This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Indiana edition.
Indiana University pulled off a recruiting coup this year, getting commitments from four of the state’s top seniors — three of whom are ranked in the ESPNU 100. It’s a group that should form the foundation of IU coach Tom Crean’s rebuilding effort and at press time was the No. 8 class in the country according to ESPN.
When the four players realized they were all committed to the same college, they had an idea: Why not team up on the AAU circuit and find out what it’s like to play together a year early? They all play different positions and wanted to get their chemistry right before setting foot on campus, so seniors Hanner Perea, Jeremy Hollowell, Yogi Ferrell and Ron Patterson joined forces on the Indiana Elite squad and used the summer season as a preview of things to come.
The results were encouraging, as the players came together and notched some impressive wins, including a trip to the semifinals at the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas.
Meet the Indiana Class of 2012.
School: Park Tudor // Position: Point guard // Ht/Wt: 5-11/170
ESPNU 100: 33 // Committed to IU: Nov. 24, 2010
Ferrell on the type of player he is: “I like to think of myself as a leader on the court. I always give it 100 percent. I try to find different guys and give them the ball where they need it. I think I’m a true point guard, and I always want my teammates to be happy. I want to lead the team to victory every night, that’s the biggest thing.”
Out of the four, Ferrell and Hollowell have known each other the longest (since third grade), so here’s Hollowell’s take on Ferrell: “He’s a great player. He has that fight in him, like you know he’s never gonna give up. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. He’s a real good point guard. I think playing together over the summer really helped us, and it probably helped him the most. We got our chemistry down, and Yogi knows where to get us the ball.”
Ferrell on what he wants to accomplish at IU: “The goal is definitely to win a national title. I’ve won a state championship [Ferrell scored 14 points to help Park Tudor defeat Bishop Noll, 43-42, in last year’s 2A title game], so that’s on the list. We know we’re part of rebuilding one of the best programs in the country, and we want to get it back to that spot. We want to be a top 10 team every year, one of those programs that you know is going to be good every year. The four of us, we can accomplish that.”
Year // Points // Rebounds // Assists // Team Record
2010-11 // 18.5 // 3.1 // 6.6 // 26-2*
*Won Class 2A state championship
TV show: “Chuck” // Movie: “Love & Basketball” // Music: Lil Wayne // Sneakers: adidas // Team: Los Angeles Lakers // Athlete: Kobe Bryant
School: Lawrence Central // Position: Small forward // Ht/Wt: 6-8/210
ESPNU 100: 58 // Committed to IU: March 24, 2011
Hollowell on his game: “I’m a versatile player. I can play inside and out, shoot the 3, post up — a little bit of everything. Small forward is my primary position, but I can go down to the 4, play the high post. It just depends on how the defense plays me. I’m most comfortable out on the wing.”
Ferrell on Hollowell’s personality: “Jeremy is a mellow dude, 24/7. He’s just chill, on and off the court. He’ll make a big play and just have the same mellow look. He’s always the same.”
Hollowell on why he chose IU: “My early favorite was Ohio State, but as the process went on I started hearing from different schools. Indiana really stood out to me because of how hard Coach Crean recruited me. With other schools, it was mostly the assistant coaches recruiting me, but for Coach Crean to recruit me, it seemed like he really wanted me. It’s a rebuilding program on the way up, and it looks like we can do something special there.”
Hollowell on playing Patterson’s Broad Ripple team this season: “We play Ron in February. I’m sure there’s gonna be some trash talking. Whenever we go up against each other, you gotta win to get your bragging rights. So it’s definitely gonna be a fight, that’s for sure.”
Year // Points // Rebounds // Blocks // Team Record
2010-11 // 18.9 // 7.1 // 1.4 // 15-10
TV Show: “Everybody Hates Chris” // Movie: “Friday After Next” // Sneakers: adidas & Nike // Team: Oklahoma City Thunder // Athlete: Derrick Rose
School: La Lumiere // Position: Power forward // Ht/Wt: 6-8/215
ESPNU 100: 47 // Committed to IU: Oct. 31, 2010
Hollowell on Perea’s transition to the U.S. (a native of Colombia, Perea moved to America at age 15): “He just likes hanging around with the guys. I think basketball is a real key to how he bonds with people. Coming here and being friends and hanging out, I think that was really helpful to him. And just to get a feel for how we live, that had to help. The basketball is what he’s used to.”
Perea on his style of play: “I’m still learning. The way I play is around the basket. I’m learning how to be more of a physical player, on offense and defense. Basketball is different here — much more physical. It’s not like that in Colombia, so I am trying to learn that way. I’m also trying to play more on the perimeter, improving my dribbling and shooting. But right now I am playing around the basket.”
Perea on his decision to attend IU: “I’ve been playing with Yogi on Indiana Elite for a long time — since I got here. Yogi and I did talk about it, but Jeremy and Ron did it apart. So I was kind of surprised when they said they were going, too. I was happy when I heard. It’s going to be a great opportunity to win a national championship.”
Year // Points // Rebounds // Team Record
2010-11 // 14.5 // 12.0 // 14-9
TV show: “Family Guy” // Movie: “The Blind Side” // Sneakers: adidas // Musical Artists: Lil Wayne & Drake // Team: Miami Heat // Athlete: Dwight Howard
School: Broad Ripple // Position: Shooting guard // Ht/Wt: 6-3/200
ESPNU 100: Not Ranked (No. 20 SG) // Committed to IU: Aug. 15, 2010
Patterson on his playing style: “I play hard-nosed defense, and I never take plays off. I don’t let them score on me. I want to make key stops and rebound the ball. On offense, I like to get to the hole, and I can shoot the ball, too.”
Hollowell on Patterson’s personality: “Ron and I are pretty much the same person. He just likes to play basketball. He’s pretty laid-back and cool with everything when we’re hanging out.”
Patterson on what the foursome gained from playing together this summer: “We all knew each other from the AAU circuit, but it was a good experience. Now we know each other’s tendencies and what each of us can do for the team. And I think we grew together. We’re like a family now from playing together.”
Patterson on what he thinks this group can accomplish at IU: “We want to be one of the best teams in history. I want to go to the Final Four my first year there and win a championship as a freshman. That’s what we all want to do.”
Year // Points // Rebounds // Steals // Team Record
2010-11 // 18.0 // 6.1 // 3.0 // 20-3
Movie: “He Got Game” // Sneakers: Jordans // Team: New York Knicks // Athlete: Carmelo Anthony