With the official start of practice less than two months away, UM Hoops and Inside the Hall have again partnered to bring you a preseason breakdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2015-2016 season.
Our selection process involved much deliberation to arrive at a list we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate. The series will be broken into five parts and our fifth and final installment of players 5-1 is available below: (Previously: 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6)
It’s late June, recruiting won’t heat up until a couple of weeks into July and thus, there’s finally some time to dig into one of the list ideas we’ve been kicking around in recent weeks for offseason content.
As we enter season eight of Tom Crean’s time in Bloomington, it’s time for our ranking of the top 10 players to play for the Hoosiers in his tenure:
10. James Blackmon Jr. (2014-present)
It will interesting to see where Blackmon Jr. ultimately ends up if this list is reexamined when his career is over. But as it stands, it’s hard to warrant placing him higher given that he’s played just one season. Still, Blackmon Jr. accomplished a lot offensively in his first season. He ranked sixth in the country among all freshman in scoring at 15.7 points per game and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. He also set the freshman record for 3-pointers made in a season (77), breaking a mark set by Eric Gordon. If Blackmon Jr. continues the scoring pace he exhibited as a freshman and stays until he’s a junior, he’s going to go down as one of the better backcourt scorers to ever play for the Hoosiers.
After a strong spring following a loss to Wichita State in the NCAA tournament in Omaha, Indiana is ready to begin phase two of the offseason.
Many of IU’s returnees have been working out off campus in recent weeks – Troy Williams and Robert Johnson spent time in Texas working out with John Lucas, for example – but that will change soon.
And as everyone returns to campus and the three freshmen and graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt arrive, it will be back to work for a program that enters the 2015-2016 campaign with significant expectations.
In order to get the most thorough investigation of his options following the conclusion of his junior season, Yogi Ferrell needed time.
With the help of his father, Kevin Ferrell Sr., and the IU coaching staff, Ferrell gathered as much information as possible to assist him in a pivotal decision: whether to return to college for his senior season or pursue a professional career.
His decision, announced on Sunday, April 26, was to come back to Bloomington for one more year. Ultimately, Ferrell said on Wednesday, the opportunity at IU next season on what should be a preseason top 15 was too much to pass up.
“I felt like I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity like this at Indiana,” he explained in a media availability at Assembly Hall. “Such a great place, I feel like I’ve had the best time of my life here. Best memories, best teammates, best friends. The next level is always going to be one of my dreams and I’m still going to be pursuing that dream and I feel like that dream is still going to be there at the end of the day.”
Ferrell, who has a chance to cement himself as one of the best four-year players in IU history, believes all of the feedback he received during this process will aid him tremendously as he prepares for his final season.
He noted that “maybe half” of the NBA teams he heard from projected him as a second round “at best” had he declared for June’s draft. He also said a couple of teams told him they want to see him “mix it up” as both a scorer and facilitator as a senior at IU.