The Inside the Hall Mailbag: April 24

  • 04/24/2014 10:49 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@AllDay_Ambrose6 on Twitter writes: With our top recruits all having a 3-point shot, which we lacked last year, where do you see all three of them fitting into the rotation?

I see James Blackmon Jr. sliding into the starting lineup immediately and I can also see Robert Johnson pushing Stanford Robinson for a starting spot. Blackmon Jr. can flat out score and his arrival is going to take some of the pressure off of Yogi Ferrell. Johnson can help some at both guard spots, but he is also wired to score, so if he’s making shots consistently and playing defense, he’ll also be hard to keep off the floor.

Max Hoetzel is much harder to judge at this point because I’ve only seen him live in an all-star setting where very little defense was being played. Right now, IU has 11 scholarship players for next season and the health of Collin Hartman is something we won’t know much about until the fall. Hoetzel has a great attitude, believes he belongs and can make perimeter shots. I think that bodes well for him challenging for some early minutes, but it’s too early to say how many at this point. — Alex Bozich

Real Assembly Hall on the premium forum writes: Will any of the games played on the Montreal trip be televised or streamed? Could this trip be considered a dual effort of getting pre season experience in, and also establishing a presence to create an avenue for future recruiting in Canada?

I can’t answer whether anything will be televised or streamed. The only details we’ve got at this point, via reports from Jeff Rabjohns and Zach Osterman, are that IU is going to Montreal in August. I imagine that full details would be announced once all of the plans are finalized. I would be surprised to see any television or streaming coverage, though.

As far as the question of it being a dual effort, I think it’s a lot more about getting the preseason experiences in and more importantly, the practices that accompany it. Obviously, if it can help expand the IU brand in the area, that’s great, but this is about the experience for what will once again be a young team that needs it. — Alex Bozich

HoosierFan76 on the premium forum writes: With Kenny Johnson leaving, who do you think are the most likely guys on the list of candidates to replace him?

Going back to when Kenny Johnson was hired, no one really had him on any candidate lists and I’m going to assume that Tom Crean is going to take his time with this hire, as he should. Here’s why: Off campus recruiting ends until July after this weekend, which is the only spring evaluation period for recruiting. It’s obviously not practical to have someone in place for this weekend, so IU will likely have director of basketball operation Rob Judson on the road in Johnson’s absence to do evaluations.

After this weekend, IU can still contact recruits and host prospects for visits, but there’s obviously a window in which to find a capable replacement before July recruiting begins. I’m sure names will surface, but it’s way too early in the process to even speculate where things are headed and if the search is anything like the one that yielded Johnson, it may not even be someone on the radar at this point. — Alex Bozich

schoosier on the premium forum writes: When do you see this incoming class arriving in Bloomington and what is their immediate training regime when they get there? (Classes, pick up games, weight training, etc) Individual programs or team stuff?

Both Hoetzel and Johnson said they’d be in Bloomington around June 17, which will allow them to attend classes in the second summer session. I assume the timeline would be similar for Blackmon Jr. and Jeremiah April.

As for the regimen when they arrive, they’ll work out with other teammates, get started on strength and conditioning with Je’Ney Jackson and also be able to work out with coaches for a set period of time each week. — Alex Bozich

tj21 on the premium forum writes: What is your view of the chemistry of how this years freshmen will fit into the mix? It seemed to be an underlying current last year. Is this fixed, have you seen any indication its improved? Seeing some of the team at the Derby Classic was a good sign to me, what is your opinion?

From what I know about Blackmon Jr., Hoetzel and Johnson, I don’t see any of them having an issue of fitting into the mix. I’m also not sure chemistry was a major issue last season. Any time a team doesn’t meet expectations, that’s one of the first things that will be examined, but I didn’t really see any major warning signs that something was really off. I’ll caveat that by saying that IU’s on court communication wasn’t nearly where it needed to be last season, so if that’s what you were referencing in terms of chemistry, I can certainly see the argument.

It’s always a good sign when you see current players showing up at an event to watch future teammates. In the case you are referencing, Robinson and Troy Williams made the trip to Louisville last Friday to watch Hoetzel and Johnson at the Derby Festival Basketball Classic, an event they played in last year. I think anytime players can get to know each other well away from basketball and build strong bonds, it’s something that can carry over to the floor. — Alex Bozich

@bradton23 on Twitter writes: Any update on when Josh Cunningham will be announcing? Everything pointed to early this week.

