The No. 1 Hoosiers seemed to lack energy early in Monday night’s game against North Dakota State. They were out of position at times on defense, and they too often settled for contested shots.
But in the second half, that energy level picked up. Indiana was flying around and making hustle plays, finally giving the large Assembly Hall crowd a reason to cheer. A primary reason for the change was sophomore guard Remy Abell.
Abell was impressive in the Hoosiers’ 87-61 victory, continuing to make a case that he deserves significant minutes on a deep Indiana team. He scored 14 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting — including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc — and pulled down five rebounds in only 17 minutes. Abell has yet to miss a shot from the field this season as was 2-of-2 and scored 12 points in Friday’s season opener.
“He’s been doing that all summer. It doesn’t surprise me,” fellow sophomore Cody Zeller said. “He’s made a lot of improvements. That’s big for us.”
At one point in the second half when he had just gone on his own 8-0 run, Abell made a fist-pump gesture as he looked into the crowd.
“This place is always crazy, full of energy,” Abell said, smiling. “I just wanted to help it out. I just wanted to make it more. Why not?”
Indiana coach Tom Crean said Abell has made considerable improvements in his game since the end of last season. The Louisville, Ky. native averaged three points per game during his freshman campaign.
“When he went home [last summer], he worked with his old high school coach, and when he came back in June, he was tremendous,” Crean said. “He did a pretty good job with the opportunities that he had last year, but he’s earned the right. There’s a lot of room for improvement. Tonight, [the scoring] was because his defense was going.”
Tom Crean, sophomore guard Remy Abell (14 points, five rebounds), freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell (14 points) and sophomore center Cody Zeller (22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks) met with the media following IU’s 87-61 win over North Dakota State on Monday night at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to all three press conferences in the embedded media players below:
The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.
Steven Harris writes: IU clearly has a lot of depth at positions 1-3, but there doesn’t seem to be as much room to cope with foul trouble or injury in the front court. How well do you think Jurkin and Perea can perform in the B1G this year if we need to call their numbers more than anticipated?
Steven, you raise an interesting and potentially valid point, but Indiana does have the best player in the country in the front court in Cody Zeller. And the foul trouble problem was mostly avoided a season ago by Zeller. That makes the need for backup time at the five probably at no more than 8-10 minutes per game.
To date in the preseason, Hanner Mosquera-Perea has been hampered by a foot problem and Peter Jurkin has participated in both public scrimmage events, but has a broken nose. And the news of a torn meniscus for Derek Elston took a rotation player out of the front court depth chart for now. Based on what I’ve seen of both Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin, I think both players would be fine playing minutes off the bench once the conference season rolls around. Jurkin has plenty of work to do offensively, but he’s a capable defender and will hold his own on the glass. Elston should be back by the time Big Ten rolls around, so that will also help the depth up front.
Side note: The mailbag received several inquiries to address the eligibility status of Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin and at this point, there’s nothing to report. Tom Crean was asked by a reporter at Big Ten Media Day if both players had been cleared to play by the NCAA and gave this response: “Everything we’re going through with those guys right now has been the same stuff that we’ve been going with ongoing. We’ve always had a plan for how we deal with all of that. That’s how it’s been, the whole way.” — Alex Bozich
Matt Uhl writes: How do Yogi and Jordy get the looks they want in the same offense?
I actually don’t see this being much of a problem. Yogi Ferrell is very much a pass-first point guard, and I think that will be even more the case given the weapons on this team. I believe Yogi will be satisfied no matter how many shots he gets, as long as he is running the offense effectively.
Hulls will get plenty of shots, both in the transition game and as a result of penetration and/or screens. Also, with the pace IU plans to play at, there should be plenty of shots to go around. — Justin Albers
Matt Marbaugh writes: Do you have any hope of zeller staying 1 more year?
There’s hope, Matt. Here’s why: Zeller’s different. From all available evidence, he’s not dying to jump to the pros like his contemporaries with similar promise.
As a likely lottery pick after his 2011-12 freshman campaign, he chose to come back to IU for another season. And Tom Crean’s comparison of Zeller to Andrew Luck — a top-rated quarterback at Stanford after his sophomore season who came back for a junior year — at Big Ten Media Day last week was another indication it’s no sure thing Zeller will make the leap.
Crean said that he sees Zeller being similar to Luck “especially when it comes to decision making.”
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, our final profile: Jeremy Hollowell.
After a highly successful high school career at Lawrence Central that included a spot on the Indiana All-Stars, a top 50 national ranking and participation in both the NBPA Top 100 camp and adidas Nations, Jeremy Hollowell arrives in Bloomington with plenty of accolades under his belt.
But the sense you get from watching Hollowell is that he’s still a player with plenty of untapped potential and room for growth. At 6-foot-8 and 217 pounds, he’s the most versatile of IU’s 2012 recruits because he can play and guard multiple positions. He’s been frequently compared to IU senior Christian Watford because of his size and laid back demeanor, but Hollowell comes with a more polished floor game than Watford had as a freshman.
His most natural position is on the wing, but he’s an adequate enough ball handler to spend time at the two and if Indiana ever elects to go small, he’s capable of crashing the glass and spending time at the four as well. Offensive rebounding was a big part of Hollowell’s game in AAU and high school. With Tom Crean always looking for more second chance scoring opportunities, it could be something that helps the freshman wing gain more playing time.
Another major strength of Hollowell’s offensive game is the plethora of ways he can score. He’s a very good perimeter and midrange shooter, is efficient in transition and can take smaller defenders into the post.
He’s already made significant strength gains since arriving in Bloomington in June and working with Je’Ney Jackson will be key in helping him adjust to the physical play that awaits in the Big Ten. The challenge as a freshman for Hollowell is finding time at positions that are already producing at a high level for the Hoosiers. Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey, starters on IU’s Sweet 16 team a season ago, are back, as is Watford.
Indiana’s highly ranked 2012 recruiting class — Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin and Yogi Ferrell — met with reporters as a group Thursday at IU’s annual media challenge. The group talked about a variety of topics including the adjustment to college life, the speed of the college game, their progress since arriving on campus and more.
Watch and listen to their comments in the embedded media player below: