Three Thoughts From Indiana’s Televised Practice on ESPNUPosted by Deepak Jayanti on October 15th, 2012
Indiana head coach Tom Crean did not enter the Assembly Hall on a motorcycle. He neither dressed up as a superhero nor did he set up the first official practice with thousands of fans in the arena. He did, however, have the TV cameras rolling as he held the first practice with arguably the best college basketball team in the nation last Friday. ESPN’s Brian Weinstein, Jay Williams and Dan Dakich were present in Bloomington for Indiana’s practice and it was aired on ESPNU. You can catch the replay of the practice on ESPN3 right now if you’re so inclined.
Crean was his usual self marching up and down the court, brimming with energy, a sight that Hoosier fans have been accustomed to for four years. He had a microphone attached and went through several drills while the ESPN crew discussed Indiana basketball for the upcoming season. The following are a few observations/thoughts from the practice:
- Maurice Creek: Every Hoosier fan and even Big Ten fans are eager to see guard Maurice Creek back in action this season. Creek couldn’t play much over the past two seasons due to knee injuries and he practiced with pads on both of his knees. Creek was supposed to help Verdell Jones III during Crean’s earlier seasons to revive IU basketball but he has been consistently sidelined with injuries. Creek was shown on the telecast running some pick-and-pop situations to display the quick release on his jumper. Along with returning guard Will Sheehey (8.6 PPG), Creek will be one of the primary scoring options off the bench. His conditioning may take some time to get up to par but there is enough depth on this squad for him to catch up by the middle of the conference season.
- The Freshmen: Speaking of depth, we got a first look at one of the best recruiting classes in the nation on Friday evening. Guard Yogi Ferrell participated in a few one-on-one dribbling drills against other guards and appeared to be working on his upper body strength during the offseason. Crean may choose to play both of his point guards — Ferrell and Jordan Hulls — together to utilize Hulls’ shooting abilities (49% 3FG) and Ferrell’s dribble penetration skills. Offensively that might work but it also poses a big question defensively regarding who will guard the best guards from the opposition such as Ohio State’s Aaron Craft or Michigan’s Trey Burke. Fellow freshman and top 50 high school recruit Hanner Perea was featured in a few drills and appeared to be putting some time in the weight room as well. Perea is listed at 6’8″ and 225 lbs and should provide some depth in the frontcourt beside Cody Zeller and Derek Elston. Another freshman big man, Peter Jurkin (7’0″, 230 lbs.), did not participate in the drills and was shown on the sidelines.
- Tom Crean’s Interview: Crean discussed various topics with Dan Dakich and Jay Williams during the coverage. One of the topics was the coverage of his team and the constant media spotlight heading into this season. Crean pointed toward the maturity of his players over the years especially as they have had to deal with some negative media attention when they were not producing winning seasons. Crean also stressed defense and “hustle stats” as one of the main themes of his practices, as the Hoosiers can’t afford to give up 1.06 points per possession during the conference season again. And all of that depth on the roster? Crean indicated that the depth will help during some tough stretches of the season and through any injuries that might come up. The non-conference season will be very important for the newcomers to get used to the college tempo if they hope to step in during the conference season.
Dakich and Williams both agreed that Indiana’s roster is built to win a championship. Not many other media outlets disagree with them in the preseason. Open practices such as this one give the fans a peek at this talented squad. Now Hoosier fans only need to wait less than five weeks to see their guys in action.