IU basketball’s future has upside

Posted: January 30, 2011 by Josh Tannenbaum in Uncategorized
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Following the recruiting violations that former head coach Kelvin Sampson stuck IU with, Tom Crean inherited the job of rebuilding the historic Indiana men’s basketball program from the ground up. After losing Eric Gordon and DJ White to the NBA draft, and other key contributors such as Armon Bassett and Jordan Crawford to other schools, Crean and the Hoosiers were left with only two returning players.

Now in his third season as head coach, Crean has begun to show flashes of what he is capable of putting together. Thursday, the Hoosiers beat #21 Illinois 52-49 for their first win versus a ranked opponent since Crean took over. While Illinois has been inconsistent this season to say the least, this win cannot be overlooked.

“There were a few years back where people were used to these kinds of wins,” Tom Crean said. “And we’ll get it back, but to get it tonight and get it this way is really important. I’m just so proud of these guys.”

Not much is expected of Indiana this year, but with the abundance of talent they have coming in over the next three years, laying the foundation for a winning culture is important as the young players on the roster now will be thrusted into leadership roles in the near future.

On November 11, Cody Zeller announced that he will play at IU next year. The 6’11’ Zeller is ranked as the #12 overall recruit for 2011 by ESPNU, and should provide the Hoosiers with some much needed size and rebounding, as well as the ability to step out and hit jump shots. He has good hands that allow him to make tough catches on the inside and in the post and can pass out of double teams, which he commanded many of at the high school level.

More importantly, the Zeller commitment opened the door for other recruits to choose IU. Point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and power forward Hanner Perea have already verbally committed for 2012. Ferrell, the #23 recruit according to ESPNU, is listed at only 5’11” and 160 pounds, but has plus speed and ball handling skills, in combination with the ability to penetrate and score at the rim. He also has a very impressive midrange game for his size and will make you pay from three if left open.

Perea, #30 on ESPNU’s list for 2012, is an athletic FREAK. At 6’8”and 210 pounds, he has an unbelievable vertical leap, which makes him a force around the basket on both ends of the court. His offensive game is still very raw, but his ability to play above the rim translates into an exciting player with a massive upside.

An important point to note is that all three of these recruits are from the state of Indiana. In past years, aside from Eric Gordon (who was essentially stolen from Illinois), IU has missed out on the elite basketball players from Indiana.

While Crean has not produced winning basketball at IU thus far, the future is bright. With good role players in place and future playmakers on their way, the Hoosiers have a lot to look forward to.


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