Less than an hour before Indiana tipped off against Wisconsin, Hoosier fans and media members likely still assumed IU would be extremely thin in the front court with the absence of Hanner Mosquera-Perea, due to his suspension after his arrest Feb. 15 for OWI.
But as the Hoosiers filed out onto the court for warm ups, Mosquera-Perea could be seen sporting his regular attire, leaving open the possibility that he may play after sitting just two games. Crean released a statement about 20 minute before game time, saying his sophomore forward would indeed by available, even though the repercussions from his mistakes would continue.
"Hanner is going to be paying the price in the office of the courts and with the Dean's office," Crean said. "He is also going to continue to be disciplined inside of our program with no end in sight to that. Hanner has done everything and more than what has been expected of him since the incident, and we are allowing him to be available for competition beginning tonight."
For a team that prides itself in doing things the right way, Mosquera-Perea's arrest seemed quite the anomaly, but with Crean's recent history with discipline, his quick return was even more interesting.
Mosquera-Perea missed two games – at Purdue and at Northwestern – last week during an indefinite suspension, and Crean said he would have also missed IU's game against Iowa that has now been rescheduled for this Thursday.
But curiously, fellow sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell missed three games earlier this season with an internal suspension for what Crean called "focus issues".
After seeing this precedent set, some wondered if Hanner would play again this season, with IU struggling to beat anyone in the Big Ten.
But Crean said that Mosquera-Perea had gone above and beyond his call to make amends with the program and the schools.
"It's not remotely anywhere near finished for him, but…he's gone above and beyond it, and I want him to be able to get this back bit by bit. We're in it for the long haul with him. He's in it for the long haul. I just wanted to have him available tonight."
Crean added that Mosquera-Perea didn't even know about his changed status till the team bus was on its way to the Kohl Center. Crean called his player up to the front and told him the situation. Since his arrest, Mosquera-Perea has been a part of what Crean labeled the "green squad", or the scouting squad to help prepare for Purdue, Northwestern and Iowa until the game was postponed.
Coming off the bench, Mosquera-Perea did very little, though, not scoring a single point while playing two minutes and not adding anything to his stat line.