Sunday, October 28, 2012

IU Gets Williams to Commit; Football Title Hopes; Haunted Hoops

Tom Crean has not lost his recruiting touch.

He came from WAY behind to land Class of 2013 top-40 small forward Troy Williams, who committed to the Hoosiers Sunday afternoon.

He beat out North Carolina’s Roy Williams and, to a lesser extent, Kentucky’s John Calipari.

Yes, that’s big time.

Understand, the 6-6 Williams is not, say, the small forward equivalent of Cody Zeller. Williams is very athletic. He’s a strong rebounder, a good scorer with three-point range and a potentially excellent defender. He passes well and has a high motor.

Still, he’s a little fundamentally raw. He’ll need some polishing and developing, which is fine. Crean and his staff excel at that.

Crean delivered a 1-2 punch with Hoosier Hysteria (Williams was there and was VERY impressed) and by watching Williams’ Oak Hill Academy team play in a Thursday scrimmage in Virginia. Crean flew immediately from the Big Ten Media Day event in Chicago to make the scrimmage.

Don’t forget the impact of first-year assistant coach Kenny Johnson, who was hired in part to boost IU’s presence on the East Coast. He has a ton of contacts in the area and is an extremely effective recruiter, which is the No. 1 reason why he was hired. Johnson also was big in the commitment of another member of IU’s Class of 2013, shooting guard Stanford Robinson.

The Hoosiers remain in the running for another Class of 2013 standout -- 6-8, 270-pound center BeeJay Anya from Maryland. He, too, attended Hoosier Hysteria and was very impressed. His final two schools are Indiana and North Carolina State. He’s the No. 4 center and the No. 48 players overall according to

Indiana now has Robinson, Williams, forwards Devin Davis and Collin Hartman, and center Luke Fischer in the Class of 2013. Adding a sixth player in this class could create another scholarship dilemma even if, as expected, Zeller leaves after this season to enter the NBA draft.

Right now 10 players are set to return next season, nine if Zeller leaves. There is a 13-scholarship limit. With Williams, the Hoosiers are one over. Add Anya and they’d be two over.

In the end, of course, it will work out. It always does.


Do you realize that if IU’s football team wins out, it wins the Leaders Division title, advances to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis and ignites the sequence that leads to the End of Days mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Wait! Sorry. Everything is a little fuzzy in the aftermath of the Giants sweeping the Tigers to win the World Series.

Anyway, because the Big Ten stinks, because Penn State and Ohio State are ineligible for the postseason, because Wisconsin might fall apart down the stretch, the Hoosiers have a chance at what would normally be unthinkable.

Wisconsin has a 3-2 conference record. IU is second in the Leaders Division at 1-3. Purdue and Illinois are last at 0-4.

The Hoosiers end with Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue. If they sweep they’d finish with a 5-3 Big Ten record. That would mean, at the least, a tie for first in the Leaders Division with Wisconsin. They’d win the Division title by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

That’s the possibility. The reality is IU’s best scenario is a 2-2 finish and a 5-7 final record, four more victories that it totaled last year. That could set up a potential winning run starting next season.

Yes, the Cream ‘n Crimson faithful are focused on basketball, and rightfully so. Still, there’s now a reason to pay attention to football in November.

That’s a welcome change.


Look for a ton of dunks and blocked shots from the basketball Hoosiers this season. Why? Because there were a lot of those during Sunday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage at Assembly Hall.

Crean loves basketball and, apparently Halloween. So when he arrived at IU he came up with a way to bring both of those loves together. So the Hoosiers host an annual scrimmage that includes a chance for kids to wear costumes, have a Halloween parade at Assembly Hall and then get autographs from the Hoosiers.

The scrimmage was divided into two parts. First was a 15-minute segment with a Red and a White team. The White team won 40-35 with Remy Abell, Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls scoring 10 points each.

The Red team got 14 points from Zeller and 13 from Oladipo.

The second part was a four-minute situational period. Associate head coaches Tim Buckley and Steve McClain adjusted the lineups, then gave the White team a 76-70 lead. The Red squad rallied for an 88-83 win.

Those comebacks typify the tough-minded mindset Hoosier coaches want to build.

“These guys are really competing,” McClain said. “You can tell it matters to them.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No. 1 Again -- Indiana Picked to Win the Big Ten

Now Indiana REALLY has pressure.

The Big Ten media, specifically 24 beat writers who cover the conference, have voted IU as the preseason favorite.

The Hoosiers received 21 first place votes. That was good for a total of 285 points that topped the 12-team league. Michigan was second with three first-place votes and 256 points. Ohio State was third.

IU was already the preseason No. 1 team in the country by virtue of the USA Today coaches’ poll, plus a bunch of preseason publications.

Let’s face it. When you return a guy many believe to be the nation’s best player, All-America forward Cody Zeller, plus all-conference-caliber guys such as Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo, plus one of the country’s best shooters in Jordan Hulls, plus one of the nation’s most under-rated players in Will Sheehey, plus one of the nation’s best freshman classes led by point guard Yogi Ferrell, well, you’re going to attract attention.

The key is when the Hoosiers, who were 27-9 with a Sweet 16 berth last year, can handle the heat.

Here’s betting they can.

As far as the rest of the poll, Michigan State was fourth with 223 points, followed by Wisconsin (191), Minnesota (159), Iowa (134), Purdue (121), Illinois (90), Northwestern (89), Penn State (62) and Nebraska (25).

If you’re wondering, and even if you’re not, we were one of the voters.


Do you REALLY want to be scared this Halloween? Then head to Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon to see how scary good IU basketball will be.

The Hoosiers will hold their annual Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage at Assembly Hall that day. The hope is all the players will participate. Sheehey and freshman forward Hanner Perea missed Hoosier Hysteria because of minor injuries. Hopefully, they’ll be able to go.

Coach Tom Crean has held this event to get his team used to playing in front of a crowd as well as to connect with the local community. Admission is free. There will be candy and games for children 12 and under. The event will end with an autograph session. Fan can have one item signed, and it must be personalized.

Also, after the scrimmage, children in costume will participate in a parade on the Assembly Hall floor. Group pictures with the coaches and players will be taken.

“We have enjoyed doing this each here,” Crean said in a university release. “This gives our players another opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the country.”

