'No more fun and games'

Indiana coach Tom Crean said it's time for Hanner Mosquera-Perea to start being a force for the Hoosiers. Can he make the necessary improvements?

Hanner Mosquera-Perea arrived in Bloomington as a top 50 recruit that many Indiana fans couldn't wait to see take the court. They showed up at Hoosier Hysteria his freshman year hoping to "Ooh" and "Ahh" at his ridiculous dunking ability.

But Mosquera-Perea has too rarely given Indiana fans something to cheer about in his two seasons in the Cream and Crimson.

It's a topic we've written about numerous times here since Mosquera-Perea arrived on campus. But still, the questions remain. Can Mosquera-Perea still grow into a productive player for the Hoosiers? Was he simply overrated? Does he have what it takes to be a starting center in the Big Ten?

Mosquera-Perea was among the topics discussed when Indiana coach Tom Crean met with the media last week at Huber Winery as part of IU's "On the Road" tour.

"It's time to play. It's time to be really serious about playing extended minutes," Crean said. "It's time to be an enforcer at the basket. It's time to show that toughness that his body gives you. It's going to have to happen or he won't be out there as much. We need his consistency. It's no more fun and games, now it's time for you to lock in and mature and not anymore talk, let's get at it.

"Let's be a guy that can grab rebounds out of your area, let's be a guy that can play more than a couple of minutes at a time without getting winded. Let's be a guy that's continued to progress defensively like he has. We've got to get him to the foul line. It just hasn't shown, but he's made tremendous strides as a shooter."

Mosquera-Perea averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game last season, scoring just 80 total points for the season. He averaged less than a point per game as a freshman.

The potential is certainly there, which is perhaps the reason Mosquera-Perea's lack of production has been most surprising. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward is athletic and strong enough to compete with any big man in the Big Ten, but has yet to harness his ability and be consistent enough to stay on the court.

"Can Hanner run the court?" Crean asked. "Can he screen and role? Can he get loose in the alley? Can he post up and rip through? Can he play out of double teams? Can all of those things happen? And not just in practice and not just a couple of days at a time but throughout the season."

Indiana needs Mosquera-Perea now more than ever because of its severe lack of depth inside. If Mosquera-Perea can't play heavy minutes, the Hoosiers will have to rely on Devin Davis, who stands only 6-foot-7.

It's a storyline we will certainly follow throughout next season, but it's a good one to look at now as the year approaches. How much better can Mosquera-Perea be? Is he ready for the challenge?

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