Hoosiers’ 1987 team returns to Assembly Hall

They were all sporting more gray hairs than they were the last time they were in Assembly Hall. And most of them were carrying some extra pounds.

But that was the fun of it all. They got to find out how each other had changed and how they’d stayed the same. How they’d become adults and fathers and coaches and business owners and insurance salesman and still maintained a part of what they were on that night in New Orleans in 1987.

Indiana’s national championship basketball team from that season met Saturday night and then went to Cook Hall and Assembly Hall early Sunday as part of their reunion weekend. Even before Indiana’s 4:30 p.m. game against Stetson, it had already lived up to everything they’d hoped it would be.

“It has been a blast,” former forward Daryl Thomas said. “It’s really fun being able to get back with these guys and reminisce about the times when we were here and the things we talked about and the way we played and the stories with Coach Knight. It’s really refreshing seeing all these guys doing really well and in good health. I’m having the time of my life right now.”

Most of the group got in Saturday and spent much of the evening at Nick’s, then moved around to some other downtown bars. There was some discussion of basketball, they said, but most of it was about finding out what each had done with the years since.

“It was wonderful to see everybody and reminisce and talk to everybody and relieve that magical season that we had,” former swingman Rick Calloway said. “It’s been wonderful … We talked basketball, we’re just laughing about stuff during the season. Do you remember that game with such and such? Do you remember when so and so got in trouble. Just talking about the whole year. It’s been wonderful to talk to everybody, hearing the stories about what they’re doing, their family life. Life after basketball. It’s been wonderful just to find out what everybody’s doing.”

Sunday before the game was mostly spent touring the facilities, they said. They were happy to see Assembly Hall still standing, but they were equally impressed by Cook Hall. They also watched practice in the morning and spoke to coach Tom Crean.

“He fired us up,” Keith Smart said. “I think we wanted to go out and play even more than the team today.”

 

The story on the 1987 team from today’s paper.

AUDIO: Rick Calloway

AUDIO: Keith Smart

AUDIO: Steve Alford

AUDIO: Daryl Thomas