Indiana Elite dealing with injuries, still bonding

MERRILLVILLE — Through three weeks of the AAU season, it has become clear that Indiana Elite Team Indiana can draw a crowd — the stands were full at Merrillville Fieldhouse on Saturday for the Nike Spring Showdown.

It was that way at Indyball earlier this month at Indianapolis, and there were also Indiana fans in attendance in Denver.

It’s also evident that Team Indiana — made up of the five members of Indiana’s class of 2012 and a handful of other talented prospects — can dominate lesser competition during pool play.

But Team Indiana has yet to win a tournament championship, and the Showdown ended up being their worst performance to date — the team lost in the first round of the gold (pool play winners) tournament.

However, it is not simply about wins and losses when judging the performance to date.

For one thing, Peter Jurkin has yet to play this spring. The 7-footer remains sidelined with a stress fracture in his shin.

Also, Jeremy Hollowell sat out this weekend with an injured wrist and knee.

That left Yogi Ferrell, Ron Patterson and Hanner Perea to carry the load.

“We’ve been playing together a lot, but the injures are killing us,” Patterson said. “We ain’t got a full team yet, so we’ll be good when it comes to July.”

When that happens remains unclear.

Jurkin said Saturday he visited the doctor Friday and should know sometime this week when he can play.

Part of Jurkin’s problem has been that he played through the pain for his high school team (United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte, N.C.), and must now try to rest and let the injury heal.

“It helps me to be in Charlotte than to be here,” said Jurkin, who is from the Sudan. “Because when I’m watching them, it makes me, I don’t know, it feels weird to be here. I just want to play.”

Hollowell sprained his wrist and knee after taking a nasty fall on April 17 during a tournament in Denver. Orginally, he feared his wrist was broken.

Now, he’s trying to rush and get back on the court faster than the doctors expect.

“They want me to wait ‘til June, but I’ll probably be back for the Spiece tournament (May 6-8),” Hollowell said. “They was just worried about it happening against before I get it all the way back healthy, so they just want me to take my time with it. I’m feeling pretty good.”

All five were together for the first time since Hollowell committed last month, allowing Jurkin to become part of the bonding experience.

“We’re definitely starting to mix together,” Ferrell said. “Our chemistry is great on the court, but we bond together all the time off the court, so that’s one of the main things we do. We’re just gonna be a family and stay together.”

TABER IMPRESSED

Former Hoosier Kyle Taber was at the event as an assistant coach at Division III Lake Forest. He did, however, take the time out to watch Team Indiana’s games.

“I’m excited with what’s about to happen there,” Taber said. “I’m glad I was a part of it when I was there. It’s gonna continue to get better and better, and get back to where it should be.”

Taber said he initially thought the rebuilding process would be faster, but time has allowed him to realize just how low the program was during his senior season, coach Tom Crean’s first on campus.

“It really was gonna take time, but now that (Crean’s) got some players coming in, and players that he really wanted and had time to build relationships with, it’s gonna be there in no time,” Taber said. “It’s all good now.”

3 comments

  1. Hard to imagine that Jurkin will be able to contribute at all this summer. When he committed it was fairly obvious that he had a long way to go to be a B10 player, but now, having missed an entire season and still not being well, I just wish he would reclassify to 2013. Just don’t see him being ready to contribute at IU in 2012/13 season.

  2. He is an entire 18 months away from his first practice as a Hoosier. I would cross that bridge later. If he was going to be a freshman next year, then maybe, but he has a lot of time still to mature and become a good Fr. center.

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