I’ve heard nothing concrete and judging by the number of times this decision has been changed or delayed, this may just be a case where everyone has to take a wait and see approach. The schools you hear mentioned the most with Cunningham right now besides IU are Bradley, St. John’s and South Carolina. The latter two are his most recent visits. — Alex Bozich

@DrB365 on Twitter writes: Will Peter Jurkin become a contributor this season, and if not does that say more about him or coaching development of him?

Unless he’s healthy, which he hasn’t been so far during his time in Bloomington, the safe answer to this question is no. I don’t think it says anything about coaching development if a player is hurt and can’t play nor do I think it says much about the player. Jurkin has had leg issues going back to high school and unless he’s healthy, he’s not going to be a factor on the floor. — Alex Bozich

Olde Hoosier on the premium forum writes: Who do you think our starting five will be and who will become the sixth man?

Let me preface this by saying that it’s late April and we’re not even sure if the roster as it currently stands is going to be IU’s roster for next season. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll go with Ferrell, Blackmon Jr., Robinson, Williams and Hanner Mosquera-Perea with Johnson as the sixth man. Right now, that’s how I see it. Given that we’re nearly six months from IU playing a game that counts on its record for next season, I’m going to reserve my right to change prediction this in a future mailbag. — Alex Bozich

@mgdoss79 on Twitter writes: Do you think Jeremiah April will make an impact next season and if not can Hanner be the guy we need him to be?

I can’t speak to what IU fans can expect out of April because I’ve never seen him play. All I have to go by are the comments of his high school coach, which were mostly positive and the national recruiting services, which don’t have him ranked.

As for Mosquera-Perea, I think his offseason might be the most pivotal of any player on the roster. He’s not a true five, but he’s likely going to have to guard that position next season in Bloomington. For me, there are three major areas where he needs to show improvement. First, and most importantly, he needs to be able to defend without fouling. In limited minutes last season, he committed 6.1 fouls per 40 minutes. That number needs to be at four or less, in my opinion. Second, Mosquera-Perea had a turnover percentage of 25.7. For a player that IU only needs to catch the ball and finish plays, that’s simply too high. Third, Mosquera-Perea’s instincts and feel for the game have to get better. This comes from living in the gym. His athletic talent is undeniable, but the best players in any program live in the gym and dedicate themselves to constant improvement. — Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • sd chuck

    I think this team will be fun and frustrating at the same time. If the three’s are falling we will be really good, if they’re not falling, we’re going to look awful bad. We will live or die by the three, and they can keep you in a lot of games.

  • ForeverIU

    Regarding Canada … Is Canadian basketball similar enough to what we have in the U.S. to make the experience valuable? I remember Yogi and Will saying how different the basketball styles they experienced in Russia were compared to the U.S.. Any diverse experience is enriching I suppose. But how much will non-U.S. experience contribute to our game as played here in the U.S.?

  • JetpackJunky

    The Canadians games will have to be on something, maybe not American broadcast, but they aren’t just playing in a gym. Looks like a job for foreign streaming websites…

  • ForeverIU

    I love the idea of “living in the gym”. It’s not something the coach can ask of the players, but we can. Being a great player takes talent of course, but the rest is not rocket science. It’s effort and dedication and taking ownership of what you do.

  • mdtreat

    I’d like to hear people’s opinion on the type of team we will have next year and how it fits in with Crean’s coaching style. Does anyone else agree with me when I say that this guard heavy, shooter heavy team will fit in much better with Crean’s system? I think that without having to focus too much on the points in the paint and instead focusing on defense in the paint and rebounding with Perea, that Crean’s offense will work much smoother, higher tempo, and more efficiently (and I hope to god with less turnovers.)

  • TomJameson

    I think this team will be very good at driving to the basket, not just the three’s. We have some good wings and guards that will take care of that part. IMO, the only suspect part is who’s going to be in the middle?

  • calbert40

    Yes, I think this roster seems to be better suited to his philosophy. I think the main reason for that is that we will have shooters. Crean likes the high ball screen, dribble drive approach, and that style is limited when the best shooter on the roster is the guy handling the ball most of the time.

    Now, when Yogi beats his man off of the dribble, he will have shooters on the wings who can knock down perimeter jumpers. Last year, we were inconsistent at best in that department. Having a stud post player is a great luxury, but I don’t feel it is a requirement for Crean’s style of play.

  • sd chuck

    I agree but the three point shooters will open everything up, Troy will be much better slashing the baseline much like VO and Will two years ago. How many games do we watch that the three keeps teams in the game. Totally agree with the middle pat.

  • calbert40

    I agree. Last year’s team strength on offense was getting to the rim, and I don’t see that changing at all for next season. Yogi, Stan and Troy should all continue to be strong in this area, and while JBJ is a great perimeter shooter, he can get to the rim very well also.

    The difference this year will be that if the D collapses on a driver, we have players outside who can knock down open 3s. We should be more balanced than we were last year.

  • inLinE6

    Not much difference, basketball-wise… And there’re NBA teams in Canada. And I currently live in Canada.

  • ForeverIU

    I think JBJ’s recent 23-pt performance did not include any threes. He was driving and hitting from everywhere.

  • calbert40

    I think you’re right. I’ve seen him play in person, and he has no problem putting it on the deck and getting to the rim…at least in HS. He has really good explosion off the dribble. He has an all-around offensive game. Also, it appears as though RJ does also.

    I think we will like having them!!

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah, and in a recent interview RJ made a point to say that he is focusing on his defensive game.

  • PDXHoosier

    I love that Stan and Troy went to Louisville to watch the rookies play

  • TedHightowerSucks

    Agreed – This is Crean’s type of team and should fit his system well. My worry is how it will translate in the B1G. It’s a big boy league for bangers…. Need some #HannerTime

  • kyle jenkins

    I think the style of play will be just fine. I mean look at the team who won the big ten this past year and finished 2nd two years ago.??? We are built just like them this year!

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s true…but only if Hanner Perea/Jeremiah April can replicate the offensive production and defensive presence that Michigan got from Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford. That’s a big part of the equation and it’s certainly a question that won’t be answered until we go up against some legitimate competition next season.

  • KmanCRK

    I’m hopeful that the overall work ethic of this group in the offseason will be much better than last summer when Yogi and Will were gone for a month as the freshman arrived. I think JBJr, RJ, & Mad Max are all three going to live in the gym with Yogi and Stan. That type of thing can quickly become contagious like it was 2-3 yrs ago with Hulls & Vic. Stan already has a reputation for spending a lot of extra time in the gym, and I think two more guards coming in will push him even harder. Lots of good healthy competition this offseason in the guard/wing department. I am expecting great strides from the offseason program. I think we are going to take a lot of teams by surprise next year. We don’t need Hanner to be great, we just need him to be able to stay on the floor.

  • HoosierFan76

    I think that the guys IU will have next season will be a great fit to Crean’s system. The perimeter attack should be there every game, and there are enough guys on the team that can hit midrange jumpers and finish at the rim that the scoring attack from the outside in should be good. Hanner and Jeremiah are the question marks – can they combine to give a solid, if not spectacular, effort in the middle through the course of 40 minutes? If they can at least do that, IU should be able to score pretty well and have a solid offense.

    As far as turnovers go, you just can’t tell right now. With so much turnover of the roster, there will be an acclimation period involved as far as guys learning tendencies and positioning of other players. This year’s incoming freshmen appear to be much more solid in fundamentals than last year’s freshmen were, so that, along with the improvement of the returning players, should hopefully make this year’s team less turnover-prone.

    Defense is the question mark IMO. With so many new guys figuring to play big minutes and some of the returning guys stepping up into much bigger roles, there will be a lot going on to get used to, similar to learning teammates’ tendencies offensively. None of the freshmen have had to guard college players. That takes some time to adjust. Hanner hasn’t had to guard an opposing big for major minutes while staying out of foul trouble. Jeremiah may be able to help, but he’s an unknown at this point. We’ll see what happens.

    In general, I feel like IU has some really good pieces to form a successful team in all facets of the game, but I’d feel better with another post player to provide more depth at the 4/5. Hopefully Hanner will put in some big-time work in the offseason and come back strong. That, along with how well/how soon the guys fit in together, get used to finding each other on the court, and know the strengths/limitations of teammates will ultimately determine how well the team does.

