CHICAGO — We have here a box of sports cliches. Let's pull a few out and see how they fit with the general prognosis this season for Indiana Hoosiers basketball.
It's hard to get to the top, but harder to stay there ...
True. Especially when you'd need an SUV to comfortably carry all the Indiana departees — the Big Ten championship firm of Oladipo, Zeller, Hulls and Watney.
But Yogi Ferrell, the lone leftover starter, has a comment: "I don't think we're going to take a step back. I'm not going to allow it, and I know our coaches won't allow it."
Good programs don't rebuild, they reload ...
Right. Seen Kansas lately? It'll be interesting to see if Indiana can do that, too, with the returning of Ferrell and Will Sheehey, transfer Evan Gordon and all the prized freshmen. But Tom Crean would like to note it's a work in progress.
"Can we gain confidence, and when we do get knocked around a little, not lose the confidence we haven't built up yet?" Crean wondered. "What helps you is guys that have been through it, that know how to get through it."
In other words, nothing beats experience ...
Ain't it the truth? And while Indiana doesn't exactly gush with it, experience will be highly important in the 6-foot package who must lead the Hoosiers.
Ferrell is expected to shoot better, score more and be the Indiana flashlight who gets the freshmen through any early storms. He took 200 to 300 extra shots many days over the summer to get ready and also steeled himself for the challenge to come.
"The game is 70 percent mental and 30 percent physical, that's just what I think," he said. "My mind is going to have to be there every game, every practice. But I think I'm up to the task.