6-foot-11 freshman center Luke Fischer is out for the next few weeks with a left shoulder sprain, Indiana announced via a press release Thursday afternoon. Fischer suffered the sprain during a scrimmage earlier this week.
Also noted is that Peter Jurkin and Austin Etherington are expected back for the start of official practice this week. Both missed a significant amount of playing time last season due to injury.
Below the jump is the entire release, which includes information on a Tom Crean preseason lecture next week:
All six Indiana freshmen – Collin Hartman, Devin Davis, Luke Fischer, Noah Vonleh, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams – met with the media on Friday afternoon to discuss their progress since arriving in Bloomington earlier this summer.
Among the topics discussed: The biggest adjustments from high school to college, leadership, Indiana’s youth as a team next season, gains in the weight room and more. Both press conferences are available below:
We took an early look at the 2013-2014 backcourt on Monday and today, the focus shifts to the frontcourt, where Indiana is also faced with substantial changes. We’ll have comprehensive player-by-player previews this fall, but here’s an early look at some of the storylines to keep an eye on with next season’s frontcourt:
— Sheehey’s shift from sixth man to a primary option: After starting just 19 games over his first three seasons and earning the Big Ten’s sixth man of the year award as a junior, Will Sheehey will be in for a significant change in his role as a senior. Sheehey has steadily improved his offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) over his first three seasons and Indiana will need him to continue his efficient play if it hopes to have a strong Big Ten finish again. His free throw (70.4 percent as a sophomore, 65.6 percent as a junior) and 3-point shooting percentages (38.3 percent as a sophomore, 34.6 percent as a junior) dipped a season ago and are two areas he’ll need to improve upon.
Sheehey has always been one of the best in the conference at moving without the ball, but without guys like Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford for opposing defenses to key on, he’ll become a focus on the scouting report and will be called upon to create more shots on his own. With a strong offseason that included trips to Colorado Springs and Kazan, Russia, for the World University Games and Los Angeles for adidas Nations, Sheehey had a busy offseason and appears poised for his best season yet at Indiana.
— Vonleh’s arrival and impact: For the third straight winter, Indiana will welcome a McDonald’s All-American to its roster. Noah Vonleh, who won’t turn 18 until this Saturday, is a physical presence that can impact the game in many ways. At 6-foot-9 and 242 pounds with a wingspan that’s nearly 7-foot-4, Vonleh will slide into the starting lineup immediately. He’s been regarded as one of the top rebounders nationally in his high school class, and the offseason transformation of his body under Je’Ney Jackson should make him physically ready to battle down low from day one.
On a roster that doesn’t appear to have a surefire option at the center position, Vonleh will give the staff some flexibility if it wishes to go smaller at times. With the departures of Zeller and Watford in IU’s frontcourt, Vonleh’s arrival will help soften the blow, at least from a talent perspective, and give the Hoosiers a reliable post scorer that also can step out on the floor and finish in transition.
“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s six incoming freshman. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Luke Fischer.
It’s hard to dominate the high school game more than Luke Fischer and his Germantown teammates did in the state of Wisconsin over the last two years.
With Fischer leading the way, Germantown won 56 consecutive games and two straight state championships, winning the most recent one by a 57-28 margin.
Fischer, who will report to Bloomington later this month, scored 17 points in that game and averaged 21.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a senior.
With Cody Zeller’s departure for the NBA after last season, Fischer’s arrival is even more important for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. Fischer’s stock has risen consistently since he signed with the Hoosiers, and his game continues to improve.
“Luke is coming in looking at everything as an opportunity,” said Justin Litscher, Fischer’s AAU coach with Wisconsin Swing. “He’s gonna fill whatever role they need him to, if that’s starting or if that’s coming off the bench. I know he’s excited. If he had the choice, I think he probably would have left right after state for Indiana.”
It’s certainly too early to know, but Fischer figures to be a strong candidate to replace Zeller as Indiana’s starting center when the season begins. He’s not as tall as Zeller was — he’s listed at 6-foot-10 — but Litscher said Fischer’s strength helps him to play bigger than that.
“Luke’s really developed his lower half and his ability to just seal,” Litscher said. “Once he seals, it’s over, he’s gonna score. His lower half is so strong, and people just look at him and say, ‘He’s gotta add strength.’ But from the waist down, he’s a strong kid. I mean very strong.”
While there’s no doubt Fischer would have gained a great deal from having Zeller to learn from when he arrived on campus, there are still things Fischer brings to the table that you can’t teach. He’s a proven winner, for one, and he possesses a work ethic that rivals some of the Indiana players responsible for building the culture that’s currently in place.
With final rankings released for all of the major recruiting services over the last month, the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) was updated for last time for the 2013 class and four Indiana signees made the cut.
Noah Vonleh came in at No. 8 in the final RSCI update for 2013, making him the highest ranked recruit to-date in the Tom Crean era at Indiana.
Cody Zeller had previously held that distinction in the class of 2011, where he ranked No. 10.
Troy Williams was the second IU recruit on the list at No. 51, Stanford Robinson checked in at No. 61 and Luke Fischer was No. 71. Indiana is the only Big Ten school with four consensus top 100 recruits in the class of 2013.
Coleman leaving Cathedral
One of the top class of 2015 recruits in Indiana, Jalen Coleman, is leaving Cathedral and enrolling at La Lumiere in LaPorte.
“Cathedral is an excellent school and Jalen got a lot out of it,” Piankhi Lands, Coleman’s father, told Neddenriep. “He really grew up there the last two years. But as a family, we’re struggling a little bit financially, and Cathedral is a little bit out of our price range, especially if we had two kids going there. La Lumiere could offer a 100 percent scholarship.”
Coleman’s younger brother, Isaiah, is also expected to attend La Lumiere. Coleman is considering several schools, including Cincinnati, Clemson, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Providence.
At last month’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville, 2013 Germantown (Wis.) forward and Indiana signee Luke Fischer said he wasn’t concerned about where he fell in the national rankings.
“It doesn’t really bother me that much at all. I really don’t care about rankings,” he told Inside the Hall. “They don’t really mean much to me. I’ve just always gone out there and played and have done my own thing.”
Despite leading his high school to two straight undefeated state championships and winning Mr. Basketball, Fischer isn’t included in the Rivals.com or Scout.com top 100.
But one of the three major services, ESPN, took notice of Fischer’s production as a senior and gave him a major bump in its final 2013 rankings that were released on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-10, 210-pound big man jumped from No. 67 to No. 34 after averaging 21.3 and 9.5 rebounds as a senior.
Three other IU signees — Noah Vonleh (13), Troy Williams (54) and Stanford Robinson (99) — were also included in the ESPNU Top 100.
With the passing of the NBA’s early entry deadline for the draft on April 30, several publications have updated their mock drafts and Indiana junior Victor Oladipo and sophomore Cody Zeller are unanimously in the lottery.
The NBA will hold its annual combine later this month in Chicago and the event will air live on the following times and dates: 10 a.m. May 16, ESPNU; 2 p.m. May 16, ESPN2; 10 a.m. May 17, ESPNU; 2 p.m. May 17, ESPN2.
Here’s a look at where each player is currently projected: