Before Mosquera-Perea was injured on Jan. 12 in practice the day before IU played Penn State, the two had played together in 16 games but their roles were different.
Prior to Perea getting hurt, for example, Hartman’s season high for minutes in the first 16 games had been 24. Since, Perea was injured, however, Hartman has played at least 24 minutes in every game except for one. Against Penn State, he played 23.
As Indiana prepares to travel to face Maryland on Wednesday night in a second place showdown in Big Ten play, Indiana coach Tom Crean acknowledged that people can expect to see Hartman and Perea on the floor at the same time.
Hartman said he’s looking forward to it.
“He’s a great player and he’s been rehabbing and working pretty hard,’’ Hartman said of Perea. “If that’s the lineup that coach Crean wants then that’s the lineup that we’ll put out. We’ve played together before so there won’t be that much of a change. It just adds another big guy in the post and that will help us.’’
For the season, Hartman is averaging 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. But in the seven games when Perea was out nursing his dislocated knee cap injury, Hartman’s role increased significantly. He averaged 7.7 points per game and about the same number of rebounds. He hit 17-of-33 shots from the field, including 13-of-22 from beyond the 3-point line.
He had a high game of 15 points where he hit all four of his shots including all three of his 3-pointers against Maryland in Assembly Hall on Jan. 22.
Crean said when Hartman plays like he did against Maryland the first time, he’s a player that needs to be on the floor.
“When Collin is aggressive Collin needs to be on the floor,’’ Crean said. “We can’t have the games that Collin played at Ohio State and Purdue. We can’t have those games. He just kind of blended in to the woodwork.
“He has got to be a bigger part of both offense and defense in the sense of his close outs and the sense of his help defense and facilitating, driving and being ready to shoot on the road. Those type of things. Everybody that is on the court should be a focal part of the offense.’’
After missing seven games with his injury, Perea saw his first action Sunday in IU’s 70-67 win over Michigan. He played a total of 4 minutes in two quick stints in the game and had one rebound.
Crean said Tuesday that he’s not sure what limitations Hanner Mosquera-Perea will have minute-wise when the Hoosiers travel to Maryland Wednesday to take on the Terrapins.
Crean said that the important thing for Perea is to get comfortable again playing in the half court. He said the conditioning element will come and a determination on how much Perea will play will be a on a day-to-day basis after consulting the medical and training staff.
“We’ve gained some confidence since he has been out in the sense of how we can play but there’s still some things that we missed that he does,’’ Crean said. “The biggest thing is to come and get adjusted, don’t get those quick fouls so that we can play him. Because that was one of the issues before he got hurt. He was getting the quick fouls. It’s not even about sustainable minutes in quantity, it’s the quality of the minutes where there are not the fouls. He needs to get back into the rhythm of that. But at the same time be a presence in pick-and-roll defense, be a presence in the post, be a presence at the rim and in help defense. He needs to run the floor, get people open, space and get people free inside. We just have to wait and see how it goes.’’
Crean said one thing that Perea hasn’t been able to do as much as IU would like is to drive the ball.
“Can he shoot the ball like Collin Hartman? No, but that’s not what his role is,’’ Crean said. “He can drive the ball but he has to be like everybody else, he has to play with his head up. When he sees an open man, he has to hit him. At the same time we can play through the post in the sense of throwing it in to him and he can find some cutters especially when his head is up. He gives us a guy that can play right at the basket with great length that they have to account for. But it’s the rebounding, it’s the screen and roll, it’s those kind of things that are really going to be important for him.’’
Crean said it may be somewhat situational for a while because teams at times try to force IU to match up with them. But having Perea as his disposal will allow IU to do some more things on the defensive end.
“There’s no question that we have to defend the low post better,’’ Crean said. “But he has to defend the low post better. He wasn’t defending it real well before he got hurt with the fouls. If he can keep moving his feet and using his length and being in position early, and play with verticality, that’s a huge thing. You have to get your hands up and get them back behind your head. It’s not as much about blocking the shot as it is altering the shot, being in the position early.’’