Five takeaways from Hoosier Hysteria

  • 10/24/2016 8:18 am in

Indiana’s season opening event, Hoosier Hysteria, took place Saturday night in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and included player introductions, a 3-point shootout, dunk contest and a 12-minute scrimmage.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Hysteria:

· Devonte Green steals the show in the scrimmage: If there was a question as to whether freshman Devonte Green would challenge for a spot in this season’s rotation, we may have received our answer on Saturday night.

While it’s just a scrimmage with very little defense being played at times, the freshman guard from Long Island put on a show. Green hit five 3s in the scrimmage and led the Cream team to a 41-29 win. Some of the shots (as you can see here in the highlights) were very difficult, but Green showed that he can make shots off both the catch and the dribble.

Sophomore Thomas Bryant, who has known Green since their days as teammates on the Nike EYBL circuit with the PSA Cardinals, wasn’t surprised.

“He’s gotten better at everything,” Bryant said. “Shooting, ball handling, passing, defense. He’s improved each and every day.”

· Ring ceremony a great way to honor returning players: It was a moment that wasn’t on the script for Hoosier Hysteria, but handing out the Big Ten championship rings to the returning players was one of the highlights of the night.

Tom Crean spoke a bit about each player who received a ring and even got choked up a few times. Indiana also put together a video titled “This is how you’re a champion,” that featured Crean’s speech from the postgame in Iowa City last season:

“It meant a lot because we worked really hard and the coaching staff worked really hard,” OG Anunoby said following Hysteria. “We were stunned because we didn’t know we were going to get the rings, but we’re glad we did.”

· Bryant looks fine physically: There was a bit of a boot scare last week with Bryant that prompted him to issue a few tweets regarding the status of his foot, but Indiana’s star big man looked ready to go in terms of his health.

Bryant won the men’s portion of the 3-point shootout and was running the floor perfectly fine throughout the 12-minute scrimmage. Bryant has added significant mass to his upper body in the offseason and is up to 255 pounds according to the official roster.

After not even testing the NBA waters following his freshman year despite having the option, Bryant appears to be all-in on having a monster sophomore year in Bloomington.

· Newkirk, Blackmon Jr. and Johnson all appear to be healthy: Josh Newkirk, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson are all coming off of injuries, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at them.

Newkirk has been cleared the longest of the three guys and he had an impressive sequence when he stole the ball and went the other way and finished it with a dunk. Newkirk is only about 6-foot-1, but he’s quick and very strong in the upper body.

Johnson appears to have tweaked his jump shot a little bit, but had it working and knocked down several attempts from beyond the 3-point line. The Richmond (Va.) native has also bulked up even more in the upper body.

And Blackmon Jr. also knocked in several 3s and appeared to be moving very well both laterally and downhill.

· Recruits take in Hysteria: Hysteria is always a major recruiting weekend and the headliner was five-star class of 2017 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) forward Billy Preston.

The 6-foot-10 forward sat behind the Indiana bench for most of the night and appeared to be enjoying himself throughout the evening.

In addition to Preston, Indiana had some notable underclassmen in attendance including 2018 McCutcheon guard Robert Phinisee and 2018 Bloomington North wing Musa Jallow. There were also many younger prospects from the 2019 and 2020 classes in attendance.

Filed to:

  • N71

    Were there any insights from this past weekend that would give us a better understanding on what’s going to happen with Wilkes and Preston?

  • Arch Puddington

    Wilkes sent out an interesting tweet to “Hoosier nation” or some such audience late last week in which he said that he would miss Hoosier Hysteria due to a scheduling conflict, and joked about someone tweeting him a video of the crowd chanting his name.

    Obviously nothing of substance can be read into that, but it is quite tempting to believe that between his visit to Homecoming and his acknowledgment of Hoosier Hysteria, we are still in the running. Smart money seems to be on UCLA, but then the smart money was on Waters coming here.

    With the guard play we are likely to have next year — seniors RJ, JBJ, and JN, plus sophomores DG and CJ — how do you like a front line of Preston, Morgan, and DD, with Wilkes and McSwain on the wing? (Don’t ask me how the math all works out; too many players. Let me dream….).

  • inLinE6

    I highly suspect JBJ won’t return for senior year. For the very least he’d probably go the Troy Williams route.

