Mosquera-Perea makes strides, but not there yet

NEW YORK — When talk of Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s progress began filtering out of Indiana’s preseason workouts, this is what they were talking about.

They talked about poise and consistency, using his size and understanding more advanced concepts.

Mosquera-Perea offered all of that on Tuesday, at least with the ball in his hands.

The junior forward authored his finest offensive performance of his Indiana career in a 94-74 loss to Louisville at Madison Square Garden, finishing 5-of-6 from the field for 10 points and showing off an arsenal of skill moves and sky hooks against a long and physical Louisville post defense.

“You want a bright side? Look at how he attacked the basket,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “That wasn’t there a few weeks back. He’s doing that against a top-ranked team, so he’s getting better.”

In a frenetic, back-and-forth push to start the game, Mosquera-Perea paced Indiana with eight points through the first six minutes, dunking violently over 6-foot-10 Louisville center Chinawu Onuaku and drawing the first of two charges against Cardinals star forward Montrezl Harrell.

It seemed that with each early basket — each early moment of fortune — Mosquera-Perea built on his most positive and consistent offensive effort of the season. He played through traffic, looked far advanced with his post moves and didn’t shy away from Harrell and the rest of Louisville’s frontcourt rotation.

“That was a very confident guy playing that way tonight,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “We just need him to have that same level of confidence. I mean, look at the charges he’s drawn. He’s got the toughness level, he’s just got to bring it to the rebounding side as well.”

Mosquera-Perea finished with only four rebounds and still needs to see consistent improvement as he aims to be a factor on the glass. The 6-foot-9 Colombian native also picked up four fouls and played only 20 minutes. Since last Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh — a span of three games — Mosquera-Perea has only 11 total rebounds.

“We are long, we have athleticism, but we need to have that toughness,” Mosquera-Perea said. “We need to work on that.”

The starting frontcourt duo of he and Williams combined for only five boards, as Indiana was outrebounded 52-34 on Tuesday. Louisville posted half of those on the offensive glass.

“Put it this way, Hanner and Troy have to (be better rebounders). They have to,” Crean said. “It’s not a want-to, maybe they will — they have to. … I’m not sure they’re going to be in Harrell’s class, but we need to work toward that stage a little bit where we’re going after every ball. We knew we’d have to be a guard rebounding team as well, but I think Emmitt (Holt), Collin (Hartman), people like that have certainly got to improve, but Troy and Hanner right now need to make the biggest strides.”

3 comments

  1. Mike, thanks for your excellent assessment on Perea’s status. Well done. Last night, he did indeed show significant growth in demonstrating toughness, scoring, confidence and consistency. Granted he needs to improve on these facets of his game, and several others. But he’s come a long way from where he was when he first set foot on the basketball court in Assembly Hall. If he continues to grow and develop, he will be a surprise difference maker for the team this season.

    So, Hanner, good play last night! Now just keep building on the toughness you showed last night plus rebounding, as well as other facets of your game. You know what they are. If so, you’ll craft a great future for yourself and for our team.

  2. Perea is about as likely to become a force in the paint as is the possibility that BK will mend fences with the university.

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