Why Indiana Basketball Needs Hanner Mosquera-Perea to Make the Leap in 2013-14

Dan MatneyContributor IIIOctober 15, 2013

Coming into the 2012-13 college basketball season, the Indiana Hoosiers put together one of the strongest recruiting classes in recent memory.

The two headline players in the class, Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell, both had solid contributions in an IU season that ended prematurely in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season. While both of those players will be key contributors throughout the 2013-14 season, they will need the other highly touted recruit from that class, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, to take the leap and tap into his limitless potential.

Last season, Mosquera-Perea was suspended for the first nine games of the year due to a violation of NCAA rules. When Mosquera-Perea was finally eligible to play, he made a limited impact. In the 20 games he appeared in, Mosquera-Perea averaged less than a point a game on a 39 percent shooting effort, and he also added 1.45 rebounds per game.

After losing their lone low-post threat from last season to the NBA, Cody Zeller, it has left the Hoosiers with a large void to fill. Super recruit Noah Vonleh is sure to make an instant impact, but Mosquera-Perea will be a key to the Hoosiers' hopeful success.

Mosquera-Perea is extremely athletic, and at 6’9", 225 pounds, he has the build to play in the post at the college level. As he exhibited in this year’s Hoosier Hysteria, Mosquera-Perea has an incredible vertical leap, and he could see some time on SportsCenter's Top 10 due to his emphatic dunks.

Mosquera-Perea is a raw talent and has a few things to work on before he can elevate himself into a household name.

The first aspect of his game that he will have to improve on is rebounding. IU lost their three leading rebounders in Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford.

Mosquera-Perea is lengthy and can cover the space necessary to be a very good rebounder.

Last season, Mosquera-Perea was exceptional when it came to grabbing offensive boards; 14 of his 29 rebounds came on the offensive side of the ball. A frontcourt combination of Vonleh and an improved Mosquera-Perea would help transform IU into a juggernaut on the boards.

The second aspect of his game he needs to improve on is his scoring. IU lost their top four leading scorers from last season, which accounted for 52.1 points per game of the team’s average of 78.6, which led the Big Ten and ranked third nationally. Taking into account the loss of Remy Abell and Maurice Creek, two rotational players who had moderately reliable offensive games, the Hoosiers lost 74 percent of their offensive output from last year.

The frontcourt combination of Zeller and Watford alone averaged 28.8 points per game. Senior Will Sheehey and Ferrell will both see increases in scoring output due to their elevated roles, but other players will have to step up to fill the added void.

Mosquera-Perea’s biggest problem last year was being able to handle passes thrown to him down low. There were multiple occasions while watching him where a pass would be delivered to him in the paint and he wouldn’t be able to get a handle on it, which resulted in turnovers. IU’s coaching staff has stated that they have worked with Hanner in the offseason to decrease this problem.

Mosquera-Perea won’t need to put up superstar-like numbers, especially with the sharp shooting freshmen that are making their way into the rotation. A scoring average between seven to 10 points would go a long way in helping the Hoosiers compete in college basketball’s best conference.

Right now, the Hoosiers are expecting to have a pretty good season, but the elevation of mid-level role players from last year, especially Mosquera-Perea, could ultimately lead to the addition of Indiana’s sixth banner.