IU Insider Blog: Addition by Subtraction?

Indiana had two scholarship players announce they were leaving the program Monday as Jeremy Hollowell and Austin Etherington will not return. But when you really look at it, it doesn't feel like a loss that is really going to set the Hoosiers back.

Did Indiana basketball experience addition by subtraction Monday afternoon?

When it comes to the players that announced they were transferring, I certainly think you can make that case.

I'm not talking about Noah Vonleh. He's not transferring but rather making a business decision that no one speaking honestly can blame the 18-year-old for making. Whether we think he's ready for the NBA (I don't think he is) or not isn't the question. The question is, if put in a similar position where a ton of money – guaranteed money – is being waved in your face, could you honestly walk away and risk the chance of getting hurt or having your skills diminished?

I think it's a no-brainer when you look at it that way.

But the other players that announced Monday they are leaving the Indiana basketball program are another story.

The two scholarship players – Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell – never lived up to their potential at IU. They combined to score an average of eight points per game last season.

Etherington is a really nice kid. Good family. Good people. But let's face it: He was a shooter who didn't shoot all that well or all that much for that matter.

Etherington hit 32.6 percent from the field this season. He made 23.8 percent of his 3-point shots. He made a total of FIVE 3-POINTERS all season.

This is a guy who many believed had the ability to pick up the slack for what IU lost from the perimeter with a guys like Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. This is a guy who many once believed could make IU fans forget about a guy like Matt Roth. Etherington was considered a pure shooter who could fill up the scorebook.

But for whatever reason it never happened. He was 11th this season on the IU team in scoring with a 2.0 average. Hanner Mosquera-Perea averaged more points per game than Etherington.

So if Indiana can pick up a player who can hit a few shots with one of those available scholarships then IU could be better off. Etherington certainly wasn't on the floor for his defense.

As for Hollowell, all I know is this. If I heard it one time, I heard it a thousand last season, from Indiana fans wondering why Hollowell was getting any playing time at all. He just didn't look the part in terms of being willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. His body language was lazy.

He just never really rose to the level of player that his lofty high school ranking would have led you to believe. For game after game after game last season, Indiana fans waited for Hollowell to break through. It never happened.

So take Etherington and Hollowell out of the mix, and I really don't think Indiana is a worse place today than it was the day before.

The third player was a walk-on, Jonny Marlin, who was never going to be more than a role player at this level. The word is he wants to play at a smaller school where he'll have a chance to get some playing time. And good for him. Again, another great kid that you clearly root for. But he wasn't someone who was going to make a difference one way or the other.

There is also a rumor that the other walk-ons will not be back. But with Andrew Calomeris and Joe Fagan, you're talking about a pair of freshmen who combined to play 11 minutes of college basketball last season.

It's too bad that walk-ons want to leave the program but the reality is that IU will be able to find plenty of walk-on help.

So if this the end in terms of players transferring this season, and Indiana is able to pick up a couple of quality players, including someone with size, then I really think the Hoosiers will be a better team this year than they were last year.

Sometimes transfers are not necessarily a bad thing.

Especially in cases where they are leaving because they don't want to be there any more.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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