offseason was an idiot or not a fan somehow or other.

  • Bk39

    Juwan at the time of signing was stated by CTC as being 6-7 1/2 with a wing span of 6-11, most weight references have been 220. OG was 6-7 with a wing span of 7-2 .

  • Fair enough. I’d say a Final Four would be “results.” I totally agree with the loss at Northwestern. I was more pissed off at that, than with any other game of the season, including Purdue. And as I’ve also said repeatedly, I think it’s poor taste and disrespectful to the players to call for a coach’s head in the middle of a (winning) season, especially with promise in the future…which just so happened to play out quite well. The time to talk about coaching changes is after the season is over, not before the tournament is about to begin and big wins need to be had. Final point, which is also something I’ve said repeatedly, all of which I still stand by: win or lose (last year), the coaches get one more year. That’s now.

    And I’ve never said anything about Crean being a great coach. I thought he did a pretty good job this past year for most of the season, considering everything…which is how he should be judged. I think changes needed to be made lots of times; for example, the lack of pressing, the lack of mixing it up down low on defense and over-playing opponents’ bigs, including fouling hard…anything, besides having guards guard 7 footers. Troy’s eye-rolling and missed free throw to stay in the game? Yeah, that. There’s all kinds of stuff I’m critical of, but that doesn’t therefore translate into torpedoing the team and the program because of my personal frustrations, etc. If anything, he should have gotten another year guaranteed just to keep it all together and let things pan out on their own, and out of respect for the players, Yogi in particular. I think Crean did fairly well for most of the season, but seemed to be lacking something at the end. They stopped climbing and plateaued. Hanner and Hartman’s injuries hurt the team. I think the idiots in the crowd booing hurt the team, too, as did the incessant negativity and rumors. I remember in one press conference, players were talking about it being just them against the world. That was a very sad point, the low point of the season…they expressed that they felt abandoned by the fans. That absolutely sucks. IU lost any legitimate claim to being “the best fans,” after all that. That idea is out the window and ain’t coming back, due to the fans’ behavior, directly disproving their own claims about themselves. (would great fans actually talk about themselves that way anyway? no.)

    One more year, here we go. This is going to be a great team, and I think you’ll eventually get on board. I don’t give a damn about whether or not people like the coach, as long as we have a good and clean program, with good players who play an exciting game and start to make tournament runs more regularly. Two years ago was a fluke, this past year was exciting but fell flat at the end. I compare this past year like that when Watford and Hulls and Co. were battling it out, full of heart and passion, before Zeller came in. I supported them fully all through that time, and that made the two following years all the sweeter. Make no mistake, this next season is going to be epic.

  • Do it dude.. You want it to be easy don’t you? You’d make a very good Wisconsin fan or MSU for that matter. Do it, we’ll be just great without you…

  • to clarify, I meant anyone calling for a coaching change …during the (winning) season, with big recruits still in the offing and a chance to win some tournament games still a possibility. Basically, program suicide before the season is actually over is a bad idea. And my venom is mainly aimed at those who admitted to literally cheering against the team. It is now offseason. What a PERFECT time to criticize the coaching! (not like we have much else to discuss until November now)

    And again, I agree with others’ comments above, that if Crean fails to guide this bunch to major success, all bets are off concerning the following season.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Is what you are on via a prescription?

  • Lance76

    Question: if Davis is not able to play long term, does he still get his education under these new rules? If he could play say a year from now, could he not be counted on 2015-2016 player numbers and be counted toward 2016-2017 numbers? Did that make sense? (Don’t take this wrong here, I want him back and soon if he can recover.)