Doors will open at 1, with the scrimmage starting around 2 p.m.


The Big Ten Basketball Media Day is set for Thurday. All 24 men’s and women’s coaches will be there. The event will be streamed live on It begins at 9 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. CT. It’s free via the Big Ten Digital Network. For more information, Visit for more information.

Fans can use twitter via @B1GMBBall and @B1GWBBall for highlights. They also can use the hash tag #B1GMD to join the conversation.
Transcripts of each coach’s press conference will be posted on later that day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

IU’s Wilson Pushes Positives; Is Louisville in IU’s Future?

So what do you do when you’re IU football coach Kevin Wilson and your team has lost five straight games, including the last three by four, three and one point?

Basically, you tell your team to work a little harder and not give in to the disappointment and a program tradition that suggests consistent victory will never come.

Will the players buy it?

Perhaps. We’ll get a better indication Saturday at Illinois, a struggling team –- its only scored 21 points in conference play -- that seems the perfect opponent to get the Hoosiers back on track and give Wilson his first Big Ten victory.

Wilson used his Monday night radio show to push the theme that a turnaround is coming.

“We just keep accentuating the positives and showing them the good plays and the things that we’re doing,” Wilson said. “We had two turnovers Saturday. We had two for the year, we had two in the game. One was a costly play. But we’re taking care of the ball. We’re improving in the kicking game. We’re playing better on the offensive line. We’re making strides defensively. We’re doing things you need to do to win games. We’re showing them that. We haven’t got the result yet.

“During the course of the game, you’ve got to just keep making plays. We’re just one or two plays from adding up from being on the right side. It doesn’t always come down to the last third down stop or the last third down or the last score. It’s in the course of the game. We’ve improved against three decent teams, three very good teams, very difficult to prepare for.”

Wilson was asked if the close loses might actually be helping recruiting. IU just got a commitment from four-star defensive end David Kenney of Indianapolis Pike. Wilson couldn’t comment on that per NCAA rules, but he did say that, “There is some interest because (recruits) see improvement. There’s interest because we’ve shown that we play young players. We have some recruitis that see us gaining on it and are maybe interested in getting in on it.”

Yes, in case you’re interested, Wilson plans on using most of the rest of his available scholarships for next season on defensive players.


It looks as if Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is interested in starting home-and-home series with Indiana in football and basketball.

Both Eric Crawford of Louisville TV station WDRB and Jody Demling of tweeted that Jurich said in a press conference that such a dual series would be “a no-brainer.”

That is Louisville’s perspective. IU’s might be a little different given the Cardinals have become a football power (they are 7-0 and ranked 16th in the AP poll) and the Hoosiers already passed on starting a basketball series with Louisville to replace the dropped one with Kentucky.

Yes, they elected to play Central Connecticut State instead.

Don’t get us started.

For the record, IU is 2-0 against Louisville in football, winning in 1985 and ’86. It is 10-6 against the Cardinals in basketball, but hasn’t played them since 2003.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yogi Ferrell A ‘Special Player’; Recruiting News

OK, the 15-or-so minute Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage provided only a snapshot of Yogi Ferrell's ability. It was a tease of what the heralded freshman point guard can do.

For a better public indication we’ll have to wait for the Nov. 1 exhibition game against Indiana Wesleyan. Or, if you prefer something that counts, the Nov. 9 season opener against Bryant.

For now, though, we have to take coach Tom Crean’s word. Given that how he’s turned around the program, that word should have some impact.

“Yogi is a special player,” Crean said. “We knew that when we recruited him and he has done nothing to make us believe anything less than that in the time that he has been here.”

It’s been years since IU has had a difference-making point guard. While Ferrell has struggled at times with his man-to-man defense, that’s nothing new for a freshman, especially one who basically played zone defense in high school.

Ferrell’s reputation was built on his offense and knack for helping his team win. He led Park Tudor High School to two straight state titles. He was considered one of the nation’s three best point guards in the Class of 2012 by every major recruiting service.

Still, it’s his work ethic that has given him a shot at instant impact for the Hoosiers.

“He continues to get better,” Crean said. “He is a very hard-nose young man. His energy is very good. And it's early. We are only entering into our second week of practice and he will have his down days.

“He has a gift of vision. It's incredible. He has tenacity about him. The players have great respect for him because they know he is talented, but they know he will really deliver the basketball. He comes out and he really tries to get better at what he needs to do that’s new to him. He really, really works at the defense every day. There is no question that if he continues down the road of improvement, he will be an outstanding player here."


Was BeeJay Anya impressed with his Hoosier Hysteria experience?

Are you kidding? Of course he was. And if he wasn’t, his former Team Takeover teammate, Victor Oladipo, was there to set him straight.

It wasn’t enough to get a commitment from Anya, or from Troy Williams, the other top-50 Class of 2013 prospect who attended Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria. But it was enough to get Anya’s attention.

Anya wants to play in the NBA, which isn’t shocking. He wants a program that can develop him into a pro. All Crean has to do is mention Cody Zeller, a big man who very well could be the NBA’s No. 1 pick if he turns pro after this season.

Anya is no hurry, which is what you’d expect from a guy who still has 18 schools on his list. IU took up one of his official visits. He’s set to go to North Carolina State this coming weekend. Other potential official visits sites include Ohio State, North Carolina and Duke.

It looks like a two school race for Williams between IU and North Carolina. He likely won’t sign until the spring, although indications are it might sooner.


How much could David Kenney help the Indiana football team? Well, he’s a four-star defensive end who can sack the quarterback. Those kind of players are gold in college football. Heck, defensive ends who can sack quarterbacks are gold in the NFL. Those guys make big bucks.

So here is Kenney, a 6-2, 250-pound guy known for his quarterback-smacking ability. Last year he set an Indianapolis Pike record with 11 sacks. This year he has 10 with a chance at more given Pike is still alive in the Indiana state playoffs.

Guess what? He just committed to IU after de-committing from Iowa. He was at Hoosier Hysteria along with another four-star Indianapolis defensive prospect, Darius Latham. Kenney joins another four-star player from Indy, Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen, who earlier committed to the Hoosiers.

