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Indiana Basketball: Biggest Ups and Downs from 2013 Offseason So Far

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

Indiana Basketball: Biggest Ups and Downs from 2013 Offseason So Far

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    Credit: indystar.com
    Credit: indystar.com

    There hasn't been a shortage of drama this offseason for Indiana basketball. Between all of the departing players, transfers and recruiting, these past few months have been wild.

    The Hoosiers are a totally different team than they were in March as a result of seismic offseason occurrences. 

    Let's take a look at Indiana's exciting offseason and examine the ups and downs that have happened to the program. 

Down: Departures

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    A total of seven players left the program once the season was over. Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller declared for the NBA draft. Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston graduated. Maurice Creek and Remy Abell transferred. 

    Nearly all of the team's production turned in their Indiana uniforms. 

    Of course, the early departure of Oladipo and Zeller was expected, but still a bummer for the Hoosiers. The pair was Indiana's engine. The Hoosiers went as they did, and their skills and output will be tough to replace.

    Hulls, Watford and Elston were leaders and valuable contributors. They were there when IU was in college basketball's cellar and helped resurrect the program to what it is today.

    Hulls and Watford were Indiana's main three-point threat. Surely, Tom Crean is sad to see them go.  

    The absence of Creek and Abell won't hurt as much, but the two will be missed. Creek offered experience to an otherwise very young roster, and Abell was a solid ball-handler and capable defender. Because the Hoosiers only have one experienced point guard, it would be nice to still have Abell around. 

Up: Addition of Evan Gordon

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    Douglas C. Pizac

    Evan Gordon's decision to transfer to Indiana was a major boost to the roster. His presence will definitely help stem the loss of guards Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek and Remy Abell.

    Gordon brings experience, leadership and playmaking ability. He is a solid scorer as well (10.1 PPG in 2012-13 at Arizona State).  

    Most likely, Tom Crean will use him as a shooting guard, a position where Indiana's depth is lacking. It hasn't been decided if Gordon will be in the starting lineup or come off the bench, but nonetheless, he should be a very valuable player for the Hoosiers. 

Down: Recruiting Losses

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    Credit: Paw of the Tiger
    Credit: Paw of the Tiger

    The recruiting trail hasn't been kind to Tom Crean and his staff. There have certainly been more letdowns than positives this offseason. 

    The Hoosiers lost out on a pair of high-profile class of 2014 recruits they were targeting. Theo Pinson decided to take his talents to North Carolina, and Isaiah Whitehead chose Seton Hall.

    The biggest blow came from longtime commit James Blackmon Jr. The stud shooting guard abruptly decided to reopen his recruitment and look at other programs.

    Blackmon Jr., No. 25 in ESPN's 100, is a prolific scorer and would be a great addition for Indiana. IU is still on Blackmon Jr.'s list of possible destinations, but it's looking more and more unlikely that he will come back to the Hoosiers.  

Up: Robert Johnson Commits

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    Credit: insidethehall.com
    Credit: insidethehall.com

    Landing Robert Johnson is a huge win for Indiana. After James Blackmon Jr. decommitted, the Hoosiers needed a quality shooting guard for their 2014 class. 

    The 4-star recruit from Virginia should fit in nicely. Per his scouting report (subscription required), he can make shots from anywhere on the court, exactly what you want from a shooting guard. He can also defend both backcourt positions if need be. 

    Perhaps the biggest thing Johnson offers is his relationship with another major recruit, Devin Robinson. The two are very close, and you can bet Johnson will try to persuade Robinson to join him in Bloomington (subscription required).

Down: Troy Williams' Injury

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    Credit: nationofblue.com
    Credit: nationofblue.com

    Incoming freshman Troy Williams is going to miss several weeks due to an injury to his shooting hand (right), according to a report from AllHoosiers.com. 

    This is a big blow to the talented forward and his team. He is one of IU's top recruits and is slated to be a major contributor.

    Missing the start of the season will put Williams at a big disadvantage. Being a freshman, the only way he's going to learn Tom Crean's system is by being on the court every day.

    If he isn't proficient at the team's offensive and defensive sets, Crean can't play him. 

    To put it simply, this is not a good situation for the promising freshman.

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