Devin Davis (10 points, nine rebounds), Noah Vonleh (11 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks) and Jeremy Hollowell (16 points, four rebounds and four blocks) met with the media following IU’s season opening 100-72 win over Chicago State on Friday night at Assembly Hall.
Watch their postgame comments in the embedded media player below:
Forget the fact that Chicago State went 11-22 last season and started the year 1-12 against Division I competition. The Indiana Hoosiers believe they are in for a significant test tonight in their regular season opener to the 2013-2014 season.
Though Chicago State has not necessarily had the on-court success that typically garners the respect of an opponent — the Cougars are 21-74 in their past three seasons — Indiana has taken notice. And the Hoosiers think they are in for a battle.
“I mean, when you’re going against a pressure team, you have to play basketball,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Thursday. “It’s going to be very good for us to have to do that.”
So, why has Crean taken notice of the challenge Chicago State’s pressure may present? After the Hoosiers turned the ball over 33 times in their two exhibitions, they are now facing a team that ranked in the top in the NCAA last season in steals per game (9.42). Even though it is a new season, the Cougars return eight seniors and many of their rotation players from last year. Indiana, in contrast, has only one returning starter and four upperclassmen.
Combine the age difference and experience factor with Chicago State’s defense prowess, and the Hoosiers believe they have a challenge on their hands.
Rosemont, Ill. — Only one starter remains from last year’s Indiana squad that fell to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen: Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell.
And it’s a loss that fueled his summer, one that’s seen him improve across the board.
“I don’t think there’s any question that the way the season ended at Syracuse, and the way that they played him — especially off ball screens and in the zone — has helped propel him to making points,” said Tom Crean on the podium. “In the sense of: He’s going to become a better shooter off the dribble, he’s going to become a better shooter off the catch, he’s going to become even better off the ball screen. His shooting has improved tremendously. There’s been nobody that has come in that gets paid to evaluate that hasn’t made a comment about his improvement — especially on the offensive side.”
In a later breakout session, Crean admitted he never really gets over a disappointing loss like IU’s in last season’s Sweet Sixteen, but that it also can’t deter the program going forward.
In our first extended look at the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers, the outcome was a 83-68 win over Division II Southern Indiana at Assembly Hall on Saturday night.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from Indiana’s exhibition win:
· Yogi Ferrell’s jump shot looks improved: It’s only one game against a Division II opponent, but Yogi Ferrell looks ready to show off an improved perimeter game. As a freshman, Ferrell was inconsistent from behind the 3-point arc, but in his 2013-2014 debut, his elevation off the floor and confidence were both on display. Ferrell finished with a team-high 20 points and hit six 3-pointers, most of which came in the flow of the offense. Tom Crean was pleased with Ferrell’s shot selection and scoring production. “I think the whole key is take what the game is giving you, and Yogi is good enough where that’s got to be the key,” Crean said. “The shooting was excellent, the way that he got them.”
· Troy Williams is oozing with potential: Go back and watch some of the plays Williams made on Saturday night and you’ll understand why he was once considered a top ten prospect nationally in the 2013 class. He’s explosive off the dribble and fearless going to the rim. Williams even knocked down a 3-pointer in his Indiana debut, which is a part of his game that he’ll need to continue developing to keep defenses honest. When the lights went down for the night, Williams had amassed 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. “I felt like he played with high energy,” Yogi Ferrell said of the freshman wing. “The thing that I really like that he does is attack the offensive rim. We got 21 offensive rebounds tonight, a lot on his end.”
· Vonleh will play multiple positions: If you thought Indiana would slot Noah Vonleh into one position, think again. The Hoosier staff is going to move Vonleh around, which should only help to expand the versatility that is already present in his game. When Indiana goes small, Vonleh will log minutes at the five, but he can also slide to the four or the three and play alongside Luke Fischer or Hanner Mosquera-Perea. Vonleh was relentless on the glass Saturday night as he finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, two steals and a block.
With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we look at sophomore Jeremy Hollowell.
If the early returns from practice are indicative of what’s to come for Jeremy Hollowell, he’s in line for a major increase in his role as a sophomore in Bloomington.
In his recent address to students at the IU auditorium, Tom Crean said that Hollowell was the team’s leading scorer through the first five practices, but added that his efficiency wasn’t where it needed to be. Crean caveated these statements by saying that “five days of stats is not a big deal. It’s the level of what he’s capable of: that’s what the big deal is.”
Talent has never been a question for Hollowell. At 6-foot-8, he’s versatile enough to play multiple positions and score the ball from a variety of areas. He’s long, reasonably athletic and competes, despite criticism from some that his body language is indicative of a player who is sometimes disinterested. Whether that last piece has any truth to it will be answered this season as Hollowell will shift from a role player to a guy who is being counted on for production on both ends of the floor.
“We need Jeremy to continue to put himself in a spot where he’s not quiet,” Crean said at his auditorium speech. “Where he understands that he’s going to absolutely be — it’s going to be counted upon, demanded upon — that he’s going to be a paramount defensive player for us.”
Hollowell’s prowess defensively will ultimately determine just how large of a role he’s able to carve out on an Indiana team that only has three certainties in the starting lineup as of now. He showed flashes of his ability to defend last season, but will have to become more consistently engaged to become, as Crean described, “paramount.”