Hoosiers look forward to return to the “DMV”

  • 02/11/2015 8:27 am in

In recent years, the Indiana men’s basketball program has built a connection with the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

The current pipeline between the “DMV” and Bloomington formed back in May 2008, when Oxon Hill, Md., native Maurice Creek committed to the Hoosiers. It solidified just over a year later in September 2009 with the commitment of Hyattsville, Md., native Victor Oladipo. Those two had a chance to play near home in the 2013 NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

The pipeline still remains strong. Current Hoosiers Robert Johnson and Troy Williams are from Virginia, and Stanford Robinson is from Maryland. And tonight presents their first opportunity to play close to home, as the Hoosiers (17-7, 7-4) take on No. 19 Maryland (19-5, 7-4) in College Park at 9 p.m.

“It’s always good when you’re away from home and you get to play in front of your friends and family,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “I’m definitely excited to see them.”

Indiana’s connection to the Washington area stems far beyond the basketball court.

As of fall 2014, more than 12,000 Indiana University alumni resided in the area — making it the third-largest IU alumni base in the country. Another 12 current IU student-athletes are from either Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Tuesday that “we love that area.”

Outside of player personnel, Crean also made a coaching hire from the area, when in 2012 he added former Team Takeover (D.C.) AAU coach and Towson assistant Kenny Johnson to his staff. Johnson was an assistant coach for the Hoosiers for two seasons and led the recruitment of Robinson, Robert Johnson and Williams to Bloomington.

“It’s a great place for us,” Crean said.

Tonight’s return and Xfinity Center debut marks one of excitement for the Hoosiers — Johnson said that depending on ticket availability from his teammates, he expects to have 16 or 17 friends and family members in the Xfinity Center.

The game itself, however, will be a challenge.

The Terrapins are 14-1 at home this season — their only loss in College Park coming to Virginia in early December. Their struggles have come mainly on the road, including their 89-70 loss to the Hoosiers on Jan. 22 and most recently a 71-55 loss at Iowa on Sunday, but at home the Terps have an average +13.2 scoring margin, including wins over Michigan State and Minnesota.

And once again, Maryland will pose the same matchup issues they did just two weeks earlier — from guard Dez Wells and his driving ability to Jake Layman and his post-up and perimeter play as a big man.

Crean expects “there will be a bounce” in the steps of those Hoosiers returning home tonight. But whether that results in a spark that sets off another 89-point performance is left to be decided.

“Will we shoot it again like we did here a couple weeks ago? That remains to be seen,” Crean said. “We have to move the ball to have a chance to beat this team the way that we played a couple of weeks ago.”

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  • INUnivHoosier

    Time to put on a show for your families.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Exactly. Also, maybe there will be a lot more Hoosier fans there than you would normally expect for a road game.

  • MK

    We shouldn’t have to recruit outside the state of Indiana! Every top kid in the state should dream of going to IU since they were in diapers! Crean needs to lock down the borders already or find a new job!!!!!!!


  • Alan

    Agreed. I’ll be there. I got tix through the alumni association and word has it that we bought out 2 1/2 sections worth of tickets in the upper deck alone. That’s just through the alumni association, not to mention people who go on stubhub, seatgeek, etc.

  • Mack

    Yet, there is frustration in your comment that rings true. Gone are the days of IU securing some of the stellar talent that comes from all the good coaching and tradition that surrounds B-town. Off to Mich. KY, MSU, OSU, in particular these days, but everywhere. Do we have players from Mich? KY? Ohio? NC? Check out the number of Wisconsin players from Wisconsin? It only takes a couple of good seasons and a Final Four to begin to get those thinking about IU again. I sense we’re getting closer to that with this team, as we’re led by one great Indiana kid–Yogi Ferrell.

  • wdhoov83

    Is this Big Al of Wabash Co fame.. Make some serious noise tonight Cuz.

  • inLinE6

    The truth is Indiana is basketball rich, and much richer than the rest of the states you mentioned. You can’t get all of them. And depending on coaching style, system, available minutes, personnel changes, I’m not always surprised that some of the top in-state talent goes elsewhere. As long as we get great talent coming in, regardless of where they’re from and I don’t care anyways, I’m good. Do you not love Troy Williams or Rob Johnson? Or not happy with Juwan Morgan or OG Anunoby? I’m very content.

  • MK

    I know i know, was just jokin around

  • PDXHoosier

    Uh so Jordan Fuchs (football) is on the bball team now?? anybody think he’ll actually play?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Watch your language, sir!

  • who’syourhoosier

    I don’t think that he will play tonight, but I think he will eventually see some minutes. I’d like to see him against Purdue. If he can box out, he may really help this team, even if it is in a limited way.

  • who’syourhoosier

    Also I believe he will have a competitive spirit. Since he is football first, he might be happy just contributing in whatever way he can. He has nothing to lose. A good addition in my mind.

  • marcusgresham

    If nothing else it’s five more 230-pound fouls to give.

  • Lance76

    We need enforcement in the paint and at this point, I am not sure I care who does the dirty work down low. That is not to say that present team members can’t, but there are physical limitations playing defense on 6’11” 250 lbs. Did you see Yogi switching out on a big in Wisconsin or Purdue?

  • KmanCRK

    Just like Gary Harris, D. Smith-Rivera, Irvin, and other IN kids that light up the hoosiers due to being jacked for the game, I hope our DC area kids bring the thunder tonight.

  • KmanCRK

    For what its worth, we have two McD’s All-Americans on the team right now who happen to be from the state of IN. Oh and 3 in the last 4 years.

  • MrNobody

    I know if it were the other way we would have a lot more players still upset over the PU loss as much as I am. Still can’t find a way to get over that one. Anyone know a therapist

  • Ms hoosier

    Hope Troy,Rob and Stan play like they got something to prove.Not able to watch the game got to work the night shift.GO HOOSIERS!!!!!

  • Ms hoosier

    I do like the young talent we are getting out of state,but it would have been nice to have gotten Trey L. along JBJ at IU that really could have made us a hard team to deal with.

  • inLinE6

    It’s hard to compete when you try to run things clean while other programs tend to cross the line.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Are you kidding me? Announcer this game is far from over, and the score is tied 51-51 duh, great announcing!

  • eville87

    Well I will say they showed fight ….yogi is the man even though it didn’t go down at the end. My only issue is why is Blackmon still out there going 1 for 14 in the second half?

  • iuoiu

    Living in Richmond (aka RVA) I can say there is a load of talent in this region, complimented by great educational opportunities. There is also a large military presence that helps produce some very respectful and competitive kids. Tony Bennett came to UVA for a reason, and Shaka Smart is cashing in on the region too. I think every program needs a “second leg” outside of it’s own home territory in order to thrive. We don’t need as big a second leg as most programs because Indiana is so rich in hoops talent, but we do need something.