  • Lance76

    We need @ the rim shots including put backs, uncontested threes from good shooters and make more free throws than the other team attempts. Couple that list with move your feet defense and VALUE the ball and we will prevail. Does anyone see Wisconsin in the above description?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think Hanner plays hard and works hard and I think he will absolutely benefit from having Thomas Bryant on the roster…that being said, “he looked damned good by the end of the year” doesn’t really match up with what I remembered or with what the numbers told me. The final 6 games of the season (after a good performance from Hanner and the whole team at a zombie squad in New Jersey):
    -loss at Northwestern: 25 minutes/4 rebounds/4 points on 1-4 shooting/3 turnovers
    -loss to Iowa: 22 minutes/4 rebounds/4 points on 2-4 shooting
    -loss to Michigan State: 19 minutes/3 rebounds/6 points on 3-4 shooting
    -win vs. Northwestern: 17 minutes/4 rebounds/3 points on 1-5 shooting
    -loss to Maryland: DNP
    –loss to Wichita State: 19 minutes/4 rebounds/3 points on 1-3 shooting/2 turnovers

    Again, I’m not ripping Hanner and I’m not suggesting he can’t play an important role for IU next season but I just don’t think he looked great at the end of the season and I’m not sure why anyone should expect him to be great next season based on anything we have seen throughout his collegiate career.

  • BT

    I have a hard time seeing Colin start next year, considering he only started this year when other players were injured, and next year we’re much deeper. Having said that, I still think he’s a 20 minutes per game guy. And considering his off-season improvement, ACL and all, I wouldn’t rule out another tremendous off season of improvement that perhaps does get him in the mix for a starting spot.

  • Realityvill-an

    good comment man. your typical dull post portrays an image that fits your avatar perfectly. dork. why is that people get so offended when fans speak of their disdain for our coaching? keep your blinders on if you want but more and more people are starting to see the “reality”

  • dwdkc

    The reason I think he starts, or at least plays big minutes, is Crean’s preferred style which requires good spacing from outside shooting threats, which Collin gives you–plus he is 6’7″ and will have some beef too for defense vs. say RJ as the 3rd guard on the floor, and the fact that now we will have more wings/bigs vs. true guards. However if we are having a tough time dealing with a good 3-guard team we might have to go small.

  • Outoftheloop

    It is the norm in a competitive world; 1) the law licensing exam, 2) CPA exam, 3) medical licensing exam, 4) election results, 4) Olympic Medal competitions… the list goes on. I firmly believe that you are wrong, the definition of “the best college basketball team in 2015” IS the NCAA Champion!

  • I meant more the second half of the season and not solely statistically. Making big plays at key moments won’t figure into that at all. Nor do the occasional flashes of brilliance. It isn’t a coincidence that each of the losses you pointed out were also games in which Hanner had poor showings statistically. He was also very iffy after that injury and I expect a total recovery by next year.

  • PBzeer

    Until such a time as Crean has a team playing better at the end of the season than at the beginning, I’ll continue to view him as an obstacle to the program ever once again being even close to elite.

  • Devout Hoosier

    His reply was to Guest. Clown/Troll, what’s the difference? Take the chip off the shoulder, IU Nation isn’t out to get you.

  • Bill Graham

    I agree with pretty much everything you said. I agree that JBJr is not yet NBA caliber, but he strikes me as the type of kid that will develop that (plus when Yogi Ferrell is your mentor and your best friend/ practice partner is RJ then that also helps). The one thing I disagree on is DD…look I’m a big DD fan, the kid plays extremely hard and has and still is recovering from something that no kid should ever have to go through. But the last time a player from IU had serious injuries he came back and was used sparingly…we all know who I’m talking about. I’m not saying his capability wont return thats not my point… I hope CTC learns from the past and doesn’t lose another player that goes on to average over 14 pts a game elsewhere.

  • Bill Graham

    Totally agree, he strikes me as the next KD… and I’m sure this will open up a whole different angle… but his guardian is saying that he might wait till December to play…mainly b.c. he wont have to go to class. If that is the case….dare I say it….I’m not sure I’d want him to be a Hoosier…
    “WHAT!” you may say, “THATS CRAZY!” but here’s why…
    we aren’t Kentucky. We want players that actually go to class. And although one and done’ s are nice… they jeopardize your ability to build longevity within a program…Personally, I respect programs like Wisconsin a heck of a lot more than Kentucky. Case end point. I’ll take an experienced senior (somebody like Kaminsky) over a freshman Maker that doesn’t go to class and is gone after 3 months.

  • Hey ‘Simpleton’.. I would like to stay here and banter with you, but I have something much more rewarding I have to do.. I’m going to go, ‘drop the kids off at the pool’.. Funny thing man, I’m certain there going to look and smell just like you.. You are one really bright dude.. I am so impressed.