  • TomJameson

    I think we’re in agreement there Chuck. But we have 4 legitimate shooters, and maybe 5 if Troy has improved his shot. I certainly hope somebody is hot on any given night. 🙂 This could really be a fun year!

  • TomJameson

    I think you’re right CC. If I was to rank the importance of that middle presence, I would list the defensive part first. The offense could consist of put-backs and tip-ins … plus the exceptional dunk now-and-then. LOL

  • FinEndNow

    I honestly dont want Stan starting. I want Yogi and JBJ playing together and Stan and RJ playing together.

  • FinEndNow

    And I like Stans energy off the bench.

  • TomJameson

    Hope we can add Hanner to the Gym-Rat list.

  • bojak

    Do you think any of this years recruits will be one and done’s or will they stick around for a while? Anyone else you see going NBA after this season?

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Excellent Mailbag this week Mr. Bozich, enjoyed it.

  • Gregory Spera

    As long as Crean is bouncing on the sidelines screaming “DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!” and “GO, GO, GO!” that will be Indiana’s emphasis on offense.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    we are so screwed if hmp plays more than 10 minutes a game

  • CreamandCrimson

    While others think he is capable of being a really good player and will be an anchor for 30 minutes a game. One thing is certain, Hanner is the biggest (and probably most important) question mark entering the 2014-2015 season.

  • jpniles

    Who is going to rebound consistently? My biggest question. What happens when we are not hitting 60-70% from the floor?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Great mailbag!

  • Bryce Kepner

    I think JBJ will draw a lot of NBA interest but I think he will stay. I’ve seen him play a few times and he reminds me A LOT of Gary Harris but I think he’ll be better than Harris.

  • Bryce Kepner

    I agree but I think with all the offense firepower we will have this year, we only need good defense and rebounds from our bigs. We won’t really need much offense from them.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    we don’t have a lot of height, that’s for sure. tw showed he can hit the glass effectively though. and hopefully our athleticism will help out.

  • PDXHoosier

    I am excited for next year to start because of the potential talent on the team. Unfortunately, I also felt excited around this time last year, so…

  • PDXHoosier

    But we don’t have anyone else to play!
    I would take The Pritch in a heartbeat to improve this team

  • PDXHoosier

    You mean “succeed and proceed?”

  • Alford Bailey

    AW CRAP! Thats exactly what I sound like at my daughters AAU games.

  • Alford Bailey

    I agree with Alex, I think RJ will challenge SR for a starting spot.

  • SCHoosier

    He who does not turn over the ball plays the most minutes. Amen.

  • calbert40

    I’d doubt it. JBJ may receive some interest, but to jump to the NBA as a 6’3″ SG after one year, he’d have to have an AMAZING season. As Bryce mentioned, I think he has the ability to be similar to Gary Harris. So a couple years for him at least. I don’t think anyone else will jump.

  • SCHoosier

    It may come down to IU’s front line defense..teams with good players down low will just pound the Hoosiers inside..or try too. Not sure who will step up to stop them.

  • SCHoosier

    Do u consider HMP the banger or the bangee?

  • SCHoosier

    That will be a violation of soon to be enacted “college b-ball players union rule 31534”
    “time allowed in gym without overtime being paid.”

  • SCHoosier

    He was mostly making layups against no defense to speak of. But I agree…he can score from anywhere and will.

  • Oldguyy

    Both Perea and Davis had very good rebound percentages last year. If the other facets of their games allow them to be on the court a lot, IU should be a good rebounding team.

  • Alford Bailey

    I agree he will have to have a great season to make the jump next year but it is possible. I don’t see the Gary Harris comparison so much. I think JBJs offensive game is much better coming into college and his ceiling is higher.

  • marcusgresham

    It may be beneficial at times to have NO ONE in the middle. It may be in this team’s best interests to find someone who can hit a 15-footer and pass well to play the high post, leaving the lane open for guys like Troy to cut and guys like Stan to drive. I didn’t see very many people who kept him out of the lane last year. Add a summer of Je’Ney Jackson and 500 jumpers a day and he’s going to be very difficult to guard.

  • marcusgresham

    Wow. That’s a lot to put on the kid—Harris is pretty damn good. Sure hope you’re right.

  • marcusgresham

    It will contribute in the fact that the team, still very young by anyone’s standards, will have a headstart on other teams as far as being able to “officially” practice and play together.