Indiana Football's collapse on Saturday against Rutgers feels like the death of the Hoosiers' gridiron season, so as it has always been, Hoosier Hysteria Week marks the official start to the athletic calendar for IU fans. Indiana's opening extravaganza will give Hoosiers fans a chance to see two new players in candy-striped pants who will join veteran Troy Williams at the wing position.
Let's take a look at Indiana's wing position.
Troy Williams, Junior
We'll get to the newcomers in a minute. Surely, Williams was given some added motivation last week after being left off of the preseason All-Big Ten team, (based on our site's Top 25 player countdown, he should have landed comfortably on that list). The 6-foot-7-inch junior improved in every major statistical category last season (other than turnovers) compared to his freshman campaign, averaging 13 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Williams joins James Blackmon, Jr. in the category of Hoosiers who may or may not be spending their final season in Bloomington due to a call to the next level. The Hampton, VA product boasts athleticism for days, being arguably the best dunker of the basketball in the conference. Certainly, Williams could get by this season maintaining his role as the team's slasher, but improvement to his outside game certainly couldn't hurt, though a 12-42 career outside shooting mark is a relatively small sample size on this Hoosier roster.
Max Bielfeldt, Senior
The first new arrival at the wing spot for Indiana comes via Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt. The 6-foot-8-inch Bielfeldt averaged 14.5 minutes per game last season in the Maize and Blue, scoring 5.1 points and pulling down 3.6 rebounds per game. It's not necessarily an earth-shattering addition for the program, but the addition of someone who already has three years of Big Ten under his belt coupled with some senior leadership for a squad that could certainly use it can't hurt.
IU's last graduate transfer, Evan Gordon, showed flashes of great player early on in his lone season with the Hoosiers, but fizzled out in conference play. Hoosier Nation will hope not to see a similar situation for Bielfeldt, who should be expected to play similar minutes to last season, (I don't feel comfortable saying he'll see more minutes than 15 minutes or so per because I have no idea how Tom Crean, who already has a history of being frequent with substitutions, it is hard to see the same lineup on the floor for more than a couple minutes at time this season).
OG Anunoby, Freshman
Ogugua Anunoby could easily be listed as the biggest question mark on this year's Hoosier roster. The 6-foot-7-inch incoming freshman was an unknown early in his high school career, before garnering attention in the summer of 2014 and quickly signing with Indiana. He did manage to set his school's single-game scoring in February with a 38 point performance. Again, not sure what to expect for young "OG-won Kenobi" this year, but hopefully we learn something in the preseason and also everyone, fan and media alike, should agree on using the aforementioned nickname.
Collin Hartman, Junior
Collin Hartman is certainly an interesting case, because he should be a wing player. He was recruited as such, with the potential of joining Indiana's list of sharpshooters. Instead, Hartman's path took a turn last season due to the absence of Devin Davis, forcing Crean to play the 6-foot-6-inch, then-sophomore, play at the 4-spot. Hartman saw a massive jump in minutes last season, playing 19.7 minutes while scoring 4.8 points per game. Who knows, maybe he'll pop up in next week's frontcourt preview as well.
Walk-on senior Ryan Burton finds himself alone in this category. I must say I do envy his position, getting to travel with a Big Ten team with little-to-no expectations. Guy is living the dream.
Like the backcourt, the wing position for Indiana is for the most part cut and dry. Troy Williams will soak up nearly 30 minutes per game at the position. Though the Hoosiers now have depth at the spot, giving them the option to bridge having the starters in with 3 and 4-guard lineups. Check back next week as we'll check out the rest of the Hoosier frontcourt, which will rely heavily on freshman productivity.