Yes, Wilson is starting to build an Indianapolis recruiting connection. He’ll need other connections – some speed guys from SEC country would be nice – but getting the best in-state guys will play a key role in building a winning program.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Neither Cold Nor Rain Stop Hoosier Hysteria Lovers

Let’s take a deep breath and consider the Indiana basketball implications.

Students started gathering outside of Assembly Hall probably 36 hours before the start of Hoosier Hysteria. It rained. The temperature dropped into the mid-50s. And still they came, dressed in rain gear and cold weather gear, exuding the kind of passion and optimism that can propel a team to beat Kentucky -- and, perhaps, win a national championship.

Amazing, isn't it?

Coach Tom Crean is no fool. He recognizes the energy and taps into it whenever possible, which is why he and his wife, Joani, showed up to support the students. Chicken wings from Scotties soon followed.

At some schools, and this might shock you, Friday nights are reserved for partying and bar hopping and, well, other activities. At Indiana on this night, they camped out to make sure they’d get the best possible seats for Hoosier Hysteria.

Understand, Hoosier Hysteria is not a game or competition. Nothing big or dramatic will happen at Assembly Hall. Players will shoot little, maybe dunk a little, maybe sing a little. There will be an autograph session. Crean will say a few words. Maybe a player or two will say a few things. The women’s team will get its moment in the spotlight. There might be a short scrimmage.

Oh, yes. A couple of dozen elite basketball recruits will be on hand to see this energy and passion for themselves, and then decide whether this is what they want for their college future.

In the meantime, more students gathered and excitement built Friday night. It all represented the buzz that surrounds this top-ranked program. There is hope and belief that, for the first time since 1987, IU will bring home a national championship, and everyone wants to get an early start on the fun.

For the record, Assembly Hall doors will open at 4 today. There will be an autograph session from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. If officials stick to that schedule, you’d better get there early because time might run out before you get a chance to get anything signed.

Remember, Assembly Hall seats a little over 17,000. Will it be packed as Crean hopes for?

We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s what Crean had to say about the impact of Hoosier Hysteria.

“I'm excited for it for a lot of reasons. Number one: because there's so much build-up for it. It's always been exciting, going back to year one, but I've never heard it talked about like it is right now. I think it will be huge for recruiting, I don't think there's any question about that. We moved it back a week with one goal in mind: to give every student at Indiana the opportunity to be at it because of the fall break (last week). I think we'll have a lot of fun.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the timeline and seeing what we need to tweak and what we need to add. I think our crew has done a great job of putting it together. We've had more crowd control conversations than we have ever had, but at the same time, there is going to be room for everybody.

“I think by the way they're opening the doors there won't be that mad dash and I hope we just absolutely pack it. And I hope that everybody that runs the fire department took a trip to the Bahamas this week so we can have standing room only in there and not have anything to think about in there. Just let them all come in and have a great time. It will be a fun night. It will be very unscripted for the players; just them have a great time. Now practice that afternoon will be a little different, but I think it will be fun."


Are you like me? Were you worried the Big Ten would run out of ways to make money?

Relax and chill out.

Fortunately the league now offers something called the Big Ten Digital Network. For an annual fee of $119.95, or $14.95 a month, you get hundreds of non-televised conference games and events, plus original Big Ten Network programming.

Also, IU will stream three live men’s basketball events –- Hoosier Hysteria, the Nov. 1 exhibition game with Indiana Wesleyan and the Nov. 12 game with North Dakota State.

Those games also aren’t free. You can tap into the streaming via IU’s All-Access page at

So now you know.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

IU Football at Make-or-Break Brink; Replogle honored Again:P

Welcome to Indiana’s make-or-break football moment.

In the next two weeks the Hoosiers face a 3-3 Navy team and a 2-4 Illinois squad. These are, without question, winnable games. They are, potentially, season-saving games.

Win those two and you reach 4-4, two victories away from bowl eligibility.

Yes, bowl eligibility. No, we have not lost our minds. Well, maybe we have, but lets not quibble over small details.

Anyway, split these next two games and, well, it’s not high achievement, but it gives you something to work with. Lose both and you likely lose out the rest of the season to finish 2-10.

Yes, it’s that big.

The Hoosiers got a boost from playing Michigan State and Ohio State close the last two weeks. They blew a 17-point lead and lost by four to Michigan State. They had an early lead against Ohio State and wound up losing by three. Still, they showed competitiveness and fight and an ability to entertain, something that can't be overlooked in an era when there are so many entertainment options.

That momentum helps with their belief that they are close, that a turnaround is just a few tackles or big plays away.

For the record, after Navy and Illinois, IU’s final four games are against Iowa (4-2), Wisconsin (5-2), Penn State (4-2) and Purdue (3-3). A 2-2 finish won’t take Divine intervention, especially given how weak the Big Ten is this season.. It will take execution, poise, patience and an ability to stop somebody some of the time.

Is that so hard?

Anyway, the Hoosiers have reached the point where losing close isn’t good enough. They have to start winning or this season will be lost, much like it was with IU basketball a couple of years ago, when the struggling Hoosiers lost close at Michigan State (84-83) and to Iowa (64-63) and never recovered, ending the season on a nine-game losing streak for a 12-20 record.

The next year, of course, they turned it around to a Sweet 16 berth, and Cream 'n Crimson joy.

Coach Kevin Wilson continues to push the theme that it’s about winning and to heck with the close losses.

“We have to get our guys past the point of giving it the old college try,” he says. “We expect them to play hard. That’s the given. Now we’ve got to start winning. We need to figure out how to get that puppy done.

“We’re trying to address, internally, the fact that too many people around here can congratulate you for almost winning because we’ve struggled.

“At the same time, it’s a sign of confidence that you’re getting better. You should feel good about yourself, but you need to keep pushing.”

And then Wilson pushes his message just a little harder.

“I think in most people’s lives, in their careers, they’re closer to more things that they realize. Even people who are extremely successful, there’s probably a little bit more out there for them. If it’s just around the corner, keep coming.

“Even though we’re making strides, apparently it’s not enough, so we’re challenging our guys. You’ve got to dig a little deeper, practice a bit better, be committed a bit more. We’ve got to play better to get some Ws down the stretch. This one (at Navy) will be tough, but we need to get it."

It helps that the Hoosiers are down, but not out, according to offensive coordinator Seth Littrell.

