5 questions to ponder during Indiana’s trip to Montreal

So, as I tie up some loose ends stateside before heading north to Montreal in the morning, I wanted to post our centerpiece for Thursday’s Herald-Times. We’re taking a look at five questions to ponder while Indiana plays five games in six days north of the border. IU kicks off its tour of Montreal on Friday at 7 p.m. against Laval University. None of the games on this trip will be televised.

We’ll take a deeper look at who the Hoosiers are playing and other notes ahead of the Montreal trip later Thursday, but let’s start here. Forgive me if I’m out of touch for a bit tomorrow, but it could be a hectic travel day. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still need to pack.

Five questions for the Hoosiers in Montreal

Who is Hanner Mosquera-Perea in Year 3?
Some would argue that Mosquera-Perea is the key to the season. And they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.

Although his first two seasons haven’t been up to the level expected of a top 50 recruit, Mosquera-Perea remains Indiana’s best option to lockdown the paint on a young and undersized roster. The Hoosiers will need his length, athleticism and leaping ability to supply a frontcourt presence on a team that needs the help. He might receive some aid underneath from guys like Devin Davis and Jeremiah April, but Indiana’s production down low has to start and end with Mosquera-Perea.

Is Yogi Ferrell ready to be the unquestioned leader?
Crean said at the time of Ferrell’s and Stan Robinson’s April arrest on underage drinking charges that the transgression represented a larger maturity problem for many on the roster.

But Crean told reporters during a press conference last month that Ferrell was taking the lead in the weight room this offseason, and that signs of more maturity and leadership were already beginning to show. This is Ferrell’s team now, so the trip to Canada will be the next step in claiming that ownership.

Does a smaller Hoosier lineup add more pressure?
Crean has already admitted that the Hoosiers will look for more unconventional ways to play this season, with three or four guards on the floor at the same time. That alone could mean that Indiana might look to take advantage of its smaller lineup and use more of a press to break opponents and force easy turnovers.

What will the newcomers add?
James Blackmon Jr. is going to shoot and Robert Johnson is going to create his own opportunities. Beyond those two freshmen, questions remain about what fellow newcomers Jeremiah April, Tim Priller and Max Hoetzel will add to the rotation and how soon.

April is arguably the most intriguing of that trio. At 6-foot-11 and 230 pounds, the unheralded center from Phoenix, Ariz. will be looked upon to provide immediate depth in the frontcourt. April is a late bloomer who’s still raw for the college game, but this trip could provide answers for where he’ll fit come November.

Does there appear to be more chemistry?
The Hoosiers were a capricious bunch last season, looking primed and ready for Big Ten-level basketball one moment and lacking cohesion the next. There were moments to remember, surely, but the season ultimately ended as a disappointment. The lack of consistent chemistry goes back to immaturity and a lack of accountability, so perhaps a degree of seasoning will do the Hoosiers well. That’s where the Montreal excursion comes into play.

The trip is made for basketball purposes, but it’ll do even more for group bonding. There will time for time for sight-seeing and, even more importantly, some extra time for guys to see one another and get on the same wavelength ahead of a telling season.