The transformation Troy Williams made between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Indiana was significant.
The 6-foot-7 forward went from a player Big Ten defenses were often able to take away as a freshman to one that carried the Hoosiers at times as a sophomore because of his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.
Williams improved his efficiency offensively, cut his turnover percentage by more than five percent, led Indiana in rebounding and showcased a much more polished stroke from the foul line and occasionally from behind the 3-point arc.
When Williams played well last season, so did the Hoosiers in most cases. In Indiana’s nine Big Ten wins, he averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game.
His improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons gave Williams the opportunity to explore his NBA draft options at the end of this past season, but he chose to return to Bloomington to continue to grow his game. He is also on schedule to earn his degree next summer.
With its top eight scorers returning and the arrival of a three-man recruiting class featuring McDonald’s All-American Thomas Bryant, there’s great optimism surrounding IU basketball as the Hoosiers prepare for the 2015-2016 season.
But as Williams sees it, the approach won’t change much this offseason from last even with greater expectations present.
Associate head coach Tim Buckley, along with assistant coach Chuck Martin and director of basketball operations Rob Judson, took questions from the media on Monday afternoon at Assembly Hall and discussed a variety of topics.
We’ve compiled some notes and quotes from that media sessions which are available below:
· Martin, who was essential in the Thomas Bryant recruitment, was asked about the impact he expects the McDonald’s All-American to make on the program next season.
“I just think he’s a kid that fits the culture here at IU. He’s a great teammate,” Martin explained. “All about the hustle plays, committed teammate. Obviously his size plays a major role in how he can impact the program, but more importantly, I just think who he is as a person is the most significant thing. His energy, his thought process, being a part of a locker room. I think those things really help.”
· Buckley also discussed Bryant at length and compared his personality to that of Victor Oladipo, but said that he’s not as flamboyant. He mentioned Bryant’s personality and discussed how it might help IU defensively and also made it a point that Yogi Ferrell needs to hold his teammates more accountable on that end as a senior.
In order to get the most thorough investigation of his options following the conclusion of his junior season, Yogi Ferrell needed time.
With the help of his father, Kevin Ferrell Sr., and the IU coaching staff, Ferrell gathered as much information as possible to assist him in a pivotal decision: whether to return to college for his senior season or pursue a professional career.
His decision, announced on Sunday, April 26, was to come back to Bloomington for one more year. Ultimately, Ferrell said on Wednesday, the opportunity at IU next season on what should be a preseason top 15 was too much to pass up.
“I felt like I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity like this at Indiana,” he explained in a media availability at Assembly Hall. “Such a great place, I feel like I’ve had the best time of my life here. Best memories, best teammates, best friends. The next level is always going to be one of my dreams and I’m still going to be pursuing that dream and I feel like that dream is still going to be there at the end of the day.”
Ferrell, who has a chance to cement himself as one of the best four-year players in IU history, believes all of the feedback he received during this process will aid him tremendously as he prepares for his final season.
He noted that “maybe half” of the NBA teams he heard from projected him as a second round “at best” had he declared for June’s draft. He also said a couple of teams told him they want to see him “mix it up” as both a scorer and facilitator as a senior at IU.
The NBA draft early entry deadline has passed and only a few top 100 recruits remain uncommitted in the class of 2015. That means many of the ridiculously early preseason top 25 lists for the 2015-2016 college basketball season are being updated.
Here’s a quick roundup of where Indiana checks in on the top 25s that have been updated this week:
In March, Indiana fans were so openly displeased with coach Tom Crean that his athletic director, Fred Glass, was forced to give him an open vote of confidence. In April, the fans might well share Glass’s view. Everything has gone right for the Hoosiers lately, from the signing of top center prospect Thomas Bryant — a desperately needed infusion of size — to the returns of James Blackmon, Robert Johnson,Troy Williams, and Yogi Ferrell. The latter was by far the most important, and also the most hotly debated; Ferrell, despite a second-round-or-Europe draft projection, was apparently very much on the fence before deciding to return to school last week. Ferrell now has a real chance to leave IU as one of its most productive players in history. His team — if it can defend even semi-competently — has a real chance to push Maryland for both the conference’s actual title and the most stunning perceptual repair effort crown, which is a thing we just made up.
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 — especially with Yogi Ferrell returning.
Freshman center Jeremiah April is leaving Indiana, the program announced today.
Indiana confirmed the news of his departure in a release.
“Jeremiah informed us earlier of his desire to seek a different situation for himself,” Tom Crean said in a release. “He would like an increased role and we are not able to ensure him this would happen. Our hope is that he will reach his potential wherever he chooses to go.”
April, a native of Joliet, Illinois who played at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, Arizona, played in just four games as a freshman.
Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell has confirmed that he’ll return to Bloomington for his senior season. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported his return early Sunday morning.
Ferrell postponed a scheduled announcement on Saturday evening following the death of IU student Hannah N. Wilson.
Here’s the full release issued on his decision to return:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – All-Big Ten guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has announced that he will return for his senior year at Indiana University.
“Like several other student-athletes in the game of basketball, I have considered the option of leaving college early to join the professional ranks,” said Ferrell. “I have considered many factors, including my family, my education, the game I love, and my goals in life. I would like to thank my family and friends, Coach Crean and his staff, my academic advisor, Marni Mooney, and my teammates for their contributions to my decision-making process.”
“At the end of the day, I have decided that it is in my best interests to continue my education, to build on my involvement in the community, and to improve my skills as a basketball player as a member of the 2015-16 IU Men’s Basketball Team,” Ferrell noted.
Indiana junior point guard Yogi Ferrell will return to Indiana for his senior season, according to a report from Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.
Ferrell has not commented on his plans for next season. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft is Sunday, April 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Ferrell’s return would be a big deal for the Hoosiers as he was a first team All-Big Ten selection for the 2014-2015 season. He was IU’s leading scorer at 16.3 points per game and also hit a team-high 82 3-pointers. He led the Big Ten in assists at 5.2 per game.
Ferrell currently ranks 22nd all-time on the Indiana scoring list with 1,379 points over three seasons. He has appeared in 102 games and has a streak of 65 consecutive games with a 3-pointer made, an IU record and the longest active streak in the NCAA.