To wrap up our IUBB positional previews, we give you a look at the men that will be patrolling the paint in 2013-14 …
This is obviously the big name that everyone wants to see and hear. Coming in as one of the highest recruits since Eric Gordon, Vonleh has high expectations. So far most scouts have been very impressed with Vonleh’s height (6’9), body (packed on 20+ pounds of muscle) and his freakishly long wingspan (7’3). These attributes along with his knack for scoring and rebounding could make Vonleh the most vital piece of the puzzle for IU. With just a few true big men that might be able to contribute, a lot of the work load seems to be on the shoulders of Vonleh.
Look to see Vonleh primarily playing the power forward position, but depending on how healthy the Hoosiers are, he could slide into the center spot. Although IU has limited true big men, height isn’t an issue (some of the team’s ‘wings’ can slide in and play down low). Vonleh should have help from a plethora of wings along with Fischer and Perea. Vonleh has a decent three-point shot and it showed during Hoosier Hysteria. If put in the right position, he could be a true threat from inside and out.
This is a big question mark right now for the Hoosiers. Fischer has the height and body to play the big man position in the B1G, but after a shoulder injury, he’s been out of practice for almost a month and hasn’t been able to get reps at the center position. From what has been seen from Fischer so far, he looks like another Zeller protégé. His fundamental skills are outstanding and he has a pretty hook shot to go along with a good mid-range jump shot. If healthy, he could definitely be in contention for a starting spot alongside Vonleh in the post. However, there are so many possible lineups for the Hoosiers, only time will tell what direction Crean will go.
Fischer’s strengths are clear and easy to see: He’s fundamental, good passing, plays hard and has a baby hook shot that we haven’t seen in a while. However, high school is a huge difference from college and his defense could be in question when having to guard someone like Adriean Payne or trying to score on someone like Mitch McGary. Once again, only time will tell, but Fischer has a high ceiling and is a solid 3-4 year player.
Hanner Perea aka “Air Columbia” is quite presumably one of the best athletes in college basketball. His freakishly long arms combined with his amazing vertical ability makes him one of the most dangerous hidden secrets this year. The big question is whether IU can put him in positions to score and whether or not Perea can keep progressing.
Coming into IU, Perea was expected of big things. At one time Perea was a five star prospect that had unbelievable highlights displaying his dunking and shot-blocking ability. However, last year he was only seen a few times in gameplay and seemed very raw. This year at Hoosier Hysteria he looked improved by a wide margain and looks like he could make a difference.
At 6’9 Perea definitely could man down the middle if Fischer and Vonleh (who look like the 2 main options down low) get in foul trouble. If Perea keeps improving his handling and knowledge on the court, he could be dangerous and make IU a serious contender in the B1G. His decision-making on the floor just wasn’t anywhere near where it needed to be last year. Hopefully that changes.
Jurkin wasn’t expected of much last year as IU had Cody Zeller who was an All-American center that rarely needed breaks. However, it did seem like Jurkin had the shot-blocking potential to give minutes here and there, but we never saw that. During Hoosier Hysteria Jurkin looked as if he had gained weight and skill, although he still looked raw.
Jurkin most likely won’t see the court that much again, but foul trouble cases might put him in the game at times. He has the height and the length to be a good college ball player, but he still looks like he needs to add muscle and doesn’t always seem like he knows where to be on the court. With more progress, late in the year we could see him being an effective bench player.
We don’t want to forget about walk-on senior Jeff Howard, who has been patiently waiting his turn on the bench, but if we do see him for anything other than tiny spurts, it’ll probably mean the Hoosiers are really hurting down low.