Men’s basketball: Indiana could be losing four starters
By LaMond Pope email@example.com March 29, 2013 11:30PM
Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell (11) drives around Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams, left, during the second half of an East Regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:52PM
WASHINGTON — Jordan Hulls played 17 minutes in his first college basketball game, an 83-60 Indiana victory against Howard on Nov. 13, 2009.
IU won just nine more games that season and a total of 22 his freshman and sophomore years.
Hulls was there for the lows. And he took part in the program’s return to relevance, when it won 27 games and reached the Sweet 16 last season. IU had 29 victories this year, and added its first outright Big Ten title since 1993. But once again, the Hoosiers fell in the round of 16.
Unlike last year though, Thursday’s 61-50 loss to Syracuse marked a disappointing end to a season filled with lofty expectations.
“It’s just tough,” Hulls said Thursday. “We prepared so hard. We just didn’t go out there and execute like we needed to. Give Syracuse a lot of credit. They created a lot of problems for us.
“It was just a terrible way to go out.”
Indiana was ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls. The Hoosiers spent 10 weeks at No. 1 during the season.
None of that mattered to Syracuse. The Orange baffled the top-seeded Hoosiers with its 2-3 zone. IU had more turnovers (19) than field goals (16).
“I will be taking this loss to heart,” said freshman guard Yogi Ferrell, who like Hulls did not score against the Orange. “I will be in the gym, working every day because I don’t want to feel like this again.”
Ferrell might be the only starter returning next year. Seniors Hulls and Christian Watford won’t be back. And IU might also lose forward Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo to the NBA. Both have been projected as first-round draft picks.
Neither wanted to discuss their futures Thursday.
“I’ve been focused on Indiana Hoosier basketball and I loved playing with these guys, and I’ve enjoyed the ride,” said Oladipo, a guard who emerged to become a finalist for the Naismith Award. “I’m never going to forget this team, the players on this team, this coaching staff, anything.
“That’s all I’ve been thinking about.”
Indiana coach Tom Crean said his role in the process will be to give the players an honest assessment.
Indiana has a top-10 recruiting class coming in next season.
“We younger guys have seen how hard the veterans were working, so although we have been working hard, that ethic will continue to increase, especially in the following years,” Ferrell said.