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Stepping it up IU sophomores’ No. 1 goal

– Indiana basketball sophomores Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Jeremy Hollowell must do better.

And they’re ready to do so.

They had up-and-down seasons as freshmen in Bloomington and saw limited time with the Hoosiers as a result. Both faced suspensions – Mosquera-Perea for nine games, Hollowell for three – for NCAA rules violations.

Now, with Cody Zeller and Christian Watford gone, there are holes in the Hoosiers’ frontcourt. Hollowell and Mosquera-Perea will be expected to help fill them.

“I feel like I have made a lot of improvement, just working out with the coaches, learning new things – just trying to step up because I’m going to have to do a lot of things for our team this year,” Mosquera-Perea said. “I’ve been working really hard, and I’ve been getting a lot better.”

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward looks stronger and has improved his jump shot. His work ethic has improved, too, junior guard Austin Etherington said.

“He’s putting a lot of time in,” Etherington said. “After going through a year, you start to realize the things you need to improve to get on the court, and I think Hanner has learned a lot. He’s been working on everything that he knows that he needs to work on.”

Whether that turns Mosquera-Perea into a big-minute player remains to be seen. But he’s expected to play more than his 5.7 minutes over 20 games last season, and he should see increased scoring (0.9 per game last season) and rebounding (1.5).

Hollowell is facing similarly increased expectations.

“I see a big opportunity for me to make a big jump from last year improvement-wise and just helping the team any way I can,” the 6-8 swingman said. “One-on-one scoring, my shooting and my ball handling have come on a lot. I’ve been in the gym quite a bit this summer – a lot more than last year.

“Like I said, I know what to expect.”

And that’s a big step for a player who said last season was a blur. The Indianapolis native got 2.8 points and 9.7 minutes over 33 games for the Hoosiers but stepped up his production toward the end of the season.

Hollowell, like Mosquera-Perea, has competition from newcomers. Players such as freshmen Noah Vonleh, Devin Davis and Luke Fischer will vie for spots in the frontcourt, as well.

“What I need to do to make a jump is getting in the gym, staying after it,” Hollowell said. “Outside of the team stuff, my individual work – having to push myself.”

smorrison@jg.net

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