Tag Archives: Tom Crean

Mosquera-Perea out indefinitely after right knee injury

Indiana junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a right knee injury in practice yesterday, per a release from the team.

“There is no question this is a blow to Hanner and definitely a blow to our team,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “He does a lot for us. The important thing right now is Hanner’s recovery and rehabilitation.”

“He has made a lot of strides this season and we are disappointed for him, but expect him to come back stronger than ever.”

Mosquera-Perea has started all 16 of Indiana’s games this season and has averaged 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game. He had his first career double-double on New Year’s Eve against Nebraska when he recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Hoosiers’ 70-65 victory.

“With Hanner out, we will need everyone ready to do a little more,” Crean said. “We need to continue our focus on rebounding, defense and all the little things it takes to be successful. We are not a team where you define a player by his position.”

“We will have five basketball players out there who understand that our court awareness has to be at an all-time high. I expect our players will be up for the challenge.”

Indiana’s next game is Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Penn State (12-4, 0-3).

Indiana to face Penn State without Hanner Mosquera-Perea

Thirty minutes before Indiana’s Big Ten home opener against No. 22 Ohio State, Indiana coach Tom Crean said he made a change in his starting lineup. The Hoosiers’ usual starting five trotted out on the court for the 11th game in a row, but one starter, likely junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea, had nearly lost his grasp on his spot in the starting lineup.

“The starting lineup is always subject to change,” Crean said at his press conference on Monday. “It’s not a given on any given night.”

Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, those words ring louder and truer than ever just one day later. Multiple reports surfaced Tuesday morning that junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea suffered a knee injury on Monday that will sideline him for two to four weeks. The program has not confirmed the injury.

The Hoosiers (12-4, 2-1) will get their first taste of life without Mosquera-Perea Tuesday night against Penn State (12-4, 0-3).

Without Mosquera-Perea, Indiana’s undersized roster just got smaller, leaving 6-foot-7 forwards Troy Williams, Emmitt Holt and Collin Hartman to man the team’s frontcourt. Freshmen Max Hoetzel, Tim Priller and Jeremiah April, who are 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-11, respectively, could provide Crean with bigger options off the bench but all three have played limited minutes this season.

Holt or Hartman will fill Mosquera-Perea’s void in the starting lineup and Indiana will play an entirely new brand of small ball.

The junior’s injury was out of Indiana’s control, but the Hoosiers can control how they respond to his temporary loss. Crean said Monday that playing with a mindset based on hustle, defense, rebounding and making the next pass is something that his players can control.

Luckily for Indiana, the Hoosiers won’t have to face an elite big man in their first game without Mosquera-Perea. Donovan Jack and Jordan Dickerson are the Nittany Lions’ only rotation players taller than 6-foot-7 and both play roughly 15 minutes per game.

What Indiana will have to face, though, is the Big Ten’s leading scorer, senior D.J. Newbill.

“You have to be aware of where he’s at, at all times,” Crean said.

Newbill scores his conference-best 21.3 points per game in a variety of ways. He frequents the free throw line thanks to the 6.1 fouls he draws per 40 minutes and he shoots 37.7 percent from behind the arc. While the senior guard is Penn State’s best player, the Nittany Lions are more than a one-trick pony. Brandon Taylor, Shep Garner and Geno Thorpe average at least eight points per game and provide Pat Chambers’ team with secondary scoring options.

“There’s a lot of guys on that court that can really, really score, not just Newbill,” Crean said. “They can score, whether they can shoot, whether they can drive it, whether they can post it, they can score.”

Penn State will be missing its fifth-leading scorer, senior John Johnson, who was suspended on Monday from all team activities. When Crean was asked if he had a reaction to Penn State losing Johnson, he said he didn’t really have one.

“They’re a really good team with or without him in my mind,” Crean said. “He can certainly score the ball but they’ve got other guys that can score.”

In fact, Crean said there’s a chance the suspension could help the Nittany Lions.

“I think my first reaction would be that those have a tendency to really rally teams,” he said. “Those have a real ability to get in an even tighter circle.”

Now the question is whether Indiana, without Mosquera-Perea, can do the same.

Bennie Seltzer returns to Indiana in temporary, non-coaching rule

Indiana coach Tom Crean announced Monday night on his weekly radio show that Bennie Seltzer, who served as an assistant coach at Indiana from 2008-12, will return to the program in a non-coaching role for a temporary period of a four months to replace Je’Ney Jackson as Director of Player Performance. Jackson left for the University of Kansas’ football program after Indiana’s game at Nebraska on New Year’s Eve.

Seltzer has attended several of Indiana’s recent home games.

“Bennie, who was with us at Marquette and came here from day one, has been hired as the Director of Player Performance,” Crean said. “He walked into this debacle with us and helped build it into the number one team in the country.”

Seltzer joined Crean’s staff at Marquette in 2006 and he spent the past two seasons as the head coach of Samford. He will take over some of Jackson’s responsibilities, including community and campus outreach and mentorship, per a team release.

“It will be a temporary position in the sense that he wants to get back into coaching,” Crean said. “It is a non-coaching position, but he will be involved in the strength and conditioning and just be involved with these guys.”

Seltzer has reportedly had a long-standing relationship with Devin Davis and his family and he will help Davis transition to basketball and classroom activities after he suffered a traumatic brain injury on Nov. 1.

“You need people around you that understand that it is a 24/7 responsibility,” Crean said. “Bennie gets that. He is a true owner. We were sad when he left, but this gives him a chance to get back at it and get back with us. It’s like he never left. He has a different role, but that role is going to be tremendously utilized.”

“I’m appreciative of Fred Glass and everybody here that went to bat for us to get this done. Bennie is going to be very good in helping us with Devin, as he is back in school now and he goes through his process of getting back where he needs to be.”

Column: Indiana’s offseason additions were successful pickups

Roster turnover is the status quo in the world of college basketball. Between transfers, of which there were hundreds last offseason, and early entries to the NBA Draft, teams are forced to add players in the offseason and sometimes mid-season to fill out their rosters.

Indiana has had a much roster turnover as any school in the past two seasons. From the start of the 2013-14 season until the start of this season, five players — Luke Fischer, Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell, Jonny Marlin and Peter Jurkin — transferred, Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer graduated, Noah Vonleh entered the NBA Draft and several walk-ons didn’t return to the program.

Two scholarships remained available for Indiana as returning players and Indiana’s five-man freshman class, including late signees Jeremiah April and Tim Priller, occupied 11 of the team’s scholarships. Indiana’s coaching staff looked to fill out the team’s roster with transfers and unsigned freshmen. Tom Crean & Co. hoped to add size and experience to their young and undersized roster.

Several transfer big men received offers from Indiana, including Boston College’s Ryan Anderson, Virginia Tech’s Trevor Thompson and Temple’s Anthony Lee, but none of them committed to play for the Hoosiers. Anderson, who is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, will use his final year of eligibility at Arizona in the 2015-16 season. Thompson, also sidelined due to NCAA transfer rules, and Lee, a senior, chose Ohio State over Indiana.

The Hoosiers added redshirt junior guard Nick Zeisloft, who transferred from Illinois State, in July and they swooped in to offer freshman Emmitt Holt a scholarship, which he accepted in late August, before he went to prep school for a year.

On Saturday afternoon, Indiana had the chance to face a player who had spurned the Hoosiers: Anthony Lee.

Not only did Indiana defeat No. 22 Ohio State, but Zeisloft and Holt combined for 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 11 rebounds, two blocks and an assist in 37 minutes while Lee played four minutes off the bench, registering one assist and one missed shot.

Granted, Indiana and Ohio State aren’t apples to apples in terms of comparing the two college basketball programs. They have different coaches and different strengths and weaknesses with their respective rosters. Maybe Lee’s 6-foot-9, 230-pound frame and three years of Division I experience would’ve been valuable for the Hoosiers this season, but he’s become virtually a non-factor for the Buckeyes.

He’s averaging 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game this season, all of which are career lows.

