FORT WAYNE – Kevin Yogi Ferrell was a McDonald’s All-American.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea was rated as one of the top power forwards in his class.
Jeremy Hollowell averaged more than 20 points as a senior on the way to earning all-state honors. And Peter Jurkin grabbed 8.1 rebounds per game as a senior and was coached by former NBA player Muggsy Bogues.
The four are the members of Indiana’s prized class of 2012.
The Hoosiers have their top five scorers back from last year. And they have one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Those are reasons why IU landed at No. 1 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released Wednesday.
The Hoosiers received 21 of the 31 first-place votes. Louisville was No. 2, and Kentucky was No. 3. Both teams received five first-place votes.
It’s the first time Indiana has been ranked No. 1 in a major preseason poll since 1979. IU was also ranked No. 1 in the preseason in 1975. The last time the Hoosiers were No. 1 was the final regular-season poll in 1993.
Fans will get a chance to watch this year’s top-ranked squad Saturday at Hoosier Hysteria. The free event, which will include a dunk contest, a three-point contest and a men’s scrimmage, begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item that benefits the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.
It will be the first time for all four of us under the lights here at Assembly Hall, Ferrell said in an interview this month. We’re going to go out there and have fun.
Ferrell, a 6-foot point guard, was ranked No. 19 overall in the class by Rivals.com. He averaged 18.5 points and 6.6 assists as a senior, helping Park Tudor to a second straight Class 2A state title. He was named to the Preseason All-Freshman team by the Sporting News.
I’m getting acclimated with different styles coach (Tom) Crean wants to run. I have a feel for what he wants me to do on this team and just to lead our team to victory, he said. I feel like I’m going to do my best to do that.
Mosquera-Perea was rated the No. 9 power forward – and No. 43 recruit overall – by Rivals.com. The 6-fot-8, 225-pounder averaged 14.2 points and 10.3 as a senior at La Lumiere School in LaPorte.
Me coming from high school, sometimes I’m way bigger than those guys, he said. Coming into here, everyone is like the same size as me. Bigger, stronger and faster. That’s a big change I have to get used to. My coaches and teammates are helping out a lot with that.
The 7-foot Jurkin is learning from Cody Zeller.
He’s quick, he’s fast. He keeps me thinking a lot how I’m going to guard someone like him, big, strong and in the post, Jurkin said. I’m looking forward to keep learning.
Jurkin averaged 14 points at United Faith Christian Academy in North Carolina.
Hollowell averaged 23.9 points and nine rebounds as a senior at Lawrence Central. The 6-foot-8, 217-pound Hollowell was ranked No. 41 overall and the No. 10 small forward in the class, according to Rivals.com.
It’s a whole other level. It’s real fast, it’s up-tempo, Hollowell said. It’s another level of toughness. All the guys are strong. It’s just a whole other level from high school.