  • Arch Puddington

    I am certain he wants to, but he’ll have to show awfully well this year for that to make sense. Granted, it doesn’t have to make sense to me, as Troy’s unbelievable story shows. But it has been notable to me that there is no buzz surrounding him thus far. None of the observers who have attended practices have mentioned him as one who stood out (Frischilla, Greenberg), he didn’t stand out at either the televised practice or Hoosier Hysteria, and I don’t recall Alex saying anything in POTB that indicated JBJ had stood out to him (I could be wrong about that one). Heck, he didn’t even win the 3 point contest.

    VERY small sample size, and of course he is coming back from an injury. Long time yet to improve and/or show the improvement he has already made. At his best he is a natural scorer who could easily average 16-18 game this year, so if his health and defense are good, you could be right.

  • BruceA

    Alex…thanks for the Takeaways (especially for those who couldn’t attend)…that’s always one of my favorite parts of the season. Go Hoosiers!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I heard about the tweet and I read that his brother and father were planning on being in attendance on Saturday. I’ll say this, Wilkes has been on roughly 40 “unofficial visits” to IU and he knows everything there is to know about the coaching staff, the program, the facilities and how he would be used. I have no problem with him taking his time and going through the entire process but IU has done everything they can to land him…I hope he ends up a Hoosier but if chooses UCLA, I firmly believe there’s nothing more the staff or anything else associated with Indiana could have done.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Danny Green has been a pleasure to watch with the San Antonio Spurs so I was inclined to like the pickup of his younger brother. I then saw the numbers he was producing in high school and I was perplexed why he wasn’t rated a bit higher. It didn’t trouble me or make me question his fit at IU but I was perplexed. Then I heard good things about him throughout the offseason and then he looked like he absolutely belonged on the floor on Saturday night. I think he’s currently a favorite to be the fourth guard and he’ll likely get some valuable minutes early.
    -There will be few, if any, teams that will look as impressive physically as our Hoosiers. They’ve clearly put the work in throughout the offseason and it shows.
    -I hope McSwain and Morgan are able to go against Kansas. All indications are that they’ll be physically “100%” by then but I’m not sure how game-ready they’ll be. Given the injuries and lack of time the frontline has had, it wouldn’t surprise me to see more three-guard lineups early than many of us would like.
    -I’ve seen Phinisee and I have serious concerns about his size. He’s definitely not six-feet tall and I’d guess he weighs something around 170 pounds right now. I know our strength program would bulk him up quickly but I’d have major questions about his viability as a lead guard in the Big Ten. He has great ball skills and he’s a great facilitator though.
    -I’ve also seen Musa Jallow…interestingly, he plays on the same HS team (Bloomington North) as Tom Crean’s son so you know Tom Crean has as accurate of an evaluation of him as possible. 6’5″ wing, good player with lots of room to grow. I definitely think he’d be a player worth pursuing, even if he weren’t right in the backyard of IU.

  • inLinE6

    I think part of it was because we knew how good JBJ can be so expectations were higher. But if he can’t prove he’s draft-worthy this year, he’ll never be. Once he gets his degree, better start making some money when his body still allows. That’s how I see it.

  • Arch Puddington

    “Wilkes has been on roughly 40 “unofficial visits” to IU and he knows everything there is to know about the coaching staff, the program, the facilities and how he would be used.”

    This is actually what I’m afraid of. For all the great things there are to say about IU, it’s not new and shiny. UCLA is new and shiny. My own sons went through a fairly exhaustive college search, and I know from first hand experience how exciting that can be. Sure hope he lets the “new and shiny” part wear off before he chooses.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Arch very well done. My son is nowhere near the “star” Wilkes is and the fball recruiting already is exhausting but exciting.

  • I’ll tell you, Los Angeles is a fun place to visit, but you really don’t want to live here. At least, that’s my opinion as a homegrown Indiana native.

  • Arch Puddington

    I have family in Pasadena and Garden Grove, and used to have grandparents in Ventura. I’m with you; I wouldn’t live there for anything. But then I’m not a “big city/bright lights” kind of guy. I like Bloomington, and I love the beautiful countryside of southern Indiana. Just being from Indy makes Wilkes a big-city kid compared to me, and when you’re young, the apparent glamour of southern California can be pretty appealing.

    Hopefully he’s been watching Troy Williams’ story unfold. At least on paper, there is some similarity in their games. UCLA may or may not be a better place for him personally, but CTC would be better for him professionally.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    It was a good show. Surprised McSwain was in the 3pt contest. That boy cannot shoot a lick. Would have rather seen Davis in there. Davis looked massive. He looked bigger than Bryant but less mobile. It was 3’s for days as well.

