Zeller Stars, Juniors IntrigueWith an emotionally charged atmosphere surrounding Monday night's scrimmage between the Indiana senior and junior all-star teams, there was little surprise that IU-bound senior Cody Zeller delivered in his last game in the Hatchet House. In front of the home crowd faithful at Washington High School Zeller poured in a team-high 26 points and 19 rebounds. Those who came to see the reigning Mr. Basketball put on one last show in his home gym certainly got what they came for.
But you also couldn't help but be distracted by the talent display of the All-Star juniors. If not for a couple of late Nic Moore three-pointers, the underclassmen might have sent fans home unhappy with a big upset. Simply put, the team is loaded. I haven't seen Kentucky's top juniors play, but I'd already pick an Indiana win in next year's annual series whatever the odds given.
One of the main reasons for the Class of 2012's bullish future is the rising stocks of juniors Gary Harris and Jeremy Hollowell. The latter is already in the Hoosier fold and the former has a permanent seat reserved on the team bus should he decide he wants to hop on.
It's hard to believe that a player as talented as Harris is still improving at such a staggering rate, but that appears to be the case. Every time he takes the court Harris' game shows more potential and more polish, a dangerous combo. He hasn't reached his ceiling (especially defensively where he could develop into an absolute menace with his athleticism) as a player, yet is already good enough to be a serious contributor in the Big Ten. His 22-point, seven rebound, seven steal performance in Monday's game was just a glimpse of his amazing potential. When he makes his college commitment decision this fall it will surely be the most anticipated event in Hoosierland since the aforementioned Zeller announced his choice. IU fans can only hope all the suspense ends with the same payoff.
But if Harris becomes a Hoosier heartbreaker in the end, Indiana can take solace in knowing that they already have Hollowell in the bag. The 6-foot-7 forward might not have the same ceiling as Harris athletically, but his is plenty high in its own right.
Like Harris, Hollowell has shown impressive development over the last 12 months and, if not for an unfortunate injury early this spring, could be one of the most talked about juniors on the AAU circuit this summer. With his April injury setbacks now behind him, Holloway has slowly but surely been rounding back into top form. His 15-point, five rebound, and four assists performance in limited minutes was impressive production, but not as impressive as the work he put in on the defensive end trying to guard physical mismatches in Zeller and future Spartan Branden Dawson. Hollowell has been criticized by a few for not making the most of his athletic gifts, seeming to "coast" at times. However, his play lately has shown that could be a totally bum rap. Recently he has proven him a willing defender and terrific overall competitor. Look for Hollowell to finish the summer AAU circuit strong.
IU Football Schedule Offers HighlightsTuesday Indiana announced two more game times for their 2011 football schedule as this fall's slate continues to round out. The Hoosiers will take on South Carolina State on September 17th on the Big Ten Network at 3:30 p.m. and will travel to North Texas the following week to play the Mean Green at 6 p.m. on ESPN3 (broadband streaming).
With that recent news we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some interesting match-ups this fall.
Intriguing Opener - Indiana vs. Ball State @ Lucas Oil Stadium 9/3/2011
It's been awhile since the Hoosiers opened their season on neutral turf, but this match-up against Ball State will give IU fans a chance to enjoy the amenities of a top-of-the-line NFL Stadium and hopefully exact some revenge for a tough 2008 loss that still stings.
The Tone-Setter – Indiana vs. Virginia 9/10/2011
The Cavaliers sucked all the hope and momentum out of the 2009 Hoosier campaign with a cutthroat 47-7 whipping in Virginia. Obviously not all the current Hoosiers took part in that one, but the ones that did definitely remember it. Another dismantling from their ACC visitors could pop a hole in the Hoosiers 2012 balloon before it has much chance to inflate.
Most Needed Upset – Indiana vs. Penn State 10/01/2011
The Hoosiers catch a break by starting Coach Kevin Wilson's first conference season at home, but the Nittany Lions are expected to spoil the party. Wilson's draw could have been tougher, though, and an outside chance of a fantastic start to his Big Ten career does exist.
MVG (Most Valuable Game) – Indiana vs. Purdue 11/26/2011
You were expecting anything else? This one's always big, but given the Hoosiers first-year head coach, a bucket to defend, and a Purdue program that is struggling to get on its feet, the stakes are raised. The Hoosiers would be wise to keep the Boilers down and set a precedent for the Wilson era.