Indiana freshmen (from left) Noah Vonleh, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams are recovering from injuries.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – One week into practice, a most valuable player has emerged for the Indiana University basketball team – trainer Tim Garl.
Four members of Tom Crean's top 10 recruiting class have been slowed by injuries. Three players – center Luke Fischer (shoulder) as well as forwards Noah Vonleh (ankle) and Troy Williams (hand) -- missed the 16-minute scrimmage that punctuated Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall Friday night.
Then, with less than five seconds to play, guard Stanford Robinson bumped legs with a defender and went to the court with a leg injury. Crean said that it is believed Robinson has a bruised knee. He walked off the court with assistance.
"The early thought is that it's a bruise," Crean said. "I say that hopefully … It looked like everything was intact. I hope that's what it continues to be … He was in a lot of pain. Those hurt like that.
"We don't need any more guys missing time if they're going to play."
Crean said that Williams should return to practice with the rest of the team next week as should Vonleh, who participated in the three-point shooting contest after tweaking an ankle Wednesday.
Indiana plays its opening exhibition game Oct. 26 against Southern Indiana. The Hoosiers' first regular season game is Nov. 8 against Chicago State.
SCRIMMAGE HIGHLIGHTS -- A Red team led by seniors Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon won the scrimmage, 40-28.
IU did not keep official statistics. But according to my unofficial count Sheehey had 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. Gordon, a fifth-year transfer from Arizona State, had 12 points, two assists and two rebounds. Each made a three-point shot.
Peter Jurkin, the sophomore center, had six points as did Robinson. Crean said that Robinson excelled earlier in the week, making 14 free throws while drawing eight fouls in a 25-minute scrimmage.
"He did a fantastic job in getting to the basket," Crean said. "He's very careless with the ball at times. He's got to continue to learn what we want with pushing it out, being in the pick and roll, making the simple play, getting rid of the casual dribble.
"But he is a downhill player. He's a guy who really can drive the ball downhill and get to the basket. He's crafty. Now we need him to defend at a really high level and rebound it."
The White team was led by another sophomore – Jeremy Hollowell. He had 13 points, but made only four of 10 shots. He was five for five at the foul line, with a block, two rebounds and an assist.
"He looks a lot better, even from last year … knocking down his shots," said Yogi Ferrell, IU's only returning starter.
Ferrell scored six points, Hanner Mosquera-Perea five and Jonny Marlin four. Crean said after the scrimmage that Mosquera-Perea had his best week of practice in two seasons this week. Crean said he will be needed as a shot blocker with a "pit bull," mentality on defense.
"It was a little different playing with new guys, getting into the motion of things," Ferrell said.
YOGI FROM DOWNTOWN – Indiana has been one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation in back-to-back seasons, but the Hoosiers are missing guys who delivered 198 of the 257 three-pointers IU made last season.
Who's going to fill that void?
Maybe Ferrell, Gordon and Hollowell.
Ferrell showed an improved stroke while winning the three-point contest over Gordon, Sheehey, Vonleh and Austin Etherington. He made 15 of 25 threes in the first round and did it again in the second round while winning the competition against the men's and women's team.
Etherington made 14 of 25, Sheehey and Gordon 11 and Vonleh 10 -- not counting the bonus points for the 'money' ball for the fifth shot at each rack.
ZELLER TRADITION – Cody Zeller is gone, a rookie frontcourt player with the Charlotte Bobcats. The Zeller Family is still at Indiana University.
Zeller's parents, Steve and Lorri, returned to Assembly Hall even though Cody, their youngest son, departed IU after two years for the NBA. "We'll see this through," Steve Zeller said. "We'll make as many games as we can."
They also plan to attend as many NBA games as possible because they have two sons – Cody and Tyler, the former North Carolina star, in the NBA. In fact, Cody and Tyler (Cleveland Cavaliers) will play in their season openers against each other Nov. 1 in Charlotte – with Mom and Dad in attendance. Lorri Zeller said Cody and Tyler will play each other four times this season.
The Zellers have retired from their jobs in Washington, Ind., to run – DistinXion, a non-profit, Christian-based organization that provides training for basketball and cheerleading. They founded DistinXion.
Their oldest son, Luke, spent most of last season with the Phoenix Suns and is trying get back to the NBA for 2013-14.