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Indiana University

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Sean Morrison | The Journal Gazette
Indiana forward Jeremy Hollowell, center, fields a question during a news conference Tuesday at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Hollowell will be expected to play a bigger role for the Hoosiers this year.

Hoosiers driven by expectations

Expect that pushing each other will pay off for upcoming season

– Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon came to Indiana because he wanted to be pushed as a player.

He got his wish.

“As a whole, the atmosphere, the expectations are a lot higher,” said Gordon, who has also been to Liberty in his time as a college player. “That’s what I expected when I chose to come here.”

He and the rest of the Hoosiers have embraced a summer workout schedule that has already paid dividends.

Junior Austin Etherington, who is coming off a broken left patella, is recovering quickly and should be full-go in a few weeks.

Sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea has worked on his shooting and become reliable away from the basket. He has also improved his timing and ability to catch the ball in the post.

And freshman Noah Vonleh, in a month and a half, has put on about 20 pounds from his work in the weight room.

“As you all know, we lost quite a bit of guys, and we got seven new guys here,” Etherington said after a workout in Assembly Hall on Tuesday. “It’s been a lot of work for everyone to come in and learn their roles and get better.”

Sophomore point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and senior forward Will Sheehey, the team’s leaders, just wrapped up play in Russia with the USA World University Games team. But progress continued without their leadership.

“One of the big things that we emphasize is talk,” sophomore Jeremy Hollowell said. “We’re trying to get all the young guys to talk – that’s pretty much the big thing and getting them through the workouts, knowing what to expect.”

Hollowell and Mosquera-Perea were in the same position last season, and in the absence of Ferrell and Sheehey, those two have taken responsibility for mentoring the freshmen.

That’s a role Etherington embraces, as well – and even Gordon, a graduate transfer who has four years of college playing experience. Although he wasn’t a Hoosier before, he has been forced to step into that niche in Bloomington.

From top to bottom, new and old, the Hoosiers are pushing each other. That has made for some fierce competition in practice at IU.

“We’re all aggressive,” Vonleh said. “We love to rebound. Guys play real physical – falling all over the floor, things like that. They just push us and tell us to play hard, and we take that into mind.”

IU coach Tom Crean is excited about that mindset from this group. The Hoosiers will keep their up-tempo style, and while they don’t have much experience after losing four 1,000-point scorers, they have the bodies to get up and down.

“Coach is always wanting us to be a fast break team and pushing the ball,” Etherington said. “There’s no better recruits than the guys we got coming in to be able to do that.”