  • I’m from Indy as well, and LA is still a whole other world. Want to live in a bigger city? Then Chicago or NYC are more in line. Anyhow, none of that matters, because it’s what a teenager sees, not a 50-year-old, and what he sees is sunny days, Hollywood, Disneyland, the ocean, and everything that goes along with those things. The glamour wears off quickly, but you don’t know that when you’re 18 years old. I wouldn’t have.

    As you say, hopefully it will come down to where he’ll develop the most as a player, which tradition he respects the most, etc.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Several clients of mine live in LA Canada. Lost their house to the fire several years ago. They’re still fighting the insurance company for the settlement in order to rebuild.

  • Yep. Fires, Santa Ann winds, traffic, crime, smog, ever-present potential for massive earthquake, fake and unkind populace… Lots not to like about the Los Angeles area.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That is funny! From what I understand, you never want to tell anyone you are not originally from the LA area.

  • Yeah, people look at you like you’re from Mars.

  • kaponya44

    That is one way to look at it with McSwain…I’m not surprised with his inclusion in the 3pt contest, even if it is was just Crean letting him do it to be more involved .McSwain seemed destined for the dunk contest so reading between the lines one would think whatever the decision to leave him out of it was based upon it was also a factor in his unimpressive shooting….His explosiveness when he set his feet and went up looked noticeably a lot less than what it is in his vids and being behind on conditioning was already mostly expected after his late arrival on campus.My point is it is probably all tied together somehow.

  • SCHoosier

    Hope its not true but a reputable site today reported that a “Duke insider” with knowledge of the Wilkes recruitment said “The Bruins think Wilkes is a done deal for them.” Go figure.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Is it a concern that Romeo Langford was not there or is it too early?

  • Arch Puddington

    If he were inclined to commit to IU, it seems like he would have done so. As C&C noted, he’s been here more than enough to know what he has waiting for him. It seems not to have been enough. Hopefully appearances are deceptive in this case.

  • Sam Bam

    To the Hoosiers, I get the feeling Preston will be a Trojan. He’s been favoring us for a while, but I also can’t be sure since we are not a basketball power. What is the feeling around here with you guys landing Preston?

  • Sam Bam

    I hope the Hoosiers can steal one from the Ruins.

  • Sam Bam

    I really hope the Hoosiers can come away with Wilkes. You would be doing SC a big favor, but I really don’t think it matters much with these kids and Los Angeles. I hate to say it, but UCLA has a great campus and surrounding of the school and they were able to pull players like Tony Parker from Georgia and Kevin Looney from Milwaukee to play there. Wilkes is looking like the missing piece from there current class. I’d much rather see him playing for Indiana then SUCLA.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Everything that I’ve read and heard about Romeo Langford’s recruitment is that he has always wanted to go to Duke and he’ll be a Blue Devil barring a major change of heart.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I certainly don’t think IU would be considered a leader for Preston. I’m sure he enjoyed his visit and I’m sure he likes the coaching staff and loves the idea of playing at Indiana but I doubt he ends up at IU and I won’t be particularly distraught by it. He’s been to a number of different high schools and whoever lands him will need to worry about his eligibility. He’s a tremendous prospect and would be a terrific addition to any roster though.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I’m surprised that no one is talking about De’ron Davis. The kid was like a book-end to Thomas Bryant – one that blocks shots. He’s intelligent and has a wonderful attitude. I’m lovin’ most everything I saw from these young Hoosiers, including Devonte Green’s performance, and Thomas’ outside shot, but I’m especially excited about our 5 appears to be rock-solid for the few years.

  • Sam Bam

    Recruiting is not an easy source for SC basketball fans since we are still trying to become a household name. His mother has known assistant coach Tony Bland since they were 14 years old and Kansas and Syracuse feel he wants to stay home on the west. Hopefully he stays eligible long enough for his freshman season anything longer would be a bonus since he may be a one and done. We’re more surprised that Arizona fell out on him.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Ok. I missed that. Bummer for IU.

  • Outoftheloop

    Does anyone on this site really know Billy Preston? He is our highest rated recruit; we are the strongest program going after him right now; he attended our HH, the main event at Indiana; etc. so why no big hype and rampant speculation?

  • Outoftheloop

    You forgot Smith! He is a great talent!