Instead of getting one year of Lee or Anderson, or having Anderson or Thompson sit out this season but still occupy a scholarship slot, the Hoosiers have two players who are playing right away and who will play for Indiana for multiple seasons. Zeisloft is a veteran off the bench who gives the Hoosiers one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the Big Ten. Holt could be on the verge of cracking Indiana’s starting lineup and he’s on track to be a building block in Indiana’s frontcourt for years to come.

It’s hard to put a value on Zeisloft’s contributions for Indiana. Despite just joining the program last summer, he was selected as one of two players, along with Yogi Ferrell, to represent the team at the Big Ten Media Day. After Devin Davis suffered a traumatic brain injury on Nov. 1, Zeisloft was assigned to address the media. He’s flexible in whatever role Crean uses him in, whether it be as a starter as he was to start the season or as a key reserve. And Crean has also elected to use him as the team’s technical foul free throw shooter.

While Holt doesn’t have the size of a typical Big Ten power forward or center, he has a monstrous wingspan, relentless energy, a high basketball IQ and a commitment to boxing out. His 15 points and five rebounds were crucial in Indiana’s win against Pittsburgh and his consistent production off the bench has made Crean wonder whether or not Holt should replace junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea in the starting lineup.

Indiana fans may have hoped that Indiana would’ve added more size to its roster in the offseason, but they should be happy with the two Hoosiers who filled the team’s final scholarships. They have added depth to Indiana’s bench and continuity for future seasons as role players who make hustle plays, which are often the difference between a win and a loss, as seen in Saturday’s win.

Indiana bounces back with win over No. 22 Ohio State, looks to build consistency

Indiana’s four losses this season have come in a frustrating, ugly fashion for the Hoosiers. Their close losses to Eastern Washington and Georgetown were winnable games. The margins of defeat against Louisville and Michigan State were embarrassing.

But just as the Hoosiers have taken their licks, they have licked their wounds each time, learned from their mistakes and responded to adversity. Just ask Pittsburgh, then-No. 23 Butler and Nebraska, who all fell to the Hoosiers in the wake of a loss by Indiana. Saturday afternoon, No. 22 Ohio State joined that list as Indiana picked up its third win against a ranked opponent by knocking off the Buckeyes, 69-66.

After Indiana’s 20-point loss at Michigan State, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers didn’t compete as well enough as they need to in any game. He questioned their purpose on offense and criticized their activity on defense.

Five days after Indiana’s disastrous trip to East Lansing, Mich., lightning nearly struck twice in the opening minutes of its Big Ten home opener against Ohio State.

Junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea picked up two fouls in the first 84 seconds against the Spartans; against the Buckeyes, he picked up two fouls in the opening 86 seconds and subsequently earned an extended trip to the bench.

Through the first media timeout, Indiana had five turnovers and the Hoosiers were 1-of-4 from the field, allowing Ohio State to jump out to a 9-2 lead.

Crean often talks about snatching momentum when it’s up for grabs. Indiana did just that and responded with a 24-6 run that was fueled off of hustle plays, offensive rebounds, defensive tenacity and a trio 0f 3-pointers.

Sophomore forward Troy Williams, who had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, said Indiana’s defense changed the game.

“Our defense led to our offense,” he said. “We started getting into our flow, we started getting scoring runs and more and more rebounds and then pushing and starting the break, so defense is definitely what helped us.”

Crean credited Williams’ multiple highlight reel dunks for bringing energy to Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers.

“We were losing our energy a little bit and that Troy dunk just brought everybody — it certainly brought our team up,” he said. “You need those doses of energy to create more momentum.”

With Mosquera-Perea on the bench and a quiet half from freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. (1-of-5 from the field, 2 points), Williams, along with Nick Zeisloft and Collin Hartman off the bench, stepped up for the Hoosiers.

Zeisloft scored all eight of his points in the first half and chipped in four rebounds, the biggest of which came after he dove on the ground to beat two Buckeye players to a loose ball and he tapped it to Yogi Ferrell. It was the first of three offensive rebounds for Indiana on that trip down the floor and the possession ended with a 3-pointer from Ferrell that gave the Hoosiers a 17-15 lead.