“It’s disappointing not to have gotten some of the wins we felt we could have, but the energy level has been great. Coaches and players still come to work every day with a lot of enthusiasm, which is a credit to Coach Wilson and this team.

“They like each other, like playing for each other, like competing with each other. I don’t see any drop off. And I don’t expect any.”

Come Saturday at Navy, we’ll see if the Hoosiers meet those expectations.


Will Adam Replogle kick the tails of USC quarterback Matt Barkely, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and a bunch of other football studs to win the 2012 Senior CLASS Award?

Anything is possible, and if the odds don’t favor Indiana’s senior defensive tackle, well, who needs odds when you have hope.

Replogle is one of 10 finalists for the award, which goes to a student-athlete who excels on and off the field based on community, classroom, character and competition. He’s also a nominee for the 2012 Good Works Team and is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Replogle leads IU in tackles (41) and sacks (3.0), and shares the team lead with 5.5 tackles for loss. He leads all Big Ten defensive linemen by averaging 6.8 tackles per game.

CLASS, by the way, stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.

The winner is chosen, in part, by a national fan vote along with voting by the media and Division I head coaches.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IU Basketball No. 1; Is IU Football On Verge of Recruiting Coup?

If you’re a stud high school defensive player and you want to play right away, you’ve gotta love what you see at Indiana.

The Hoosiers play defense like nobody wants to see it, which is bad for the present, but promising for the future if Kevin Wilson and his staff can get talent to come.

It sure seems like it will come.

As you almost certainly know by now, a couple of really, really good Indiana high school prospects, four-star defensive tackle Darius Latham from Indianapolis North Central and four-star defensive end David Kenney from Indy Pike, have de-committed from Big Ten schools and are taking strong looks at Indiana.

Already committed is four-star safety Antonio Allen of Indianapolis Ben Davis. Another four-star in-state player, defensive end Elijah Daniel from Avon, also is strongly considering the Hoosiers. So is four-star defensive back Rashard Fant from Georgia.

Daniel is considered the state’s No. 2 player for the Class of 2013 by, a national Internet recruiting service. Clemson has already offered him.

Latham, who just de-committed from Wisconsin, is a very intriguing prospect. He’s 6-5 and 291 pounds, yet athletic enough to play for an elite AAU basketball team, one of the Eric Gordon squads.

To emphasize, from time to time you’ll get defensive linemen who also play basketball. Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short, for instance, did at East Chicago Central. He’s now projected as at least a third-round NFL pick.

But Latham was a starter for a powerhouse travel ball program, good enough that Tom Crean reportedly gave him the option to also play basketball if he comes to IU. He can run, jump and display the kind of athleticism that could translate well at the highest levels. He’s also a very big, powerful guy. He’s rated as the state’s No. 6 football player and the nation’s No. 16 defensive tackle.

Yes, it isn’t fair.

Kenney just de-committed from Iowa. He’s a 6-2, 250-pound defensive end who is rated as the state’s No. 7 player and the No. 10 player nationally at his position.

Kenney and Latham reportedly were at the IU-Ohio State game, which the Hoosiers lost by a basketball score, 52-49. They have a huge need for defensive guys, especially if they can stuff the run and sack the quarterback.

Antonio Allen, by the way, is acting as a quasi-recruiter and trying to get Latham and Kenney to join him in Bloomington.

If he does, it would be a strong sign that coach Kevin Wilson is poised to turn this program around.

IU has 10 commitments in the Class of 2013. Allen, who is ranked No. 20 at his safety position, is the highest rated recruit. Brownsburg athlete Chase Dutra is No. 41 at his position and the state’s No. 9 player.


Indiana’s basketball expectations, already off the charts, just got another positive jolt with its preseason No. 1 ranking courtesy of USA Today’s coaches poll.

The Hoosiers received 21 of a possible 31 first-place votes. Second-ranked Louisville and third-ranked Kentucky each got five votes.

IU also got a seal of approval from William Hill Race & Sports Books, which released its odds to win the national title. It lists Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville as its top favorites to win it all.


Here is an IU release of some more details involving Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall. Doors will open at 4 p.m., with an autograph session running from 5 to 6.

Based on previous autograph sessions, which drew a TON of people and produced Disney World-caliber lines, you’d better get there early. If they stick to their schedule and end it at an hour, a lot of people are going to go home empty handed.

Anyway, here is the release:

The IU Varsity Shop will be selling the famous IU basketball poster calendar’s in the north and south lobby’s.  The large calendar is $5 and the small calendar is $3.

Fans may bring one item to be signed.  To keep the lines moving and to accommodate as many fans as possible, players are limited to one signature per person and the setup does not allow for fans to pose with players for photos.  Fans will have an opportunity to take picture with players at another fan event.

The IU/Navy football game is expected to be on the video board in Assembly Hall and on the TV’s by the concession stands.  Other big screen TV’s are being set up on the concourse and will feature highlights from the 2011-2012 men’s basketball season.

The women’s basketball team will have a shootaround on the Assembly Hall floor from 5 to 6 p.m.

At 6 p.m., students may register for a Big Head contest and Craziest Fan contest. Those selected by the Crimson Guard will be brought on the Assembly Hall floor as the list will be pared down for the finals which will take place in between the Hoosiers dunk and three-point contests.  Winners will receive gift certificates from the Varsity Shop.

Introductions of the teams will begin at 7.  Women’s Coach Curt Miller and men’s coach Tom Crean will both address the crowd.

There will be a dunk contest, three-point contest and men’s scrimmage following introductions.  Final participants are yet to be determined.

Two students will have an opportunity to win free textbooks from the bookstore if they can sink a shot from half court in between the skills contests.

Tickets remain on sale for the general public for four Holiday Break men’s basketball games.  Tickets are available for Ball State (Nov. 25), Mt. Saint Mary’s (Dec. 19), Florida Atlantic (Dec. 21), and Jacksonville, Dec. 28. The mini series prices for four games are $139 for main level seats and $60 for IU students.  Single game prices for Ball State are $40 (main level), $26 (balcony) and $15 (IU student).  For the other three games they are $33 (main level), $25 (balcony) and $15 (IU student).   The ticket office will be open at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Though admission is free, fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item which benefits the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IU Basketball -- It's Gotta Be Defense

So there we were, sitting in Assembly Hall watching Indiana’s basketball team prepare for a potential national championship, and here’s one thing we know:

It’s gotta be defense.

