Class of 2014 Marion guard and IU signee James Blackmon Jr. will try to make it a fourth consecutive year in which the Hoosiers have signed a McDonald’s All-American.
Blackmon Jr. was one of close to 1,000 nominees named for the game on Tuesday morning that will be played on Apr. 2 at the United Center in Chicago. The 24-man roster will be announced on Jan. 29 at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Cody Zeller was the first McDonald’s All-American to sign with Indiana under Tom Crean in 2011, followed by Yogi Ferrell in 2012 and Noah Vonleh in 2013.
Blackmon Jr. is considered a serious contender to make the final roster, but has stiff competition at the guard spot including Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall), Rashad Vaughn (undecided), D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State), Grayson Allen (Duke), Dion Wiley (Maryland) and Devin Booker (Kentucky).
Former Indiana center Luke Fischer is making a move closer to home.
The 6-foot-10 Wisconsin native announced via his Twitter account on Sunday morning that he is transferring to Marquette. Fischer said he also considered UW-Milwaukee and Creighton.
“I am excited to say I will be transferring to Marquette University to play for Coach (Buzz) Williams and the Golden Eagles,” Fischer said on Twitter. “Marquette allows me to be closer to home while playing at the highest level for a great academic institution.”
Fischer, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13 non-conference games, announced that he would leave Indiana on Dec. 30, just a day before the Big Ten opener at Illinois.
Fischer, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13 non-conference games for IU, said on his Twitter account on Wednesday evening that “out of respect for coach (Tom) Crean and Indiana University, I will not be considering any Big 10 schools during this process.”
Reports earlier in the day on Wednesday suggested that Fischer could consider schools like Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, but that will not be the case.
Indiana fans might like to forget the last time the Hoosiers played in Champaign, Ill.
On Feb. 7 earlier this year, the then-No. 1 Hoosiers went into Illinois and collapsed, losing on a buzzer-beating layup to an unranked Illini squad. Almost 11 months later, on the final day of the calendar year at 3 p.m. ET today, the two teams will face off again at the State Farm Center.
This time, though, it will be under a completely different set of circumstances.
Both teams have undergone significant changes heading into today’s Big Ten opener. Illinois (11-2) lost three of its five leading scorers in seniors D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey, and Indiana (10-3) lost four of its five starters over the offseason.
And while both teams are unranked in the early goings of the 2013-2014 season, each has adjusted to their new set of circumstances. Which makes today’s game that much more interesting: It’s a test to gauge where both teams are at right now.
“In order for us to win, we’ve just got to stay together,” sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell said on Monday before the team left for Champaign. “Don’t get into all the hype, all the outside stuff. We know it’s going to be loud in there, even more than last year. So we’re ready for it.”
Freshman center Luke Fischer is no longer enrolled at Indiana University, Indiana announced in a press release Monday afternoon.
“Luke has decided to withdraw from Indiana and pursue another educational and basketball opportunity,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in the release. “He explained to us he is looking for a different fit for him. We hate to see a fine young man like Luke leave, but he has made his decision and we wish the entire Fischer family well.”
Fischer had played in all 13 of Indiana’s games this season and averaged 2.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 10 minutes per game.
In his most recent outing on Dec. 22 against Kennesaw State, Fischer recorded a career-high 10 points and also had three blocks.
Indiana closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a comfortable 90-66 win over Kennesaw State on Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s tenth win of the season:
· Yogi’s consistency: Through 13 games, sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell has scored in double figures in every contest and has six games with five or more assists. One of our biggest questions going into the season was ‘How will Ferrell’s game evolve as a sophomore?’
The answer is that he’s increased his scoring responsibilities significantly without diminishing his ability to distribute the ball. On Sunday, Ferrell poured in 25 points, one shy of his career-high, and also had five assists.
“I’m trying to find different outlets and just find different ways to score,” Ferrell said postgame when asked about finding his consistency with scoring. “I’m kind of just playing the game really. Just trying to make the game as simple as possible.”
· Fischer continues to build confidence: It wasn’t a breakout game, but freshman Luke Fischer appears to be on his way to an important role in IU’s rotation with Big Ten play beginning next week. Through 13 games, Fischer is averaging just 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10 minutes per game, but his minutes are on the upswing in recent weeks.
Long before this season even started, much had been made about Yogi Ferrell’s improvements over the summer: how much his game and leadership had improved, how perhaps his shooting, specifically, had come a long way. And how his newfound scoring potential would be a significant need for a team that lost 77 percent of its 3-point shooting production from only one season ago.
Well, 13 games into Indiana’s 2013-2014 season, Ferrell has become that overall player the Hoosiers have desperately needed. He has scored double digits in every game he’s played thus far. He has at least had two assists in every game this season.
And on Sunday, in the Hoosiers’ non-conference finale against Kennesaw State, Ferrell once again showed how valuable of an asset he could be to the Hoosiers. His 25 points off 8-of-12 shooting (3-of-6 on three-pointers), six rebounds and five assists paced Indiana (10-3) in its 90-66 win over the Owls.
“(He) just played at a high speed and played,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Ferrell. “Made the game easier for his teammates. If it was there, he passed it. If it wasn’t, he shot it. It sounds mundane and simple, and maybe for him it is that simple.”
Indiana picked up its eighth win over the season in convincing fashion on Tuesday night with an 81-54 rout of Oakland at Assembly Hall.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the victory over the Golden Grizzlies:
·Indiana’s first half offense was stellar: Indiana fans were spoiled by the team’s offense the past two seasons. Game in and game out, the Hoosiers produced an offense that was high scoring, efficient and a lot of fun to watch.
This season, it’s decidedly different as Indiana has stretches where it looks great and then goes long periods without producing a field goal. Against Oakland, the Hoosiers were very good in the first half, scoring 1.41 points per possession and posting an effective field goal percentage of 66.6.
So why was Indiana effective offensively through the game’s first 20 minutes?
You can certainly point to the 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting by Evan Gordon as a reason, but Troy Williams (4-of-6), Jeremy Hollowell (3-of-5) and Noah Vonleh (3-of-5) all pitched in to give the Hoosiers balance. We’ve written plenty about Indiana needing consistent scoring options beyond Yogi Ferrell and Vonleh and last night, seven different players scored six or more points, led by Gordon’s season-high 26.
·Gordon gaining confidence: He’s received far less notoriety than his older brother Eric and even his younger brother, Eron, but Evan Gordon is finding his niche as a scorer off the bench for an Indiana team that desperately needs the production.