Peter Jurkin - Sudan (via Charlotte, North Carolina)
Center - 7'0" -230 lbs.
2012 Season - High School
Starting off the player profiles for the upcoming 2012 season will be incoming freshman post player Peter Jurkin. Jurkin is the first A-Hope player (an organization geared towards helping student athletes with a support system as they make their transition to the United States) for the Indiana Hoosiers since the legendary Tijan Jobe. Jurkin originally hailing from the Sudan settled into his high school career at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte. There he received top notch coaching from former NBA talent Muggsy Bogues.
Unfortunately for Jurkin he has had to deal with a bevy of injuries throughout high school. He missed all of his final AAU season with shin splints and some other lower body issues and then missed a large portion of his high school season with a stress fracture. Because of these injuries scouts weren't truly able to see what Jurkin had to offer at 100%. As a result, Jurkin fell out the recruit rankings. I would say this has 100% to do with his injury issues and the inability for scouts to see him and nothing to do with his lack of development on the basketball court.
However, there are some positives to the issues that Jurkin faced health wise. Because the injuries only inhibited him in the lower body he was still able to get to the gym a ton in the rehab process. Due to this benefit Jurkin added much needed strength to his upper body. I caught sight of him on campus a few weeks ago when the freshmen were just getting into the swing of things for the summer session and he was noticeably stronger in the upper body than what he was when I had seen him the year previous. Since then, with Jurkin in Indiana's program he has added another 10 lbs. Assuming he can get the lower body strength with a collegiate weight program to match the upper body he was able to achieve in high school, strength should not be an issue for Jurkin long term.
What is a long term issue will be Jurkin's offensive skill set. He reminds a lot of Victor Oladipo in this facet. No he isn't a 7' shooting guard, but like Oladipo, Jurkin is coming to Indiana with a lot more intangibles than skill set. Both are/were incredibly hard workers that are long athletic defenders with not much offensive game to speak of. In fact, if you read the scouting report on Jurkin by ESPN and then read DraftExpress' report on Oladipo, the discussion of defense and intangibles are eerily similar.
As for the impact on this coming season, I wouldn't expect a whole lot out of Peter. Certainly he's going to get his time here or there but I don't expect him to be part of the rotation. He has some things to work offensively before he can be a major factor. Of course, I could be wrong. There are rumors out there that he actually has more of a face up offensive game in pre-season workouts than anyone gave him credit for. Still, I don't think he'll provide anything more than an early season breather for Zeller in the post. As we get deeper into the season and the rotation begins to tighten up so will Jurkin's minutes.