Offseason update: Could not having Ferrell and Sheehey actually be a good thing?

070913Considering how much experience Indiana lost at the end of last season, it would seem losing veteran leaders like Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell to the World University Games would temporarily halt the Hoosiers’ offseason back in Bloomington.

After all, without Sheehey and Ferrell, there are few players that have been around for more than a year. Sheehey and Ferrell are expected to lead the team next season, and they aren’t around to instill their will on the incoming freshmen.

But perhaps their absence can actually be viewed as a good thing. With Sheehey and Ferrell gone, other guys have been forced to step up.

“You don’t have Will and Yogi out there as much right now so it’s allowed some younger players to be vocal, to go ahead and know that’s the expectation,” associate head coach Steve McClain told the media on Tuesday. “It’s also allowed Jeremy [Hollowell], Hanner [Mosquera-Perea], who would probably take a little backseat to Will and to Yogi right now, to step up and be that returning veteran even though they’re only sophomores.

“It’s been a good mix to have those guys be away for a little bit.”

Earlier this summer, Tom Crean talked at length about how guys like Hollowell and Mosquera-Perea had to develop ‘desires to compete’ during the offseason. With many of last season’s leaders now either graduated, in the NBA or out of the country, Hollowell and Mosquera-Perea have had more of an opportunity to spread their wings and experiment a bit.

Specifically, associate head coach Tim Buckley said Mosquera-Perea has really had a strong offseason, for a couple of key reasons.

“I think anyone’s better doing something once they’ve already been through it,” Buckley said Tuesday. “How would you feel if you were Hanner and you had to walk in there every day and had to go against Cody Zeller? Would that really boost your confidence on a daily basis? Probably not. But he kept fighting and he kept working and he kept getting through it. And now what you see is a guy that’s much more confident because he’s been through that.”

If the Hoosiers are to remain a top 10 or 15 team next season, guys like Mosquera-Perea will have to dramatically increase their production from a year ago. He’s certainly got the talent to do so, but he looked uncomfortable on the court for much of his freshman year.

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Video: Will Sheehey World University Games highlights

Will Sheehey scored in double digits against both United Arab Emirates (15 points) and the Czech Republic (10 points) for Team USA in pool play at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.

Two minutes of highlights from his performance in both games are below:

Video: Yogi Ferrell World University Games highlights

Yogi Ferrell posted a combined 22 points and 17 assists in blowout wins against United Arab Emirates and the Czech Republic on Sunday and Monday for Team USA at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.

Here are four minutes of highlights from both games:

What to watch for: July evaluation period

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(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

The first of three five-day July evaluation periods begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Inside the Hall takes you through five things we’ll be watching for as college coaches hit the trail to evaluate prospects:

· The pursuit of Goodluck: It’s no secret that Indiana is in hot pursuit of class of 2014 big man Goodluck Okonoboh. The Hoosiers have recruited the nation’s top shot blocker as diligently as anyone in recent months. And as a close friend of Noah Vonleh, it’s safe to say Okonoboh is well versed in what Indiana has to offer as a program. The first chance to see Okonoboh up close this summer for coaches will be Thursday morning in Indianapolis as the Mass Rivals, an adidas AAU program that also produced Vonleh, will play in the adidas Invitational. Okonoboh is a potential program changer defensively because of his shot blocking prowess.

· How will Indiana fill out the rest of 2014? The Hoosiers already have a great start to the 2014 class with Marion guard James Blackmon Jr. But the potential for another top 10 (or higher) class is there with Okonoboh, Dante Exum, LeRon Black, Devin Robinson, Phil Booth and several others still on the board. Exum doesn’t figure in for July because he won’t play in any NCAA certified events, but everyone else listed will and how closely each player is tracked this month could shed a little more light on who the top priorities are. July was a pivotal month last year in IU’s pursuit of Vonleh and Troy Williams and we may look back in a few months and say the same about this July and IU’s top 2014 targets.

· Blackmon Jr.’s rise: Speaking of Blackmon Jr., his play in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) has been a big reason he’s now in the top 25 of ESPN’s rankings. The future IU guard can continue his ascent with a strong showing in the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam, which tip off Thursday in North Augusta, South Carolina. In what is considered the highest level of competition on the AAU scene, Blackmon Jr. enters the Peach Jam with the following numbers: 19.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He leads the EYBL in 3-pointers made with 56.

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Team USA moves to 2-0 in World University Games

070813chxIndiana senior Will Sheehey scored 10 points and sophomore Yogi Ferrell had seven as Team USA moved to 2-0 in the 2013 World University Games with a 96-53 win over the Czech Republic in Kazan, Russia on Monday.

Sheehey was one of four Americans in double figures and shot 4-of-5 from the field. Creighton’s Doug McDermott led all scorers with 23 points and Louisville’s Luke Hancock added 15 points.

Ferrell followed up his record setting 13-assist game on Sunday against the United Arab Emirates with four assists.

But it was Ferrell’s energy and defense off the bench that was even more important, according to one of his teammates.

“I think Yogi [Ferrell] definitely came in the game and gave us a lot of intensity in picking up the ball full court and getting some steals and putting a lot of pressure on the ball,” Michigan State’s Adreian Payne told USABasketball.com.

The Indiana point guard shot 3-of-6 from the field and had just one turnover in 19 minutes. Sheehey had four rebounds and four assists in 15 minutes.

Both players are coming off the bench for Team USA, which is looking for its first gold medal in the World University Games since 2005.

“I think we understand what the rotation is,” Team USA coach Bob McKillop told USABasketball.com. “We’re also trying to conserve energy and trying different combinations. The combination of looking to have our energy at our best and which are the best combinations is an ongoing process.”

Team USA didn’t shoot particularly well from the field (42.7 percent), but limited the Czech Republic, which fell to 0-2, to just 31.3 percent shooting.

The Americans have three more pool play games — Sweden on Wednesday, Australia on Thursday and Canada on Friday — before the quarterfinals begin on Sunday.

The top two teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals.

(Photo credit: USA Basketball)

Video: Oladipo shines in NBA Summer League debut

Yogi Ferrell sets single-game assist record as Team USA rolls past United Arab Emirates

062913bcxwIndiana sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell set a single-game assist record on Sunday as Team USA rolled past the United Arab Emirates, 140-46, in its opener of the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia.

Ferrell finished with 15 points, 13 assists and four steals and as a team, the U.S. set single-game records with 36 assists, 70 rebounds and 39 attempted 3-pointers.

“We played awesome,” Ferrell told USABasketball.com. “I knew we were going to share the ball very well, passing it to each other up the court and everyone was knocking down shots. When we’re playing like that, being unselfish, having fun, we can win big like that.”

Indiana junior Will Sheehey was one of eight other Americans in double figures with 15 points. Sheehey finished 7-of-13 from the field and also had four rebounds and two assists.

It was an important bounce back win for Team USA, which fell to Russia, 93-67, in its final tune-up for the World University Games on Friday.

“I feel like we got better, especially from that loss in the scrimmage,” Ferrell said. “We got our confidence back, and this is a big win for us. It definitely brought us closer together as a team.”

Team USA will continue play in Pool C on Monday as it meets the Czech Republic. The game will be shown live on ESPNU at 5 a.m. ET.

Today’s win will be shown three times on ESPNU: Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET, Monday morning at 3 a.m. ET and Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. ET.