Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 88-52 win over Florida Atlantic at Assembly Hall on Friday. Crean addressed Jeremy Hollowell’s absence, the play of freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea, the growth of Victor Oladipo and more.
Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:
I. This was the performance from Cody Zeller some were waiting for. Getting the ball early. Attacking. Making moves in the post and looking to finish strong. Even hitting a 16-footer. Couple this with his typical scores on the break, and it lead to a season-high 24 points in 22 minutes. To top it off? The Washington product, who has had some early-season struggles from the line was near perfect on the evening (12-of-13). (Aside: Zeller did get his shot blocked somewhat emphatically by smaller players twice.)
Christian Watford also played a particularly aggressive game out of the post and connected on 2-of-4 from distance on the evening to score 17 points.
II. Welcome to the floor, Peter Jurkin. It appears any talk of the Sudan native redshirting will now be laid to rest. (Jeremy Hollowell on the other hand? He sat the full 40 for a second consecutive game.) Jurkin’s hands were at issue in the preseason — if you remember, his elder buddy, Derek Elston, came up with the idea of playing baseball catch with him — and it reared its head early. Jurkin mishandled a rebound off a Florida Atlantic free throw and it fell out of bounds. Jurkin also had a smaller Florida Atlantic player make a move and score over him. But this much is certain about him: He’s tall. Really tall. (Analysis!) If he’s able to work into the speed of the college game and find his groove a bit, some decent reserve minutes may still be in store for him. You can’t teach that size and length.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea made his third appearance this evening and threw down his first dunk — with authority — off a pick-and-roll with Watford. He also had a nice tip-in. But here’s the key number: The freshman had 10 rebounds in 13 minutes. He’s an excellent leaper and it allows him to get up high and snatch misses off the rim. If the trust is there come Big Ten season, this sort of skill could certainly come in handy in close games for the Hoosiers, allowing for second chances on the offensive end and closing out opponent possessions on the other side of the ball.
There’s still a lot of teaching moments with these guys. In the second half, Jordan Hulls fired a pass into Mosquera-Perea that led him toward the rim. The freshman didn’t get his hands on it. He was subbed out. Kenny Johnson stopped him before he sat down on the bench and looked to be instructing him on what to do next time around. There were also times when their teammates had words of instruction for them during stoppages in play.
It’s a quick turnaround for Indiana as the Hoosiers return to Branch McCracken Court on Friday night for a meeting with Florida Atlantic. The Owls (5-6) are coming off a 69-68 loss at home to Stetson. Indiana will be looking for its 16th consecutive win at Assembly Hall.
The game will be televised on ESPN2.
The competition doesn’t figure to stiffen much for Indiana until the Big Ten season tips off on Dec. 31, but the Hoosiers will round out the non-conference schedule with a pair of Friday games with Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville.
FAU is up first and the Owls are led by former George Washington and St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis, who produced a winning season and NIT birth in 2011-2012, but has otherwise struggled to gain momentum in Boca Raton. This season doesn’t look promising as Florida Atlantic was picked to finish just fourth in the east division of the Sun Belt.
Indiana will once again get the challenge of trying to contain one of the nation’s leading scorers as FAU features senior guard Greg Gantt (pictured), who is averaging 21.5 points. Gantt is shooting an identical percentage on 2-point and 3-point field goal attempts (42.7) and the distribution of his attempts is pretty equal as well (104 2-point attempts vs. 82 3-point attempts).
The absence of Moody means that Jarvis will need more offensive production from guard Pablo Bertone (7.1 ppg), guard Jackson Trapp (6.5 ppg) and forward Jordan McCoy (5.3 ppg) if the Owls hope to keep things competitive on Friday. Trapp has a solid assist rate (20.2), but is turnover prone (33 in 11 games) and McCoy is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.4 per game.
Two of the major recruiting services — ESPN.com and Scout.com — have updated their national rankings in recent days and several Indiana commitments and targets were shuffled up and down the respective lists.
Stanford Robinson, Indiana’s highest ranked recruit in the 2013 class, moved from No. 54 on Scout to No. 56 and remained a four-star prospect. Robinson rose five spots from No. 60 to No. 55 on ESPN and kept his four-star status.
Luke Fischer, who by most accounts had a very productive summer, fell from No. 74 on Scout to unranked in the top 100 and from No. 92 on ESPN to unranked.