It's hard to believe but we're under a month from the start of basketball practice, and just a little over a month until Hoosier Hysteria.
There's plenty to talk to talk about these days with the football program as the Hoosiers get ready to play Navy Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
But a good topic this time of the year seems to always begin to focus on what will Indiana's starting lineup look like in men's basketball when the Hoosiers open the season Nov. 8 against Chicago State?
I have a guess but I'd like to hear what you think, too. I'll put a post on the premium message board for today's column so that you can weigh in on this topic as well.
A few of the spots seem very secure.
The Hoosiers will certainly have Yogi Ferrell running the point and running the show in the 2013-14 season. Last year Yogi didn't really need to score. He could get the ball in the right shooters' hands and focus on all of the energy things to help make the Hoosiers better. But this season it's going to be different. With this much youth on the team, Yogi is going to need to step up and take on a scorers role. He's going to need to knock down that mid-range jumper and use his quickness to get to the basket.
The good news is I think he is more than capable of doing just that.
Will Sheehey is the other player returning with the most experience. The first guy off the bench for most of his career and a player looked upon for more of a support role, you have to figure this will be the season that Sheehey has to have a little role reversal of his own. He could be a 14-18 point scorer for the Hoosiers this season. In fact, he may have to be in order for Indiana to achieve the kinds of things the defending outright Big Ten champions hope to do.
A third player who would appear to be one of the most solid choices for a spot in the starting lineup will be Noah Vonleh. The 6-9 freshman, ranked No. 7 in the nation by Scout.com, can jump out of the gym and is going to be a focal point on both ends of the floor for the Hoosiers. Vonleh could be one of two power forward type players up front for the Hoosiers or he could just play the 4 with a true center on the court.
So basically, I think you have three guys who are strong favorites to be in that initial starting lineup: A point guard in Yogi, a 3 in Sheehey and a 4 in Vonleh.
But what about the other two spots?
That shooting guard position is going to be a battle as you have to figure players like Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson will compete for time and a player like Austin Etherington could be in that mix, too. But I think the starter could very well be Evan Gordon, the fifth-year senior transfer from Arizona State that will be eligible right away. I just can't believe that they brought Gordon to Bloomington to sit on the bench. This isn't to say anything will be given to him but I would expect at least in the early going that Gordon will be the starter. After all, he was Arizona State's third leading scorer last season with a 10.1 average and scored 20 or more four times. His high games were 29 and 28 points.
And IU is clearly going to need a player who will step in and be a scorer right from the get go on this team.
That takes us to the final spot, one that you would think would be occupied by a big. It's probably easy just to pencil in Jeremy Hollowell in that spot as the word within the program is that he worked really hard in the offseason to position himself for a shot at that spot. The other two guys that I think are in the mix for that spot right away are sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who would need to make a massive leap from where he was last year to a place where he could compete for a starting job, and true freshman center Luke Fischer.
Fischer, to me, would seem like the most interesting prospect though I'm not sure he has shown in the early going that he could potentially start right from the beginning his freshman season. I know he battled an injury this summer that may have slowed his progress a little, too, but it sounds like he is past that.
So I guess I'm going with Ferrell, Gordon, Sheehey, Hollowell and Vonleh as my early picks for starting spots right from the beginning.
Agree? Disagree? If you disagree, how do you see the starting lineup shaking out for the season opener against Chicago State? This lineup could indeed be different by the time we get to Big Ten play but I would think it might be the safest combination to bet on right now.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch