It's time for Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea to play to their basketball hype.
OK, technically that time won't come until November, when IU opens its season, but what you do in the summer dramatically impacts the season.
Or so the theory goes.
Hollwell and Perea are set to start their sophomore seasons and much is expected given their potential and playing time opportunity as the Hoosiers work to replace four starters from a top-ranked Sweet 16 team.
The 6-8 Hollowell was more of a factor last season. He came off the bench to average 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.7 minutes. He scored as many as 14 points, grabbed as many as six rebounds.
The 6-9 Perea played in 20 games and averaged 0.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.7 minutes.
Both are getting plenty of attention from coach Tom Crean and his staff in summer workouts.
“For them, it's about athletically being able to really be more physical,” Crean said. “It's short-space physicality in the sense of being able to move their feet, help and recover. It's about playing with a tough demeanor. Both have good bodies, length and athleticism. Now it's time to show their competitiveness on the defensive side. Show it in terms of being some of the first in conditioning.”
Crean's emphasis on competitiveness isn't an accident. He recruits guys who win in almost everything they do. He got it with Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, with Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey, and now with heralded freshman forward Noah Vonleh.
“There's a reason why guys like Cody, guys like Noah, guys like Yogi make McDonald's All Americans,” Crean said. “They have some uncommon desires to compete. Certainly Victor has that. Sheehey and Hulls had that. Christian developed some of that. The guys who don't develop that you don't hear a lot about them or they're not here anymore.
“It becomes a situation of, Are you going to dive in and try to win everything you do. That's what Jeremy and Hanner have to develop. The skills will come.”
Perea was the more heralded player for most of his high school career, but Hollowell finished strong and wound up as the No. 41 player overall in the Class of 2012 to Perea's No. 43.
With Watford and Zeller preparing for pro careers and with forward Derek Elston having completed his eligibility, there will be plenty of inside opportunities available this season. The big question -- will Hollowell and Perea take advantage of them?
“Hanner is so far ahead of last year,” Crean said. “What that means in terms of being able to play, it's early.
“Jeremy has a great desire. He loves the gym. Again it's got to come down to, what are those guys winning? What sprints are they winning? What competitions are they winning? What shooting drills are they winning?”
Crean also seeks a winning edge from guard Evan Gordon, who is making a summer impact after transferring from Arizona State. Gordon, the brother of former Hoosier All-America Eric Gordon, is expected to provide veteran backcourt leadership as well as offensive and defensive punch.
“I think it will be very positive because he's a winner,” Crean said. “He's older. He's won. When you watch him play, he is very comfortable being a focal point of the offense. He's comfortable being a part of the offense. He's a very underrated defender. He had some really high scoring games in the Pac 12 when he was a threat.
“When you have a guy like that who understands how to win and how to make his teammates better, it's a real positive. He certainly has the bloodlines. He's got a real desire to get better. He has a desire to be a coach some day and hence going into athletic administration is part of it. He wants to get into the sports field.
“When you get a around a guy like that who has the level of seriousness about him, it can't help but be good for your team.”
IU is also working injured players Austin Etherington and Peter Jurkin back into the mix.
Etherington, a 6-6 sophomore swingman, fractured his kneecap and missed most of last season. His injury was similar to that suffered by former Hoosier Maurice Creek.
“Austin is way ahead of where Maurice Creek was through the same process,” Crean said. “He ended up testing as the strongest guy on the team at end of the spring. He was even stronger than than Victor (Oladipo), Christian (Watford) and Cody (Zeller) on the bench press. He looks good. There is still no contact, but he's improving. He's really hungry.”
The 6-11 Jurkin has battled leg injuries for years. That has dramatically hindered his development. He played in just three games last year as a freshman and the only stat he recorded was missing one field goal in seven total minutes.
“It's slow,” Crean said about Jurkin's recovery. “He's shooting. The rehab is the most important thing. We're going down that line where we've got great support for him medically, are we missing something we need to look at? We want to keep him on a pace where he doesn't get frustrated. He's really trying.
“Last year he wasn't close to the player he could be because he couldn't do them health wise. It's tough for him because he's missed so much time getting back. I hope he will continue to progress.”