Crean on Perea: 'He's been easily distracted'

Hanner Mosquera-Perea (USA Today)

In an exclusive interview with AllHoosiers.com, Indiana coach Tom Crean talked about Hanner Mosquera-Perea and what he needs to do to take the next step as a player.

The numbers won't jump off the page at you, but Hanner Mosquera-Perea had some really bright moments during his sophomore season with Indiana.

Mosquera-Perea, a highly-regarded recruiting in the 2012 class, barely saw the court and was insignificant as a freshman. He struggled to catch the ball, didn't seem to understand the plays, and often looked out of place on both ends of the floor.

As a sophomore, Mosquera-Perea was much better in a number of areas. His hands were vastly improved, and he played significantly better defense than he did as a freshman.

Mosquera-Perea's best game came in a late-season win over Ohio State in which he was a critical factor down the stretch. He had a career-high eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes, going 3-of-4 from the field and scoring some important baskets in the second half. Mosquera-Perea also blocked three shots in the win.

It was a glimpse to Indiana fans of what Mosquera-Perea could be if he could ever grow consistent enough to get in the rotation on a regular basis.

"He had a very good offseason with how his skills improved," Indiana coach Tom Crean said in an exclusive interview with AllHoosiers.com on Monday. "He just couldn't translate it over longer stretches of time. He practiced pretty well. He had just too much inconsistency inside of the games and not being able to play long enough stretches at a high enough level."

Unfortunately for Mosquera-Perea, he also had some low moments. In the early morning hours of February 14, he was arrested and booked for OWI-Endangerment after operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Crean suspended Mosquera-Perea for two games -- it would have been three had the Iowa game not been postponed -- and said his punishment continues to this day.

So what's the next step for Mosquera-Perea? Focusing all of his time and focus to basketball is a big part of it.

"His conditioning would be the simple answer. His mental toughness would be the hard answer," Crean said. "And that's what he's got to continue to build. It's very clear, based on certain things during the season, that his commitment level to being as good as he can possibly be has not been there.

"Your commitment level doesn't mean you're in the gym more than anyone else, but your mind has to be around this and what needs to be done a lot. You don't have to be here to be thinking and planning for how you can be. And he's been easily distracted, but he's been trying to get out of it."

Crean and the Hoosiers will need Mosquera-Perea to be a major contributor next year, especially if they are unable to find another big man in the 2014 class. If the season started today, there's a good chance Mosquera-Perea would be in the starting lineup.

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