IU Football and Basketball – Latimer Gone, Fischer Lands, and Hoosiers Hoping for a Happy Valley Saturday

by Kent Sterling

UnknownIndiana University Athletics is in the midst of an interesting time of growth and challenge.  People leaving, people coming, teams in ascension, and another trying to find its collective personality.

Cody Latimer has concluded that he will be drafted high enough to make the decision to forego his senior year and the collection of IU records he would likely reap if he stayed to declare his eligibility for the 2014 NFL Draft.

It was clear to anyone paying attention that Latimer was the most talented player on the field for the Hoosiers in 2013, and during his interview on 1070 the Fan a two weeks ago, IU coach Kevin Wilson made it clear that the Hoosiers were going to be without Latimer.  Today’s report was no surprise, nor should it be seen as a negative for the program.

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Recruit well enough, and players are not going to stick around for four or five years.  Latimer jumping is likely a positive in the recruitment of standout receiver Dominique Booth from Pike High School.  He’s one of the top wide receivers in the country, and is expected to announce his decision tomorrow.

The depth Indiana has at receiver, especially if Booth signs his letter of intent February 5th, will dull the pain of losing Latimer.  February 5th is going to be a big day for the Hoosiers.  A big day for Latimer will be May 8, 9, or 10.  The earlier, the better.


Luke Fischer has decided that he will enroll at Marquette University, according to this tweet posted yesterday (1/5/14) at 8:58a:

That fits the narrative that Fischer made the call to be closer to family.  Sometimes, distance from family is painful because family is truly missed.  Other times, it’s because a kid doesn’t find a new home in the way he had hoped.  It happens.  Indiana fans should get over it.  Fischer only gets to go to college once.  I hope he’s an All-American at Marquette, just like I hoped it at Indiana.


Speaking of IU Basketball, after their discombobulation at Assembly Hall on Saturday against Michigan State, there are continuing questions about this team’s desire to function as a unit offensively.  Tom Crean has a rare week between games to find something these Hoosiers can do together that puts the ball in the bucket beside the splendid Yogi Ferrell creating for himself.

Indiana has had occasional good possessions, but haven’t knocked down the resulting open shots.  When shots don’t fall, 19 year-olds tend to find buckets the old fashioned way – by using the one-on-one skills friends and parents call, “easily the best on the team.”

Those skills were validated again and again during the very weak non-conference schedule IU used to notch nine of its ten wins.  In Big Ten play, the coaching is better, and the defense is ready to take away Plan A and B.

Minus Ferrell’s excellent three-point shooting (42-93), the Hoosiers are hitting 26%.  Interestingly, Ferrell has shot and made an almost identical number of shots inside the arc (42-92), so it would appear Ferrell hitting triples is Plan A.  Noah Vonleh is shooting a foul shot every 3.6 minutes, and has double the number of rebounds (142) as the Hoosiers next best (Troy Williams – 71).  Unfortunately, Vonleh finds himself in consistent foul trouble, averaging three per game, while fouling out in two of the last three games.

At Noon this Saturday, fans will learn a little bit more about the Hoosiers than it knows now.  A win on the road against Penn State – losers like the Hoosiers at Illinois and at home against Michigan State – and there is hope.  A loss brings Wisconsin to Assembly Hall the following Tuesday as the foe Indiana will need to vanquish to avoid an 0-4 Big Ten start.

John Feinstein wrote an all-time great sports book as he chronicled the 1985-1986 “Season on the Brink.”  The 2013-2014 season may be a revisit to that title for the Hoosiers.  The rebuilding of the Indiana program is finished in Crean’s sixth season.  The debacles of the past are over, as is the time Kelvin Sampson’s idiocy is available as a scapegoat.

If Indiana rights the ship and starts reeling off wins with this talented but young roster, all chatter about the direction of the program will cease.  As things stand today, they are way premature.  This team deserves an opportunity to find itself without the din of fans bitching and moaning.

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