Indiana never trailed again.

While Indiana had pedestrian shooting numbers in the first half, the Hoosiers dominated the boards and ate up the Buckeyes’ matchup zone on the offensive glass. Indiana doubled up Ohio State in the first half rebounding battle, 30-15, and grabbed more than half of its missed shots.

The Buckeyes managed to claw back before halftime as Indiana made only four free throws and no field goals in the final 4:49 of the half.

Even as Indiana distanced itself from Ohio State in the second half as its lead grew to 10, the Buckeyes kept the game close. Mosquera-Perea and Ziesloft fouled out late in the second half, and despite three blocks from Collin Hartman in the final four minutes, Ohio State ended up scoring after each one.

Ohio State’s full-court pressure slowed down the Hoosiers’ fast-paced offense and the Buckeyes climbed within one point of Indiana in the waning seconds, but Indiana made its free throws down the stretch to improve to 2-1 in conference play.

Indiana has shown that it can take a punch and respond with one of its own, but the Hoosiers need to find consistency in their play. That takes time, Crean said.

“We have been getting mentally tougher all year long, right, but it doesn’t mean it’s consistent,” he said. “You know, when it’s really there is when it becomes part of who you are. And we’re growing in that, we are definitely growing in that.”

Hoosiers look for a win against Ohio State in Big Ten opener

Hosting No. 22 Ohio State could be just what the doctor ordered for Indiana following its 20-point loss at Michigan State on Monday.

Indiana coach Tom Crean said Friday that his team learned from the loss that it didn’t compete at the level it needs to — the Hoosiers didn’t cut as hard as they needed to, they didn’t play with purpose on offense and they weren’t active enough on defense. For Indiana’s sake, it better hope that there’s nothing a little home cooking can’t fix.

The combination of a noon tip on a Saturday and students still being on Christmas break means that Assembly Hall may lack its typical energy, but there’s no denying the Hoosiers’ home court advantage in Bloomington, especially against ranked teams. Indiana beat four of the five Big Ten teams that it hosted in Assembly Hall last season.

Plus, if the Hoosiers are able to move the ball quickly and unselfishly on offense, Indiana has a favorable matchup against Ohio State’s 2-3 zone defense. Ohio State coach Thad Matta has said that he hasn’t practiced man-to-man defense since last spring, so the Hoosiers will know exactly what they’re going to go up against on Saturday.

Three-point shots will be readily available for Indiana, as the Buckeyes’ opponents have scored 35.8 percent of their points against Ohio State off of three-pointers, which is one of the highest marks in the country. Through Ohio State’s first 16 games, more than 40 percent of its opponents’ shots have been from behind the arc.

If Indiana can shoot near its season average of 39 percent from behind the three-point line and avoid a catastrophe like its 5-of-24 performance against the Spartans, the Hoosiers will have a chance to pick up their third win against a ranked opponent this season. However in order for that to happen, James Blackmon Jr. and Nick Zeisloft will have to figure out their shooting strokes as both guards have had ugly shooting slumps recently. Blackmon Jr. is 3-of-23 from the field in his past two games and Zeisloft is 3-of-20 from behind the arc in his past four.

Crean said he’s not worried about the poor shooting performances.

“I go recruiting last night, I get back in here about 9:30, he’s out there shooting,” he said of Blackmon Jr. “The last thing I’m worried about is him making shots. I think shot preparation, being ready to shoot, coming off screens better, getting out in transition, using the ball screen better, those all become parts of it, but he’ll make shots.”

Rebounding will be one of the deciding factors in the outcome of Saturday’s matchup. In Ohio State’s three losses, it was minus-26 in combined rebound margin. While the Hoosiers have been inconsistent on the glass, they’ve proven they can win the rebounding battle (i.e. +8 against No. 23 Butler, +13 against Nebraska) but they’ll have to get improved play from their frontcourt in order to so once again.

Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Troy Williams had their worst performances of the season in East Lansing, Mich. The duo combined for zero points, two rebounds and four fouls in 27 minutes against the Spartans.

After Indiana’s loss at Michigan State and again at Friday’s press conference previewing its matchup with Ohio State, Crean has mentioned that he’s considering whether or not to make a change in his starting lineup, replacing Mosquera-Perea for freshman Emmitt Holt.

Crean said Mosquera-Perea has responded well since the loss to the Spartans and has since had a good week of practice, but the junior forward may not be in the clear just yet.

“I’ve thought about a lot of things, I may make a switch there,” Crean said before adding that if he did decide to make a change, it wouldn’t be announced in a press conference. “We’ve got to get our execution on both sides of the court and we’ve got to get our rebounding up and he’s capable of doing all of that for us.”

Swapping Holt for Mosquera-Perea would make Indiana’s starting lineup even smaller, but it would allow the energetic Holt to take on a bigger role.

The biggest defensive concern for Indiana is stopping Ohio State freshman guard and potential NBA Draft lottery pick D’Angelo Russell. Russell scored 25 points in the first half of the Buckeyes’ game against Minnesota on Tuesday and he has averaged 18.3 points per game this season. The freshman shoots better than 45 percent from three-point range and makes nearly three treys per game, while also having one of the better assist rates in the country.

It’s a tall task but if Indiana can stop, or at least slow down, Russell, it can beat Ohio State.

“D’Angelo Russell, he’s taken about a 100 more shots than anyone else on the team, but he also passes the ball pretty well,” Crean said. “I think the fact that they can score from three, the fact that they can score in the lane and they can post.”

“They’re getting good looks, they’re getting really good looks and we’ve got to take those away.”

Hoosiers look for second consecutive Big Ten road win against Michigan State

On his weekly radio show last week, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers were handed the gift of playing in two of the toughest venues in the Big Ten right off the bat.

Well, so far so good.

Indiana (11-3, 1-0) defeated Nebraska (8-5, 0-1) on the road, 70-65, on New Year’s Eve, but the start of the Hoosiers’ Big Ten schedule doesn’t get any easier. On Monday night, they will face Michigan State (9-5, 0-1) in the Breslin Center, an arena where they’re 1-19 all-time, before hosting No. 22 Ohio State on Saturday.

There aren’t any handouts in the Big Ten, everything is earned. It’s a lesson that Crean’s young Indiana team has started to learn thanks to the 2014 portion of its schedule.

“I think after going through the Nebraska game and with some of the teams we played in the non-conference they have a much better understanding of what it takes to win in these types of games,” Crean said Monday morning on the Big Ten coaches teleconference.

It’s hard to tell just how good (or bad) the Spartans are this season. All of their wins except for one were by double digits but they also lost at home to Texas Southern. They’ve played four teams currently ranked in the top 13 of the AP Top 25 Poll and lost all four games.

As Michigan State, who was ranked No. 18 in the preseason AP Poll, has regressed from early expectations, Indiana has trended upwards. The Hoosiers received nine votes in the latest AP Poll, good for No. 38, and 20 votes in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, which is tied for 31st.

A win at Michigan State could propel Indiana into the Top 25 for the first time since the 2012-13 postseason edition of the poll. But a Hoosier victory in East Lansing, Mich. will be a serious challenge. Michigan State ranks in the top 50 in the country in offensive efficiency and in the top 25 in defensive efficiency.

The Spartans are among the slowest teams in the nation in terms of the length of their defensive possessions, which isn’t a good sign for Indiana’s run-and-gun offense.

“This will be a tremendous challenge for us because Michigan State is doing so many good things on both ends of the court,” Crean said. “The defense is at many times stifling because they take you out of so many things that you want to do and their offense is capable of scoring inside, in the mid-range and certainly they’re one of the better three-point shooting teams not only in the league but in the conference.”

To an extent, Indiana lives and dies by the three-point shot. The Hoosiers have won while shooting poorly from behind the arc (7-of-24, or 29.2 percent, against Nebraska) and they’ve lost despite lighting it up from deep (13-of-31, or 41.9 percent, against Georgetown), but Indiana’s greatest strength is its floor spacing, ball movement and resulting three-point shooting.

