Indiana made five of its players available for a press conference on Tuesday on the summer so far, the five being Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell, Evan Gordon, Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Noah Vonleh. Some notes from that availability follow.
— Etherington’s description of his rehab his fractured left patella matched that of IU assistant coach Steve McClain. He’s not quite 100 percent yet, but he’s making progress.
“I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m doing everything I can,” Etherington said. “I can’t play five-on-five or full contact yet, but I’m doing one-on-one and two-on-two, and other than that I feel pretty good. My knee is feeling really good. I would say I probably won’t do five-on-five for the next couple of weeks because we gotta go home for a little bit, so during that time I’ll rehab and keep improving my strength. When we get back, I’ll probably go full-go then.”
— Etherington said the dynamic of this summer has unsurprisingly changed significantly, not only with the departures of seven players including much of last year’s leadership but also the participation of Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell in the World University Games, which has forced a number of players to take on different roles while they’ve been gone.
“I would say definitely the leadership has changed a lot,” Etherington said. “Losing all of those older guys, losing Cody and Vic to the NBA and then having the seven new guys. With me and Jeremy being among the older guys here right now and then Evan coming in and taking a leadership role right away, the leadership has changed. It’s also helped us out in a good way having me, Jeremy and Evan be the leaders with WIll and Yogi being gone. … It’s helped out our leadership and made us become better leaders ourselves.
— Hanner Mosquera-Perea said he feels like he’s made strides.
“I feel like I have made a lot of improvement,” Perea said. “Just working out with the coaches, learning new things, trying to step up because I’m going to have to do a lot of things for our team this year. I’ve been working really hard and getting a lot better. My timing and my shooting.”
— Noah Vonleh is earning rave reviews from his teammates and also was by several accounts one of the most impressive college players at the LeBron James Basketball Camp in Las Vegas earlier this month. He said he had a conversation there with Jay Bilas that he took a lot away from.
“I was the youngest guy in the camp,” Vonleh said. “I just went in there to play hard. I was talking a lot because a lot of the guys there weren’t talking. I was talking a lot and Jay Bilas came up to me and said, ‘Your leadership and talking can become a great strength if you keep working on it, things like that. I remember that. I just competed, rebounded, because that’s one of my biggest strengths, and scored really well in the post on a lot of guys one-on-one.”
— Evan Gordon said he’s been impressed with the culture and atmosphere of the program since joining the group from Arizona State as a senior transfer.
“The atmosphere and the expectations are a lot higher,” Gordon said. “That’s what I expected when I chose to come here. I’ve been to two different institutions, so me being here at home, I can go home and the expectations in the weight room are a lot different than anything I’ve ever expected.”
Though Gordon is a first-year player with IU, he’s a fifth-year college player and that’s made him someone the freshmen can look up to.
“Starting out college when some of these guys were in eighth grade is a little bit of an advantage,” Gordon said. “Just leadership, knowing how to handle situations and push through things that some of these guys aren’t used to in some of these workouts.”
— Jeremy Hollowell said he feels a lot different the second time around and expects to improve a lot in year two and also that he’s taking on a leadership role despite being nowhere near that a year ago.
“Somebody has to step up and take the group, get them to talk, get them through the workouts, get them ready, get them stretched,” Hollowell said. “That’s what me and Austin are trying to do.”
He’s been trying to spend a lot more time in the gym this year and thinks it should make him a better scorer.
“I think one-on-one scoring, my shooting, my ballhandling have come on a lot,” Hollowell said. “I’ve been in the gym quite a bit this summer, definitely more than last year. Like I say, I know a lot more of what to expect. Last season was a blur. It went by pretty fast, so just day-in, day-out, I’ve been working hard just to improve every aspect of my game.”
–The upperclassmen have been impressed by the freshman group, how hard they work and how simply physically talented they are.
“They’re very athletic,” Etherington said. “We have very athletic freshmen. Already we had a very athletic team, I think just them coming in it adds so much athleticism to our team. Coach is always wanting us to be a fast-break team and pushing the ball. There’s no better recruits than the guys we got coming in to be able to do that.”