That is the No. 1 priority for this team if it’s to achieve it’s goals. Just behind is rebounding.

You’d better believe the Hoosiers hit both hard.

They ranked 10th in the Big Ten in scoring defense (66.4 points allowed) and were 141st in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (42.6 percent).

That was enough to get them to the Sweet 16, but no further. Not even with the Big Ten's best offense.

It has to change and everybody knows it. Is there a dramatic change that needs to occur to spur that improvement? Here’s what the guy who should know, coach Tom Crean, had to say:

"I think it's everything (has to improve). I think we're already better because there's more length and more athleticism. Over the last four days just looking at how hard it is for people to score at the basket is a big thing. I think we can put a lot of pressure on the ball. The biggest thing for me is going to be like it was last year: can our transition defense keep taking steps? Can our shot clock defense keep taking steps? Because in-between, I think we're going to be able to create a little havoc. But it's when the breakdowns come.

"Today we threw things out there at them that we had not even really taught. We hadn't spent any time on full-court pressure since the summer, and we hadn't spent any time on our switching game until the season, since maybe the VCU game (IU’s cliffhanger NCAA tourney second-round victory). To me, that's where we "try to create a little chaos" here and there and see how they react to that, and then going back and studying it on film. That's what's good about this time of year."

The four freshmen -- Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea, Jeremy Hollowell and Peter Jurkin -- all had their moments. Jurkin has a broken nose and has to wear a plastic mask.

Is there anything Crean worries about to get them up to speed?

"No, I don't worry about any of that. We've got a deep team, and all four new guys can play. They're going through the trials and tribulations of day-after-day having to bring it. They have to bring that intensity level, bring that mental toughness. All four can play, and I think our coaching staff does a really good job of understanding that and reminding them of that. I think our players really get that. There's a mutual respect amongst this team, and it was there last year for the most part, but it's really there right now. You saw just how excited they were with Peter (Jurkin) doing something at the end of practice, and they really care about these guys, so I'm not worried about that. What they have to understand is that bringing it day after day is what's going to give them the opportunity for the minutes, and I think they're seeing that."

The practice was crisp and intense, indicative of the attitude and approach Crean has emphasized if the team is to achieve its goals.

"The work ethic has been tremendous, no question about it,” he said. “Focus is really good. I have not even really tried to bring a lot of chaos to the practice, in terms of situations and things of that nature yet; that will come. It's just a matter of doing it at a high level day after day if they really want to be good. That's what we've got to see. But there's no question four days in and through this whole pre-season that their focus level and their work ethic has been really good."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

IU-Ohio State Coaches Share the Love; IU Basketball Practice Begins

In the cutthroat world intercollegiate coaching, sometimes you steal. You do it, the other guy does it, not because they have 10 Commandment issues, because that’s how you learn and grow in the profession.

Which brings us to Indiana’s Kevin Wilson and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. They have known each other for years, back when both were assistant coaches. Both praise the other and say they have stolen ideas from the other.

In the coaching profession, that’s a good thing. It’s a compliment if you’ve devised a system others want to copy.

So Meyer calls Wilson an innovator and Wilson reciprocates while admiring Meyer’s “phenomenal success” and this warm and fuzzy moment will disappear as soon as the teams meet Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

Wilson, who directed record-setting offenses while an Oklahoma offensive coordinator, says he’s not an innovator as much as a guy trying to teach players to “play hard and play physical.”

Wilson said he’d like his Indiana teams to, in a lot of ways, play as Meyer’s teams do. And then Wilson took it a step further.

“It's nice to have schemes or concepts. We had to attack Michigan State last week differently than most people because of our dynamic and our playmakers to give us a chance. You don't take your cards and fold your hand in college football. You have to play the cards.”

Wilson then referenced the late Randy Walker, the former Northwestern coach and Wilson’s former boss.

“Coach Walker told me a long time ago that every hand is a winning hand, but you've got to know how to play the cards. Sometimes you're bluffing, sometimes you've got a good hand, but you've got to play your cards. And as a coach, that's our job. It's to manage the cards and know how to push the bets and hold the bets, and when to take and when to fold, how to keep playing as we go, and that's coaching.

“At the same time, as we coach, its physicality and what I like about Coach Meyer is he's been very innovative in what he does, but there's a brand of football that is all about toughness and attitude and playing good defense and coming at you. Those are things that I believe, as a line coach, and with my background with Coach Walker, which is a background of Coach Mallory, that's still the essence of football.

“You can window-dress it all you want, shift formation, I-formation, huddle up, no huddle, three-man, four-man, two-deep quarters. It doesn't matter. It's a physical game, playing hard, and that's what I think (Meyer has) got going on at Ohio State, and that's what we're getting to at our place, is bringing the physicality and toughness.

“To me, it's nice to be quote "thinking you're innovative," and his offense is one of the premier, but if you cut all of the window-dressing out, there's fundamentals in basics that win, and that's what they do at Ohio State, and that's what we're trying to do down here."

For the record, Indiana is 2-3 with a three-game losing streak. Ohio State is 6-0 and considered a top-10 team by nearly everyone except, well, the writer of this blog. I have the Buckeyes at No. 17 because they haven't beaten a contending team (the Big Ten is embarrassingly weak this season) and struggled to get past a mediocre Pac-12 team in California.

Anyway, the Hoosiers have to play a near perfect game to win Saturday night. They also need Ohio State to commit about four turnovers and make some really poor decisions.

Can that happen?


Will it?

We’ll find out soon enough


IU basketball is set to open its practice season tonight. That first workout is closed except for ESPNU (Hoosier Hysteria is set for Oct. 20), so we have to guess on a few things. Fortunately, coach Tom Crean has provided some tidbits on what we can expect from a team looking to win a national championship.

For instance, Crean went on ex-Hoosier player Dan Dakich’s popluar radio to talk Cream ‘n Crimson basketball on Thursday.

Crean said freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell will make instant impact.

“He’s a one-man press offense,” Crean said.

He also said he wants to have a “starting eight” this season. In other words, he wants eight guys good enough to start in a rotation designed to push the pace and wear down opposing defenses.

