Jan 26, 2014; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean during the first half of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 56-46. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Hoosiers Link Storm: A Quiet Offseason

The Indiana Hoosiers haven’t been in the news much lately. That’s probably a good thing given the recent press of some teams around the state.

The Hoosiers and coach Tom Crean are spending the offseason trying to figure out how to rebound from a 17-15 season. Much of last seasons shortcomings had to do with inexperience and the coaching staff losing the team.

Mar 13, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) dunks against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Nnanna Egwu (32) in the first round of the Big Ten college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Former Hoosier Noah Vonleh has been the subject of much debate recently. He’s jumped up on a number of draft boards and been impressive in workouts.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has him fifth on his latest Big Board. Ford points out that he has a bigger upside (and is bigger overall) than Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Arizona’s Evan Gordon, two players who had a lot more buzz during the season.

Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated has Vonleh going eighth to the Sacramento Kings in his latest mock. Vonleh next to DeMarcus Cousins would be a nice one-two, but rumors also have the Kings trading the pick for Kevin Love.

Zach Osterman at the Indy Star looks over the 2014-15 schedule. So far, it looks like the Hoosiers have set up a more difficult non-conference schedule than last years. This was a problem as IU faced mostly cupcake teams (but nearly beat the eventual National Champs) and it hurt their resume when it came to selection time.

A tougher non-conference will prepare the team better for Big Ten play and should result in a more competitive team late in the year.

Jon Rothstein from CBS Sports reported that Chuck Martin will join the Hoosiers coaching staff. Martin will replace Kenny Johnson, who left for an assistant job at Louisville. Martin was the head coach at Marist for five years and a scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder this past season.

Paul Biancardi, ESPN Insider, breaks down the most important freshmen for 2014. IU’s James Blackmon Jr. leads said list. He gives IU exactly what it lacked last season: outside shooting. He’s a pure shooting guard and will have a big impact as soon as the season starts.

ESPN recently ranked the Top 50 coaches in college basketball. Somehow, Crean was unraked likely due to the poor perception of him as an X’s and O’s coach. Myron Medcalf broke down his biggest surprises on the list. Despite what people may think of Crean, he certainly should be among the top 50 in the country (and at the very least is one of the first off the list).

Adam Johnson over at Crimson Quarry looks into Crean’s in-state recruiting. A lot of talented players have ended up leaving the state in recent years. Its hard to pass up an opportunity to work with Tom Izzo or someone of that caliber, but Crean and his staff still do a good job and get nearly half of the quality players from in the state.

The IU Athletic Department put out a Quick Hit piece touting the accomplishments of the program over the past few years. The academic accomplishments are impressive and the quality of play is much better. Its especially encouraging considering how low the program had fallen not too long ago.

 

Tags: Indiana Hoosiers James Blackmon Jr Noah Vonleh Tom Crean

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