There is no question that Tom Crean secured an exceptional 2013 recruiting class for the Indiana Hoosiers. With four Top 100 players (According to ESPN), the Hoosiers still have the potential to reload and be a top-20 squad.
Indiana lost a whopping seven players and 75 percent of its scoring from its Big Ten Championship campaign. Three players graduated, two players entered the NBA draft, and two more transferred. Predictably, this left needs at almost every position. While the 2013 class fills a few voids on the roster, signing six frontcourt players leaves a lack of ball-handlers on the Hoosiers.
With Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, and Victor Oladipo all gone, Indiana needed to find frontcourt players who could come in and contribute right away. Crean found a player who fit that description in Noah Vonleh. Vonleh is the top recruit and only McDonald’s All-American in the entire Big Ten’s incoming freshman class. Vonleh is a versatile player who may not even be done growing, and a starting power forward position will be his to lose.
Crean may have signed Zeller’s heir apparent in 6-9, 200 pound center Luke Fischer. While that’s a lot of pressure to put on Fischer’s shoulders right away, Fischer is basically Cody Zeller Lite. Though he is a little undersized, he runs the floor very well and has great hands for a big man, both qualities Zeller possesses. With Fischer, Coach Crean can still have the Hoosiers push the ball at every opportunity, knowing that there will be a big target coming down the middle of the floor.
The rest of the Hoosiers’ class is small forwards, but only two should get significant playing time their first year. ESPN’s tenth-ranked small forward Troy Williams and 20th-ranked small forward Stanford Robinson give Indiana the three-point shooting ability it lost with the departure of Oladipo, Watford, and Jordan Hulls. Both players can light it up from downtown, and Williams’ length gives him the ability to disrupt opponents’ passing lanes–much like Will Sheehey already does.
Devin Davis and Collin Hartman are small forwards who won’t play much right away, but can contribute down the road. Davis is a player who has made a living on being able to get to the basket. He will have to work hard to be able to continue that going up against much more athletic players in the Big Ten. Hartman is an great shooter for a catch-and-shoot standpoint, but will need to be able to create his own shot to earn significant minutes.
Overall, Crean did a good job signing enough college-ready players for this team to still be competitive in the Big Ten. But since Crean made no attempt to address the lack of ball-handlers, it will be interesting to see if Yogi Ferrell can elevate his game enough to make that point moot.
Brian Fox is a Big 10 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @RealBrianFox