With a new team full of young, inexperienced players, no one will have to assume a bigger role this season than sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell.
Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell will have to score more, but he already started every game last season and played a critical role on the team. Senior forward Will Sheehey will have to be more of a vocal leader, but his on-court role won't change all that much.
But Hollowell, who averaged only 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season, must be much more of a contributor if the Hoosiers are to compete in the Big Ten this season. And he's fully capable of doing so.
Indiana coach Tom Crean said Hollowell had been the Hoosiers' leading scorer early in practice, and Crean has given Hollowell some of the team's point guard duties early this season.
Hollowell's 3-point shot is much more fluid. He's stronger, and he attacks the basket at a high level. But Crean has done anything but applaud Hollowell for his offseason improvements. He wants to see the sophomore get even better.
"He's got to really grasp how good he can be defensively and what's gonna be required of him defensively," Crean said. "He has to be a key component to our defense.
"Jeremy's biggest weakness right now is he drifts into the woodwork a little bit when he doesn't have the ball on offense, and that won't cut it. He's got to be more active. He's got to become more and more of a back-cut guy, read the defense, get to the offensive glass, swing the ball. What we will not have on this team is guys who let the ball stop. It doesn't matter who it is."
At 6-foot-8, Hollowell is one of Indiana's most versatile players. He could easily grow into the Hoosiers' leading scorer this season, but it's important for him to do so in the team concept.
"A lot of times, when guys are young, it's, 'I can take my man,' or 'I can make this play,'" Crean said. "That's not what does it. What scores 80 points a game like we did last year is that ball movement at a constant rate where the players are constantly playing off what the defense gives them. It's not about the set plays. It's more about the concepts that go into it, and the movement."