Indiana 2014-15 Record: 20-14, 9-9 in the Big Ten
Key Players Lost: Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Devin Davis, Stanford Robinson, Max Hoetezel and Jeremiah April
Key Players Coming Back: Yogi Ferrell, Jams Blackmon Jr., Troy Williams, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft, Ryan Burton (RS), Collin Hartman, Emmitt Holt and Tim Priller.
New Recruits: Thomas Bryant, Ogugua ‘O.G.’ Anunoby and Juwan Morgan
After a shaky 2013-14 season in which they did not appear in any post-season (this coming off a season in which they were a No.1 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and made the Sweet 16), the Hoosiers showed a lot of spunk this year and made it back to the Big Dance and perhaps salvaging Tom Crean’s job in the process.
With no senior on the squad, the Hoosiers grew up fast and made good on a lot of talent while making the job a lot easier for Crean. The Hoosiers had some nice wins in the non-conference portion of the schedule, beating the likes of Butler, SMU and Pittsburgh. They had a solid run in Big Ten play and earned enough good wins there (Maryland, Ohio State) to make it back to the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed, where they lost to Wichita State in the Round of 64.
Along the way, the Hoosiers got great seasons from junior Yogi Ferrell and freshman James Blackmon Jr. Both players combined to average more than 30 points per game.
Ferrell was named first team all-Big Ten after averaging 16.3 points, 4.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting .439 percent from the field, .860 percent from the three-throw line and .416 percent from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Blackmon Jr. had an excellent freshman campaign. For a conference that boasted the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Melo Trimble, Blackmon got lost in the shuffle. He ended his season averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting .420 percent from the field, .806 percent from the free-throw line and .387 percent from three-point range. For his efforts, he was predictably named to the Big Ten all-Freshman Team, as well as earn all-Big Ten honorable mention.
Also having a solid season for Indiana was sophomore wing Troy Williams. Williams was the third Hoosier in double figures, as he averaged 13 points, a team-high 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game on .540 percent shooting from the field, .742 percent from the free-throw line and .462 percent from three-point range. He joined Blackmon Jr. on the Big Ten honorable mention list.
2015-16 Look Ahead:
Considering that Ferrell, Blackmon Jr., Williams are all coming back, not to mention the Hoosiers are also bringing back four of their five other top scorers, Crean has what he needs to compete. You add them with a freshmen class that includes McDonald’s All-American Thomas Bryant and we’re talking about a team that could conceivably contend for the Big Ten title.
And I haven’t even begun to discuss the possibilities about stud recruit Thon Maker possibly joining the Hoosiers! Then again, Andrew Beverly has that covered.
With Ferrell, Blackmon Jr. and Williams doing the damage in the backcourt and the wing, Bryant as well as fellow freshman to-be Juwan Morgan (also a four-star recruit) will be a welcome sight in the frontcourt. Crean has lacked size ever since losing Cody Zeller and Christian Watford two years ago. Add them to the mix and Indiana can be scary good. If Crean can nab Maker, oh boy!
The only stain heading into the season are the recent dismissals of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis. This comes on the heel of more off-the-court issues that plagued last season’s team. While not expected to be starters, Mosquera-Perea and Davis could have added valuable depth for Crean.
Nevertheless, the outlook for the Hoosiers is still bright heading into next season. This is a team that will challenge Maryland and Michigan State for the conference crown.
If Crean struggles with this talented group, the pressure to keep his job will be immense. It’s win big or go home for Crean in Bloomington.