There will be two constants in that rotation -- Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls. Zeller might be the best player in America this season, and, as a point/shooting guard, Hulls is positioned to make an all-over-the-court impact.

Crean said everybody has bought into the work-hard-and-play-defense theme. He said there hasn’t been a time in the off-season where he’s had to worry about how hard everybody is working.

You'd better believe that's a good thing.

Crean told Dakich he wants to play at full-throttle speed, which means blink and you might miss something. The Hoosiers had the Big Ten’s best offense last year while averaging 53.5 shots a game. Crean would like to bump that up to 65 or so.

Crean also understands that if IU doesn’t play better defense, it has no chance of making it to the Final Four, let alone win a national championship.

“If you’re not carrying your weight on that," he said, "you may not get back in.”

As far as being a top-5 team this year (some experts list the Hoosiers at No. 1), Crean said, “Last year they responded to a lack of expectations, but they weren’t driven by it. They were driven by a desire to get better. It’s the same thing now.”

Oh, one final thing. Crean said that when Zeller arrived in Bloomington he lacked a little strength. He could bench press 185 pounds 10 times. Now he can bench press 225 pounds 14 times, and can also squat 415 pounds.

He will shoot three-pointers this season (he never took one last year), handle the ball more and, in short, do all the things you'd expect from a future NBA player.

First, of course, there's a season to remember to experience.

Instant IU Impact Likely for Ferrell; Hoosier Hysteria Details; And More

Figure freshman Yogi Ferrell will get major minutes this basketball season, which is what you’d expect from a guy coach Tom Crean expects to be one of the top point guards in America.
Ferrell is quick and aggressive and, well, the kind of point guard IU hasn’t had in years.

Still, the transition from high school to college, especially for a team expected to contend for a national title, isn’t easy even for the best of players.

“I feel I’m getting acclimated with a different kind of style Coach Crean wants to run,” Ferrell said. “I have a feel of what he wants me to do, which is lead this team to victory. I’ll do my best to do that.”

Much of that will come by playing defense. IU scored a ton last season and figures to score even more with the hyper pace Crean wants to set. But the Hoosiers will go as far as their defense carries them, and the point guard sets the tone.

“Defense has been a huge adjustment from playing a 2-3 zone in high school to now man to man,” Ferrell said. “I’m working on it every day –- on the ball and off the ball. I know that’s a huge key if we want to win a national championship.”

Another major adjustment has been the speed of play. Every level gets faster. Yes, Ferrell has noticed.

“During one of our individual practices we were doing a scrimmage and it’s just going back and forth, back and forth,” he said. “Some of the veterans have told me about what the first game will be like, that it’s like crazy fast. It took a while for them to get used to it.”

Again, the point guard sets the tone for that.

“As the point guard, you have to take control of the floor, not take too quick of shots, staying strong on defense. You control the tempo and the speed by controlling the game.”


By now you know that IU basketball practice officially begins on Friday, but the actual Hoosier Hysteria event won’t happen until Saturday, Oct. 20. That’s to accommodate Indiana’s fall break and ensure all students who want to attend, can.

The event will have a new twist –- Sage Steele, a 1995 IU grad and an ESPN SportsCenter co-host since 2007 will be the emcee.

A ton of recruits figure to show up, as they always do at this annual event.

Hoosier Hysteria is free, but fans are asked to bring a canned food item for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank. An autograph session for the men’s and women’s teams will run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. In the past this has generated long lines, so get there early. The program is set to start at 7 p.m.

”Hoosier Hysteria will be an unbelievably exciting night and I strongly encourage our fans to come early because we will not be able to admit anyone after the capacity of Assembly Hall has been reached,” IU athletic director Fred Glass said in a university release.

The men’s team is a preseason No. 1 by many publications. It returns five starters, including All-America Cody Zeller, from a group that went 27-9 and reached the Sweet 16. Plus, the Hoosiers bring in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

Also, new women’s coach Curt Miller will showcase his first Hoosier team.

As far as what specific events will occur during Hoosier Hysteria, well, that remains a work in progress. Figure some kind of three-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and a brief scrimmage.

And if you want to catch some men’s games, tickets are available for Ball State (Nov. 25), Mt. Saint Mary’s (Dec. 19), Florida Atlantic (Dec. 21) and Jacksonville (Dec. 28).


If you believe’s Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, Zeller is the nation’s No. 1 player this season.

Zeller topped their top 100 players list. Forward Christian Watford came in at No. 38. Victor Oladipo was at No. 84.


Since when does a supercomputer, and a $53 million building to hold it, take priority over what’s REALLY important, which is building a new Assembly Hall and feeding the media?

It does at IU these days. President Michael McRobbie put academics over athletics when he announced IU will use money from the Big Ten Network to pay for it.

This computer will be the first at any U.S. university capable of calculations at the rate of one petaFLOPS, which is basically how many boos A-Rod generates at Yankee Stadium each second.

No. Wait! It’s a thousand trillion math calculations a second. The computer will be called Big Red II

Anyway, IU gets between $17 million and $20 million a year from the Big Ten Network, now known as BTN.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IU Insight – from Hughes to Horses to Hutchens Book

Kevin Wilson is the all-business football coach for Indiana with a unique view of the world.

How unique?

Ah, there’s a tale to tell.

Conside the bruised back suffered by talented wide receiver Kofi Hughes during last Saturday’s tough-as-they-come loss to Michigan State. Hughes will probably be back in action for Saturday’s game against unbeaten Ohio State, but that’s not what made Wilson’s comments memorable.

Here’s how he explained Hughes’ injury:

“If he was a horse, they’d have shot him,” Wilson said.


“He’s lucky he’s not equestrian, because a greedy vet would’ve taken him out the other day. He would’ve been long gone. He’s got a bruise; he’s a little limited right now. We’ll see as it goes, but God bless him that God made him a man instead of an equestrian, because he would’ve been out.

“But he’s got a bruise. It’s a back deal, he got hit in the back on the deal, helmet to the back. It was actually by his shoulder. It looked like a kind of a glancing blow. I think he’ll be OK. He’s been a little limited the first two days, but he’ll need to get a good go (Wednesday), and get rolling Thursday and get in a rhythm.”

What does that mean?

We’ll use the answer a professor once used when explaining Shakespeare.