The Hoosiers may meet their match Monday night. Michigan State has held opponents to 27.9 percent shooting from three-point range this season, while also making 40.5 percent of their own three-pointers. If Indiana goes cold from the field in the face of the Spartans’ stingy defense, Michigan State has the rebounding ability and unselfishness offensively to potentially make it a long night for the Hoosiers.

Senior Branden Dawson and junior Matt Costello are two of the top 80 rebounders in the country in terms of offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, and three Michigan State guards have assist rates of at least 25 percent. On offense, four players average in double figures in points per game, led by senior Travis Trice’s 13.9 points per game.

While the Spartans lack the featured scorer(s) that recent Tom Izzo-led Michigan State teams have had, they have five players who are nationally ranked in terms of individual offensive efficiency, which will test an Indiana defense that is trying to take the next step forward. Four of the Hoosiers’ past five opponents have been held below 40 percent shooting from the field and Crean credits improvements in individual defense, team defense and communication.

“I think it’s individually-driven in the fact that you’ve got guys like Hanner Perea, Troy Williams, people of that nature that are really improving individually as defenders and as team defenders and rebounders,” he said. “And I think our freshmen like James and Robert are getting more and more comfortable with what they have to do and they’re gaining experience. And then it’s guys like Collin Hartman, Nick Zeisloft, Yogi, people like that are continuing to make strides not only individually defensively but in team defense.”

While the Breslin Center won’t be its usual self since Michigan State students are still off for another week, communication will be of the utmost importance for Indiana on the road. There’s still room for the Hoosiers to improve on defense — namely, protecting the rim, forcing turnovers and grabbing a higher percentage of defensive rebounds — but their understanding on that end of the floor has clearly progressed this season.

“We’re starting to understand more and more how important it is that you don’t overhelp on the ball and give up open threes,” Crean said, “and especially now in league play that it’s going to be absolutely crucial and probably never as crucial as it is tonight.”

After recovering from a torn ACL, Collin Hartman has become a key cog for Indiana

In a team meeting before Indiana faced New Orleans in late December, Indiana coach Tom Crean asked six or seven of his players to describe sophomore Collin Hartman. Only two players brought up the word “shooting” in their descriptions of the forward, Crean said.

Little did they know that they were describing a player who, at the time, was the fourth-most efficient offensive player in the country, at least until their coach told them.

“Now if I said (the) fourth-highest KenPom offensive efficiency rated guy was in this room, would you pick Collin?” Crean asked them.

No, they wouldn’t have.

Maybe they would’ve picked preseason First Team All-Big Ten point guard Yogi Ferrell, Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidate James Blackmon Jr. or even sharpshooter Nick Zeisloft, but the 6-foot-7 forward (who has been forced to play center at times for Indiana this season) who tore his ACL nine months ago?

Not a chance.

“And that got their attention,” Crean said. “It’s not about what the criteria of offensive efficiency rating is. This guy impacts the game, and that’s where you want to be.”

***

Two days after what proved to be Indiana’s season-ending loss to Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament last March, Hartman planted his right leg wrong in a drill in practice and tore his ACL as the Hoosiers were preparing for a tournament bid that never materialized.

“The news is not good in that he has a torn ACL and we are waiting to make sure that’s all,” Crean tweeted at the time. “Collin has been practicing well and getting better. This is a setback for him.”

Somehow, some way, Crean was generally wrong in his assessment.

After missing the team’s five-game exhibition tour in Canada this summer, Hartman was back on the court for Hoosier Hysteria, the team’s fall exhibition slate and every regular season game to date.

“The day that it happened I kept telling myself I’m going to be back for next season,” Hartman said.

He said he always thought rehabilitation could take between six and nine months, so he aimed for the former. And through the entire recovery process, his teammates and coaches told him that he could come back from the injury.

“If I’m in there every day and I’m working, then it’s a very attainable goal,” Hartman said.

While he has been limited in practice up to this point of the season, he has made the most of an unenviable situation.

