BBALL JOURNEY: The Hoosier Young Guns by Doug Ropp
Dateline October 21, 2013: Season Preview
In August 24 years ago, I sat on a bus as a freshman on IU’s campus hearing people talking about a guy named Cheaney. I had never heard of him before. Over the next four years, I would see Coach Knight build the Hoosiers into an elite NCAA team and one of IU’s greatest teams along with Cheaney being my all-time favorite player at IU.
Going into this season, I am the same way on that bus. Tom Crean brings in his third big class (more than three players) in his sixth year at IU, which is hard to believe in itself. I don’t know what to expect from these guys after two sweet 16 visits over the last two years losing to Kentucky and Syracuse . The biggest thing I will miss from last year is the following players from one of my all-time favorite teams, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo,
Back to this year, the thing I am certain about is the play of sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell and Senior Forward Will Sheehey. Both had solid performances at the World University Games even though I am upset they lost to Canada under Bob McKillop. Fran Fraschilla gave Sheehey rave reviews at the Adidas Nations Camp. I think Yogi is the most underrated point guard in America. He had his one bad game at the wrong time against Syracuse. He is quick with the ball and I hope his outside shooting takes off. Sheehey provides instant offense and can play defense as well.
IU had a heralded class come in last year headed up by Yogi Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin. Hollowell and Yogi were the ones who got big minutes. I am expecting Hollowell to really blossom this year.
Now the newest young guns come in headed by highly regarded Noah Vonleh. Next up is Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson, Luke Fischer, Collin Hartman and Devin Davis. I am looking to see If Hanner Perea and Luke Fischer can help out the front line where Cody left off. They will probably never replace Cody though. From what I’ve read, Robinson sounds like he is going to be pretty good and Crean likes the “energy” that Williams brings.
The final newcomer is Evan Gordon, a senior who transferred in right away from Arizona State. He is the brother of NBA player Eric Gordon. Unfortunately, although I respect Eric as a player, he and his family are just a bad reminder of the Coach Sanctions era. Hopefully, his parents won’t wear another black IU jersey.
As a team, Crean said in his speech to the students that the new players are hungry and are looking to get better. The culture has changed at IU under Crean due to him and Crean credits Oladipo and Sheehey with raising the work ethic to another level.
The early word out of Indiana has been the team does not have the three point shooting like they have had lately and they have been hit with the injury bug early on. Sheehey (groin), Williams (hand), Robinson (knee), Vonleh (ankle) and Fischer (shoulder).
Overall, Crean expects patience from the fans. I am sure I will be patient. The one thing I won’t tolerate though is not playing hard. I expect this team to grow as the season progresses and I look forward to another fun IU season.