Or was that the song, Louie Louie?

It doesn’t matter. Bottom line -- it means whatever you want it to mean.


If IU is to upset Ohio State and get the Big Ten-rocking victory to put substance to all the we’re-getting-better talk, it has to stop superstar quarterback Braxton Miller.

He’s the Buckeyes’ slightly younger version of Michigan’s Denard Robinson, a dual-threat playmaker who impacts a game faster than you can say, “Thank God the real NFL refs are back!”

Miller ranks third in the Big Ten in rushing (763 yards, 8 TDs), third in pass efficiency (145.0, whatever that means), seventh in passing yardage (176.7 yards a game) and second in total offense (303.8 yards) behind Michigan’s Robinson (323.6).

Here’s what Wilson had to say about him:

“He’s the guy that makes it go. Because of his ability, he’s the best runner on the field, and he’s also a guy that can throw the thing. Very seldom do you find guys who really can throw that can run or guys that can really run that can throw.

“He’s a little bit more of a dynamic runner than a thrower, but he throws the ball well and you have to commit so many guys up there, a little bit like you’re playing Denard Robinson. Sometimes your guys can get their eyes off the target. You have to commit so many guys to the run, whether you’re shadowing or spying him or just canceling gaps putting people on him, as soon as somebody gets his eyes off the receiver, here comes the play-action pass and you really can get burned.”

The Hoosiers can’t afford to get burned. Not in this game. Ohio State just put 63 points on a much better Nebraska defense than what IU will bring to Memorial Stadium.

The odds don’t favor the Hoosiers, but then, did anyone expect them to jump ahead of the Spartans 17-0? They rocked a team once favored to reach the Big Ten title game with a hard-hitting approach that, if sustained, will lead to future success.

So we shall see.


If you bleed Cream ‘n Crimson basketball, you’ll want to get a copy of Rising From The Ashes, Indianapolis Star reporter Terry Hutchens’ detailed look at the Hoosiers’ return to glory.

Starting from Christian Watford’s shot heard round the basketball world (yes, the one that beat Kentucky last December), Hutchens writes about the struggles and triumphs of a tradition-rich program overcoming NCAA sanctions from the Kelvin Sampson era to return to elite status under coach Tom Crean.

Hutchens talked to coaches, players and fans. He included stories and columns by a number of journalists, including a column by, well, the writer of this blog.

Hutchens wrote about how IU ended up in such a mess and how Crean got the Hoosiers out of it.

The short answer -– work, will and want.

The longer answer – recruiting, recruiting and hard work.

Hutchens is an award-winning journalist who has written three other books -- one on the Indianapolis Colts, one on former Indiana football coach Terry Hoeppner and a Christian inspirational book he wrote with Jane Hoeppner, the widow of Terry.

The book is available at now, and will soon be available at, plus a number of book stores throughout the state.

IU Intensity -- Ekeler’s Passion Suggests Turnaround Coming

Mike Ekeler is a passionate guy. Indiana’s co-defensive coordinator wants to win, and he wants to win now, which puts him on par with all the football coaches, players and the entire Hoosier Football Nation.

He believes in what the Hoosiers are doing, KNOWS that the program is turning around, improvement is coming. He sees it on a daily basis in practice from guys who have bought in on what coach Kevin Wilson preaches.

So when he hears and reads that it’s the same, old Hoosiers losing in the same old way, frustration can slip out.

Of course, he’s only been around about two years, and hasn’t endured the generation of watching IU lose big and small, blow games in the first half and in the second.

Because here’s the truth –- until Indiana wins on the field and not in practice, everything is just hot air, and IU still ain’t winning -– a three-game losing streak and a 2-3 record. So the comments and criticism will continue.

But here’s also the truth -– the Hoosiers ARE getting better. Last year they were patsies. This year they are competitive. They have a chance to win a Big Ten game or two, although it likely won’t happen on Saturday when unbeaten Ohio State rolls into Memorial Stadium.

Anyway, Ekeler was asked after Monday’s practice about the improving defense (for the first half it throttled and roughed up a very physical Michigan State team). It was a question without bite or intent, meant to reflect that improvement. Ekeler was polite, but you could sense the frustration behind his words.

“You guys (the media) don’t see it. You guys don’t get it, because you’re not here every day (in practice). No disrespect. Our kids have been playing their tails off all year. To say we came out and we played inspired last week, to me that’s an insult. Our kids have played their tails off from the first game to now. That’s who we are, character wise. They’re going to play hard and do what they’re coached to do. We’re going to give everything we got.

“Improvement is based on what we saw offensively (from Michigan State). Our guys fitted up pretty well. We had some breakdowns at crucial times and we didn’t do enough that we needed to do to win. That’s never good enough.

“Like I tell the players, when we win, it’s on them. When we lose, it’s on me. I’m tired of losing. They’re tired of losing. We’re going to keep fighting, keep coming and wins are going to come.

“Coach Wilson has done a good job molding this program. We were a soft, soft, soft, soft team when we got here. Now they’re playing with an edge and developing some toughness. It’s a process. They’re becoming who they are when they wake up (each day).

“In practice we hit. We get after it. So are we there yet? Heck no. Will we ever be there? No, there’s always more out there. We’ve got a great challenge this week and the rest of the way, but we’re going to keep coming. We’ll give everything we’ve got this week, then reload and do it again next week, then the next week. That’s the direction Coach Wilson has this program going.”

So now you know.


Looks like tight end Ted Bolser will play against Ohio State. His ejection from the Michigan State game for fighting might have left him suspended, but Wilson said on his Monday night radio show that Bolser is cleared to play.

Bolser was ejected late in the game when a Michigan State player dropped a punt and both teams scrambled to recover the ball. Referees thought Bolser had thrown a punch. The game film, Wilson said, showed he did not.

“The play came down, it was a muffed punt that the referees, when they saw it right away said that they recovered the ball, but at the same time it was a scrum for the ball,” Wilson said. “There was not a great sense of urgency to separate. Nothing got out of hand other than guys just fighting for the ball.

“I think as we were fighting for the ball, a referee thought he saw a punch and threw (Bolser) out of the game. When they looked at it on tape, there wasn’t enough evidence. You could tell even when it happened, there were no emotions other than guys fighting for what appeared to be a loose ball. But the call was made on the field that didn’t go that way.

