Are you ready for some basketball?
Well of course you are. You're Hoosiers. Basketball season is the thing IU fans look forward to more than anything else.
As Indiana prepares to open the exhibition season tonight against the University of Southern Indiana, here are a few questions that I'm looking forward to begin getting the answers to:
1. Which of the freshmen will make an immediate impact?
I think it's a fair question. And one that will tell a lot with regards to just how well this team fares in the 2013-14 season. If three or four guys can fill up the stats sheet and make up for some of that lost scoring and rebounding from a year ago, then there's no reason Indiana can't finish in the upper half of the Big Ten standings. If it's more like a ‘Movement' contribution it could be a tougher go. Everyone expects Noah Vonleh to made an impact from the beginning. A lot of people believe the same could be said for a guy like Troy Williams or even Stanford Robinson. But what about Devin Davis? We've heard several times in the preseason workouts that Davis has been a big surprise. And then there's Luke Fischer. He has been hurt and is likely way behind so his development may be slowed but eventually will Fischer be able to step and contribute right away? Those are the questions on the minds of a lot of Indiana basketball fans heading into the first exhibition game. By this time Sunday the first wave of answers should be in.
2. How much of a contribution will Evan Gordon make this season?
I've said all along that they didn't bring him in for one season to sit on the bench and I still think that's true. He brings veteran leadership and he has scored over 1,000 points in his first three seasons of eligibility in total at Liberty and Arizona State. I think he could be one of the answers to where does the perimeter scoring come from, especially in the early going when IU is searching for its identity. I think Gordon could have a pretty good year.
3. Piggybacking on that question, where will the perimeter scoring come from?
One player that I'm looking forward to watching to see if he can be a 3-point specialist this year is Austin Etherington. He has that potential. I think he's fully recovered from offseason knee surgery and I think he's ready to go. It will be interesting to see what his role on this Indiana team will be. Will Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey be counted on to provide an early outside spark, too? It will clearly be one of those points of emphasis as we go through the first five or six games of the season to see which players step up in that role.
4. How far has Hanner Mosquera-Perea come?
This is the million dollar question and it shouldn't take long to get an answer. Will Mosquera-Perea be less robotic and look more comfortable on the court? The IU fan base awaits the results of that question.
Those are a few of the questions that scratch the surface heading into tonight's exhibition opener at Assembly Hall. Exhibition games don't often provide a lot of answers but the fact it's the first chance to see a lot of guys in an IU uniform it should be big nonetheless.
I think I speak for a lot of Indiana fans in saying that it's good that Indiana Basketball season has finally arrived.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch