FORT WAYNE – Benched by the NCAA, all Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin could do was sit and watch as Indiana got off to a 9-0 start.
Today, the nine-game suspensions for the freshmen end when the No. 1 Hoosiers face Butler as part of the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Its going to be fun to have them come back, guard Victor Oladipo said last week. Theyve been through a lot. They dont deserve what happened to them. At the same time, theyve done a great job of staying focused and still being with us. I cant wait to see them get on out there. I know they are excited and were just as excited. Were looking forward to it.
Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin were suspended for receiving improper benefits from A-HOPE, a nonprofit organization that supports athletes from other countries as they pursue educational and athletic endeavors in the U.S. The organization was founded by Mark Adams, who, because he provided a donation of $185 to the IU Varsity Club between 1986 and 1992, is forever considered a booster under NCAA rules. According to IU, the benefits would have been generally permissible had Adams not been deemed a booster.
Jurkin is a 7-foot center from Juba, South Sudan. He averaged 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds last year at United Faith Christian Academy in North Carolina. Mosquera-Perea is a 6-8 forward from Istmina, Colombia. He averaged 14.2 points and 10.3 rebounds at La Lumiere School in LaPorte last season.
The length that they bring is tremendous, Indiana coach Tom Crean said during the Big Ten teleconference. The fact that there is a toughness around the rim defensively without a question, rebounding without question. I think the scoring will come through the course of the offense, through the course of the game and then theyll get integrated more and more into what we are trying to do as far as plays and concepts and things of that nature.
IU faces a Butler team thats off to a 7-2 start. Like the Hoosiers, the Bulldogs résumé includes an impressive victory against North Carolina. Butler has won four in a row since falling to Illinois in the championship of the Maui Invitational. Guard Rotnei Clarke leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game. Forward Khyle Marshall is averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds.
I think there is no question the addition of Clarke (a transfer from Arkansas) and (freshman guard Kellen) Dunham makes you look at them as a team that has two great perimeter players, IU assistant coach Steve McClain said. What we have spent a lot of time on the last couple days is figuring out how to get through their sets – the good ones and the moving ones – and how to navigate all those different angles that they come from with the screens they set.
Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea add depth to a frontcourt that has taken a couple of hits because of injuries. Senior forward Derek Elston is recovering from a knee injury suffered before the start of the season. Sophomore forward Austin Etherington will miss the rest of the season after suffering a fractured patella in his left leg against Central Connecticut State.
It will be a good change, having those guys come in, forward Cody Zeller said. It will be good for us.