The Indiana Hoosiers experienced a long journey back to relevancy in the college basketball world. Now, with coach Tom Crean leading the charge, IU returned to the top-seed line for the 2013 NCAA Tournament and have their eyes set on another big season in 2013-14.
The Hoosiers will lose a lot from their Sweet 16 team. Do-it-all guard Victor Oladipo has declared for the NBA Draft and is expected to be a lottery pick. Cody Zeller, who led the Hoosiers in scoring at nearly 17 points a night, is also taking his talents to the NBA. Senior sharpshooters Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford are gone after graduating. Sophomore guard Remy Abell has announced he will transfer.
With their top four scorers all leaving Bloomington, Crean and the Hoosiers will have their hands full in 2013-14. Fortunately, help is on the way.
Indiana's recruiting class is currently ranked fourth by ESPN. Five-star forward Noah Vonleh, who is ranked eighth in ESPN's top 100, will help lessen the blow of Zeller's departure. At 6'8 and 220 lbs, Vonleh is still coming into his own physically, although he's skilled enough to create his own shot off the dribble. He is also regarded as a strong rebounder. Look for him to start immediately and make an impact right out of the gate.
Troy Williams, a four-star wing out of Oak Hill Academy, can score points in a hurry and might even draw comparisons to Oladipo given his long arms and freakish athleticism. Stanford Robinson, ranked 98th in ESPN's top 100, comes from a winning program at Findlay Prep and will have no problems digging in on the defensive end. Four-star center Luke Fischer will need some time to adjust to the college game, although he could see some early playing time if he's able to bulk up in the weight room.
There will also be some talented returning from this year's squad.
Point guard Yogi Ferrell did not play well in March, but he had a strong freshman campaign and will only get better as he continues to learn the college game. Look for him to be one of the team leaders next season both on and off the court. Will Sheehey returns as a senior and should continue to be a very solid role player for IU. After three years in the system, he could be in for a big year.
Indiana won't begin the season with the preseason hype they received last fall, but that may not be a bad thing. The Hoosiers will be very young and lose nearly 70 percent of their scoring from last year. Crean and the coaching staff will need time to get everyone to gel together, but if they do, another run to the Sweet 16 could be in the cards.
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