Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking Good – Cheaney Gives Early Hoosier Assessment

You know all about the hype surrounding Indiana’s rejuvenated basketball program. The Hoosiers are a powerhouse again, boasting a preseason No. 1 ranking and Final Four, if not national championship, prospects.

It’s still about seven weeks before practice officially starts, although they are heavy into preseason workouts now.

As for how things are going, we turn to Calbert Cheaney, the Hoosiers’ director of basketball operations. He spoke Saturday during a break in the ProCamp at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall that also featured coach Tom Crean and his staff, plus the players and NBA player and ex-Hoosier D.J. White.

“(The players) look good,” Cheaney said. “The kids have been working hard. They’ve been here the majority of the summer. They’ve done a wonderful job. They’re getting better.”

The heavily hyped freshman class has been on campus since late June other than a mini break in early August. Point guard Yogi Ferrell, small forward Jeremy Hollowell and center Peter Jurkin look fit and ready to roll. Power forward Hanner Perea is limited by a walking boot because of a foot injury, but expectations are he’ll be ready for practice.

The freshmen are dealing the challenges of moving from high school to college. It’s safe to say they are not dominating right now, which is what you’d expect given the Hoosiers return most of their top players from a Sweet 16 team.

“There will always be an adjustment when you come from high school to college,” Cheaney said. “The work you have to do, the classes, the conditioning their muscles and minds and bodies to deal with all that.

“It’s been a transition for them, but at the same time what’s great about these freshmen is they never quit. Their work ethic is excellent. The sky is the limit for them. They have to keep going at it like they are. They’ll end up catching up to our (veterans). They will eventually. The transition from academics and classes and workouts and lifting weights is the biggest thing.”

Cheaney took a pass when asked about who’s looked impressive so far in preseason workouts.

“I don’t want to talk about who’s standing out,” he said. “We’re a team. It’s not like golf or tennis. This is a team sport. Everybody is doing a great job.”

For the record, Matt Roth was there as well. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees under his belt, and one year of eligibility remaining, his status with the team is uncertain. Playing opportunity likely revolves around his willingness -- and financial ability -- to walk on. There are no scholarships for him and sophomore Austin Etherington is expected to take his three-point-shooting role. Or, he could take a grad assistant role. Or, well, nothing official has been announced.

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