With the Indiana Hoosiers' loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels in Friday's Sweet 16 match-up, five players have put on the candy-striped pants for a final time. Yogi Ferrell, Max Bielfeldt, Nick Zeisloft, Ryan Burton, and Jackson Tharp's departures mark, at least at this point, the end of a roller coaster half-decade under Tom Crean.
It would be an injustice to start the rundown of these five seniors with anyone other than Yogi Ferrell. That's not to take away what the other four have done for the program, but to be fair, Ferrell is the only four-year Indiana player in this group.
Yogi feels like the last remnant of the ill-fated "Movement" that was supposed to return Indiana Basketball to its former glory. Through the trials and tribulations of complete roster turnover over the last few years, with countless transfers and too many dismissals, Ferrell has been the one constant over the past four season.
Ferrell joined the program for the 2012-2013 season, with Indiana dubbed the No.1 team in the preseason polls. From the very first games of his career, Ferrell (listed as 6-feet tall in your program, probably not quite that in reality), was given the reigns of the Hoosiers' offense as the starting point guard.
The Indianapolis product began his career with a 10 point, 7 assist, 5 rebound performance against the Bryant Bulldogs, and what followed over the next four years was a host a school and conference records and an intensity on the floor that will keep in favor of Hoosier Nation forever.
The all-time assist leader in Indiana's history will now turn his attention to creating a path into the NBA. With his size being his biggest detriment, there are some that are optimistic that an NBA team with a late-2nd round pick will take a chance on Ferrell. If not by the draft, Ferrell will certainly be given a chance on an NBA Summer League team to earn a roster spot.
Jackson Tharp is the only other member of this senior class to have been with the program for four years, though Tharp's time as a player did not begin until January. Tharp saw over four minutes of official action in five game appearances. Unfortunately the manager turned player was unable to record a point in his Indiana career, as his only game time came when the Hoosiers were just running out the clock. But these stories are always cool to see, when managers, whose countless hours dedicated to a college program are typically unsung, get the chance to suit up for the program that they willingly sacrifice their typical college student free time for.
Nick Zeisloft is the first of three three transfers in this group. The pure shooting guard began his career at Illinois State before transferring to Indiana prior to last season. Zeisloft was a team captain as a redshirt sophomore at Illinois State and brought much needed veteran leadership to a young Hoosiers squad.
On the floor, Zeisloft's play was reminiscent of former Hoosier Matt Roth; a sharpshooter. Of his 147 made field goals as an Indiana Hoosier, 128 were from 3-point range. Many attribute Zeisloft's improvement on the defensive end of the floor as a reason for Indiana's success in the NCAA Tournament this season.
Ryan Burton transferred to Indiana prior to the 2014-2015 season as well. The Bellarmine transfer appeared in 36 games over two season, 22 this season. Burton's major highlight came in this season Big Ten opener against Rutgers. His two made 3's helped Indiana avoid a bad loss that very well could have turned the tide of the Hoosiers' season. He continued to see spot minutes throughout conference play, seeing action in 12 of the 18 games.
Finally, Michigan transfer Max Bielfeldt found great success in his lone season at IU. Bielfeldt accrued just 17 minutes less of play time in his one year at Indiana than his three at Michigan combined. Bielfeldt helped to provided much needed depth to the Indiana front court, scoring over 8 points and grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game. Bielfeldt has already announced that his playing career will continue overseas.
This class will now make way for a new class of senior at Indiana, Collin Hartman and (barring an early exit for the NBA) Troy Williams.