“When we spoke to the official guys, they said they were looking at it. They didn’t think (there was a punch). What are my thoughts? I said, the TV footage shows more than the game footage. The call went down where it just didn’t get handled quickly. These guys were fighting a little bit for a ball, but not fighting each other.

“We’re going to protect players and sportsmanship is big in the Big Ten. I think when they looked at it, they didn’t think it was an unsportsmanlike play. They ruled to allow Ted (to play.) I’m glad for Ted. I’m glad that they just sorted it out and took their time.

“Ted, he’s an Ohio guy, so a chance to play the Buckeyes is special. I’m happy for Ted.”


What’s up with the quarterback competition? Cam Coffman had a big first half against Michigan State as the Hoosiers bolted to a 17-0 lead and led 27-14 at halftime. The offense did nothing in the second half, mostly because the Spartans adjusted and took away the short passes that had been so effective earlier.

As far as what that means for Saturday’s Ohio State game, Wilson said Monday’s practice was close to a dead heat between Coffman and Nate Sudfeld.

“If I looked up now, I’d say Nate was a little better,” Wilson said. “They’re so close. Just the dynamics of that game started working really well for Cam. But it wasn’t Cam. It was the guys around him. We were playing fast on the perimeter. We were making plays. He was putting the ball on target. They weren’t putting pressure on him.

“We need to get the run game going better.

“By no means did we settle on Cam. It’s just the way it played out (that Sudfeld didn’t play against Michigan State). We were so far into the game and we didn’t really play enough snaps to say it was anybody’s fault in the second half.”

So what does that mean for Saturday? Whoever practices the best will start. Figure both will play.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When Crean Talks IU Basketball, You'd Better Listen

Tom Crean is talking Indiana basketball. That’s a good thing. That’s his passion.

He has a lot of company there.

The Hoosiers are everybody’s top-5 team for this season, with many putting them at No. 1. Sophomore forward Cody Zeller is considered an All-America for sure, and a strong contender for national player of the year. Few expect him to stay for a third year, but stranger things have happened.

“Cody was the most fundamentally sound player I’ve ever seen at 18,” Crean said.  “He was so well coached. He came in with strong fundamentals. What he’s good at, he’ll stick with. He has to lead the way with stretching those fundamentals.

“We have to get to the point that no matter what anybody does at Purdue, at Notre Dame, that he can go above and beyond. We’ve had him doing as much ball screens and pick and rolls as Jordan. We’ve got to get him to the point where he can get to the rim in three dribbles.

"If you’re best players are getting better, everybody else is falling in line.”

Yogi Ferrell projects to being one of the nation’s top freshmen. He’s an instant impact guy whose only glitch is learning to play great defense all the time against great players. That’s true of every freshman. He’s improving, so if his defense matches his offensive skills, look out.

In other words, there’s plenty for Crean to talk about as we approach the Oct. 12 start of practice, and then the Oct. 20 Hoosier Hysteria event.

Here are more of Crean’s thoughts gleaned during a recent public talk with students at the IU Auditorium.

In order for Indiana to play to the hype, it has to defend far better than it did last year. Opponents shot better than 42 percent against the Hoosiers last season. That needs to get below 40 percent.

“I lay awake at night thinking about the defense,” Crean said. “We’ve got to get that field goal percentage defense down. Great teams do that. Top teams defend at a high level.

“We made so many jumps offensively last year. We cut down our fouling. We had to be a great three-point shooting team and get to the foul line. We did that. We don’t want to lose that, but we have to make the same jumps defensively. We need to create more turnovers.”

As far as the offense, Crean said he wants to make it so “you’ll need a neck brace to watch us if we play as fast as we want to play.”

“We’ll play faster on offense. We have to. We have to rebound better, defensive rebound better, create more turnovers, get on the fast break better. We have to get to the point where we have eight or nine starters.

“We’ll probably start a freshman. The battles are on now. I don’t know if all the players know it. A good portion do. You’ve got to bring it every day. If you can’t carry your weight, if you can’t play at a fast pace, it will be hard to get you in there.”

Crean talked about four things last year that turned Indiana into a 27-win, Sweet 16 team: forward Christian Watford’s ability to guard a point guard; guard Victor Oladipo becoming unguardable in the pick and roll; freshman guard Remy Abell, who barely played the first half of the season, improving so that he was “ready when called upon” the last month of the season; Zeller’s continued improvement.

“He never leveled off,’ Crean said.

Oladipo and fellow junior Will Sheehey have developed into big-time players with NBA potential. That’s impressive considering they weren’t considered elite prospects coming out of high school.

“When Victor gets his outside shooting to match everything else, he’s looking at a NBA level,” Crean said. “The same with Will. They were ranked in the 130s to 140s. People were looking at us like we had three heads when we signed them. They improved and came in with the right attitude.”

Abell continues to develop. Look for him to be a major contributor this season.

“He had a great spring and summer,” Crean said. “It will be hard not to have him on the floor.”

Watford has battled some minor injuries, but should be good to go for practice.

“The next step for him is improving his rebounding and defense if he wants to play where he wants to play,” Crean said.

In other words, the NBA.

Senior guard Jordan Hulls has improved his mid-range shooting. He’s already one of the nation’s top free throw shooters and three-point shooters.

“Jordan is getting better at creating and the pick and roll,” Crean said. “It’s hard to find somebody to match up to him shooting that 3.”

Crean said forward Derek Elston has lost weight which has improved his quickness and fitness.

“He needs to make open shots, talk more on defense and be able to rebound,” Crean said.

Sophomore guard Austin Etherington barely played last season. Look for a bigger impact this season as he takes over Matt Roth’s sharpshooting role.

“Austin has to believe in himself the way I believe in him,” Crean said. “He can be a guy who can help us, especially with his ability to shoot. He’s got to look at it like, I’ve got to be so good at shooting, (Crean) has to play me. He has a lot of talent.”

Ferrell figures to make the most immediate impact as a freshman, but Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Perea (now healthy after a foot injury left him in a boot for part of the summer) and Peter Jurkin also figure to make big contributions.

“They have the work ethic, the talent, they’ve won and they are like sponges when it comes to picking things up,” Crean said. “If that continues, we’re going to get a lot of things done.”