The rules of measurement bend around Jeremy Hollowell like starlight around the sun. He's listed at 6-8, but looms taller.
Is this Indiana All-Star still growing? If so, how much taller can he get?
For now, it's a mystery.
“I'm not sure if I'm taller,” Hollowell says, “but every time I see somebody they say I look like I got taller. Just standing next to guys on the (All-Star) team, I feel like I am.”
Measuring his height will come later, when he officially becomes an Indiana Hoosier amid off-the-chart team expectations.
The Hoosiers are preseason No. 1. They return six of their top eight players from a Sweet 16 team, including All-America Cody Zeller. They also bring in Hollowell and the rest of a top-5-in-the-nation recruiting class.
“It's exciting,” Hollowell says of the expectations. “It's motivation to work hard. You know what you have to prepare for. You have to get ready. The target will be on our backs. We have to step up to the plate and defend it.”
What does that mean in the battle for playing time?
War, Hollowell says.
“It will be very intense every day. People will go after each other for minutes. We've got a lot of great players. You have to come with your best every day in open gym, practice and workouts.”
Those words will comfort Indiana coach Tom Crean, who pushes a get-better-every-day message with the intensity of a preacher. Hollowell's Crean-inspired mandate is clear: use the summer to get bigger and stronger as Zeller did so impressively last year.
“It's about getting in shape, getting bigger and stronger and more explosive,” the former Indianapolis Lawrence Central standout says. “The main thing is gaining weight and getting stronger.”
Hollowell and All-Star teammates Yogi Ferrell and Ron Patterson are set to arrive in Bloomington on Wednesday. The two other freshmen -- Peter Jurkin and Hanner Perea -- already are at IU. They'll have orientation next Thursday and Friday, with summer classes set to begin after that.
Workouts will start as soon as they hit campus. Skill development is crucial, even for a player like Hollowell, who is rated as the Class of 2012's 10th-best small forward and No. 41 player overall.
“I need to improve attacking the basket aggressively,” he says. “Opening up the floor and knocking down threes. I'm continuing to work on my jump shot, rebounding and defending.”
For now his focus remains on the Indiana All-Stars' quest to continue their Kentucky domination. They've won six straight and 25 of the last 28 meetings in the annual series
“It's real important to beat them,” Hollowell says. “You play to win whenever you compete. We're going to try to have fun, but the ultimate goal is to win.”
Indiana had a pair of exhibitions against the Junior All-Stars are preparation. Hollowell had five points, four rebounds and four assists in 16 minutes in the Seniors' 104-97 win at Seymour High School. He added 14 points, three rebounds and three blocks Wednesday night in the 121-96 Seniors victory at Pendleton Heights.
That means Hollowell has just two games left in his high school experience. Is there any sadness? Not really. He says he's anxious to begin his college adventure, especially given Indiana's lofty ranking.
“I'm ready to move on and take the next step,” he says. “You see Indiana on TV, and it still seems crazy to be part of that.”
“It's about that time.”