“He controlled what he could control,” Crean said, “and when we got into the summer and he really couldn’t do anything but stand in one spot and shoot, we made sure we got him in that spot shooting as much as possible.”

After appearing in only 16 games as a freshman and only playing 16 minutes during Big Ten play, Hartman has become an indispensible part of Indiana’s rotation. He began the season as the team’s sixth man, but it’s difficult and probably unfair to put a label on his role because of how much he brings to the table.

Through the first 14 games of the season, Hartman is averaging 4.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 54 percent from the field.

Hartman is one of the most accurate three-point shooters on team and his catch-and-shoot ability makes opposing defenses pay when they sag off of him.

He’s one of the Hoosiers’ most consistent rebounders and he’s among the top 100 players in the country in offensive rebound percentage.

He takes care of the ball and there’s not a loose ball for which he won’t dive on the ground.

“He’s just got this will and this hustle,” Crean said. “He is a model for what it takes to win.”

***

The Collin Hartman on display this season is completely different from the Collin Hartman of last season.

“The Collin Hartman you’re watching right now post-knee surgery, compared to the Collin Hartman that was playing a year ago,” Crean said, “the only thing that looks the same is their face.”

The forward’s body and mentality has changed since his injury and subsequent surgery, Crean said. And despite tearing his ACL in the beginning of the offseason, Hartman moves naturally on the court and he doesn’t show any lingering signs of the injury other than the remnant knee brace on his right leg.

“I mean, we’re talking about a guy that really shouldn’t be playing at the athletic level that he’s playing (at) because he’s coming off this knee surgery,” Crean said.

Hartman’s leaps and bounds of improvement are rooted in not being able to play the game that he loves while he recovered from tearing his ACL. He hadn’t fully appreciated what he had as a basketball player until it was taken away from him.

As painful as the process was for the sophomore, it sparked a new and improved mindset for him.

“I’d never really not had basketball,” Hartman said. “Just not being on the court, not being able to work with the guys and do everything everybody else does. It kind of just gave me a new hunger almost to just get out there and just be aggressive, be able to help the team.”

For junior point guard Yogi Ferrell, who has played with and against Hartman since high school, it’s not a surprise to see his teammate make major contributions off the bench this season.

Ferrell said Hartman has been shooting with Indiana assistant coach Tim Buckley before practice almost every day.

“We call him the shot doctor, Coach Bucks,” Ferrell said. “So the shot doctor will get your shot right, that’s for sure.”

Indiana’s point guard said more shots for Hartman will lead to more confidence, and more confidence will lead to more contributions on the court.

“I feel like Collin can be one of those guys that can come in and make a couple threes for us,” he said. “He’s kind of looking like his old self a little bit when he played at Cathedral (High School).”

Crean said Hartman is playing with tenacity and he’s talking more than ever before. It’s a product of being in the Indiana program for a year and wanting to play more, according to his coach.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” Crean said in regards to Hartman’s playing time last season. “(I) wish I had (played him more).”

Indiana’s seventh-year head coach said if he could redo last season, he would have played Hartman over one or two other players.

But a year ago, he wasn’t the player that he is now. He hadn’t earned his spot in the Hoosiers’ rotation yet.

“Well, he’s earned it after being a guy that’s had to go through this hard, tough process to get himself back,” Crean said.

***

Hartman may not be the tallest, fastest or most talented player on the court, but he has dedicated himself to moving without the ball and out-hustling opponents. But at the same time, he is more than a burst of energy off the bench.

Crean is quick to point out that the former three-star recruit has his share of skill as a basketball player.

“He’s not just some guy that’s blue-collar that’s running around, can’t make plays,” Crean said. “He can make a lot of plays but he’s improving constantly.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore is becoming what Crean and his staff recruited several years ago — a basketball player. Hartman plays numerous positions for Indiana off the bench and he does a little bit of everything, from crashing the boards to hitting open three-pointers to making unselfish passes to open teammates.

“Collin is one of those guys that could do whatever we need him to do right now defensively,” Crean said. “(He) is playing with another offensive confidence with or without the ball that he can do a lot of things within the offense.”

But Hartman’s greatest strength might be his awareness and acceptance of his role. Indiana has stars and potential NBA players in Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams, but it’s role players and glue guys like Hartman who complete the team.

“I’ve talked about how much better he’s gotten and how hard he worked in his rehab,” Crean said, “but he just goes out there and does what it takes to win the game.”

Mosquera-Perea’s double-double leads Indiana to victory at Nebraska

Nebraska (8-5) had more size, more experience and a home-court advantage on its side when Indiana (11-3) came to Lincoln, Neb., but none of that mattered. The Hoosiers bounced back from their loss to Georgetown with a 70-65 win against the Cornhuskers in their Big Ten opener.

After falling behind 7-2, the Hoosiers regained an 8-7 lead thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Robert Johnson and a trio of rebounds from Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Both players were sidelined after Johnson crashed hard to the floor after he was fouled by Shavon Shields, falling on his right hip and shoulder, and after Mosquera-Perea picked up two quick fouls.

When Indiana needed a lift with two starters on the bench, Emmitt Holt and Troy Williams answered the call. Holt made an immediate impact, beating all five Cornhusker players down the court to score a lay-up in transition. He scored the Hoosiers’ next four points while also grabbing three rebounds and blocking or altering multiple shots on defense.

Then the Troy Williams show commenced. He scored nine points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting, cutting through Nebraska’s defense with tight handles and smooth finishes at the rim.

Indiana’s frontcourt battled foul trouble, with Mosquera-Perea, Williams and Collin Hartman all picking up two fouls in the first half.

The Hoosiers led 38-22 at one point in the first half, but Nebraska closed the half on a 10-2 run.

Indiana coach Tom Crean & Co. may have experienced déja vu Wednesday night because the Hoosiers led by 13 at halftime on the road against Nebraska last season before being outscored by 18 points in the second half and losing the game.

The Cornhuskers went on a 24-4 run that spanned both halves to retake the lead for the first time in the game since they led 7-5.

However, Indiana was able to take a punch and respond with a punch of its own, going on an 18-4 run.

Mosquera-Perea took over in the second half after recording only one point and three rebounds in four minutes in the first half. He threw down two monster alley-oops from Yogi Ferrell and showed finesse around the rim. The junior was dominant on the boards, crashing the glass with every shot attempt and securing rebounds with two hands. As a team, Indiana was tough on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 44-31.

Mosquera-Perea, who had his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, was one of three Hoosiers to score in double figures. Johnson had 14 points and Williams had 13.

After getting only two points off of the bench against Georgetown, Indiana had 18 bench points. Holt and Stanford Robinson chipped in six points each off the bench.

Indiana’s lead climbed to 13 after Mosquera-Perea made a lay-up with 4:50 left in the game, but Nebraska wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The Cornhuskers’ big three of Terran Petteway, Shields and Walter Pitchford fueled a comeback attempt as Nebraska pulled within three with 65 seconds remaining.

Indiana caught a break in the final minute when Nebraska’s David Rivers couldn’t corral a rebound and knocked it out of bounds, giving the Hoosiers a fresh shot clock with 35.2 seconds remaining in the game. Nick Zeisloft, who was 1-of-6 on the night, was fouled and made both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the free throw line to give Indiana a five-point lead.

Then it was Yogi Ferrell, who had a quiet scoring night, who made another winning play late in the game. After James Blackmon Jr. missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Petteway grabbed the rebound, but Ferrell knocked the ball loose and it went out of bounds off of Petteway’s knee.

In six of Indiana’s Big Ten losses last season, the Hoosiers went into halftime with the lead. This was a game that the Hoosiers would have lost last season, but they found a way to grind out a win on a night when Ferrell and Blackmon Jr. were a combined 4-of-16. Indiana’s supporting cast stepped up and the team showed resilience during several big scoring runs by Nebraska.

With the win, Indiana improved to 11-3 (1-0) before going on the road for its next game against Michigan State on Jan. 5.