IU raises Big Ten title banner at Hoosier Hysteria

Hoosier Hysteria was the first opportunity to see what the young and very unfamiliar 2013-14 Indiana basketball team will look like, but in many ways the event itself was still a celebration of what the 2012-13 team accomplished.

The most prominent example was, of course, the banner. The number 2013 was stitched into the banner on the North side of the arena on which all of the Big Ten championships are noted, but last year’s title also got its own banner unlike most of the rest of those. It was raised above the basket on the north side of the court, stationed nearly as high on the flags on the south side.

Indiana coach Tom Crean took the mic and told a mostly filled Assembly Hall that the banner would take a similar place in Indiana’s history to the 1983 Big Ten title banner, which then-coach Bob Knight singled out and called “The Fan’s Banner.” The reason, he said, was that so much had to be done to help the program rebound from 2008, when the program imploded under the weight of the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal.

“That was really big,” Crean said after the event. “…That was a moving moment. There’s no question about that. When you come in here every day like we have and like I have every day since April 2, 2008 and you look at those banners, there’s no question you want to be a part of raising one of your own in the program. It felt great. It felt great to be able to share it at a night like this when so many people that were here through all those days when it didn’t look like we’d get a banner, they were here to share in it too. I just wish all of the players that had worked over the last five years could’ve worked to see it live.”

Some of their families were in attendance, though, and the event was constructed to make sure their presence was felt. All-American’s Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller — wearing their new Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats jerseys respectively — were featured in video-taped interviews about their Indiana days on video board. There was a comic-book themed highlight reel of some of last season’s biggest wins. Crean asked for ovations for not only Oladipo and Zeller, but also Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston, who are playing professionally in Israel, Poland and Malta respectively.

Zeller’s parents Steve and Lorri were even in attendance and were chosen to be judges for the dunk contest, getting a standing ovation when their names were announced.

“It was their idea to come, it was my idea to have them being the judges,” Crean said. “That was a cool moment. … It kind of shows the kind of legacy Cody is going to carry at Indiana.”

This year’s new team had its share of cool moments in its introduction, though injuries kept the fans from getting to know all of the members. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh, the gem of IU’s 2013 recruiting class and the No. 8 ranked player nationally, sat out the scrimmage with a minor ankle injury, which might keep him out of practice for the weekend. Freshman swingman Troy Williams was also out with a hand injury and freshman center Luke Fischer was out with a separated shoulder. Freshman guard Stanford Robinson played, but went down with an injury with 4.6 seconds to go in the scrimmage.

“The early thought from in there would be that it’s a (bruised knee),” Crean said. “I say that hopefully. I say that as what was said in there. Looked like everything was in tact. I hope that that’s what it continues to be.”

The various contests and the scrimmage showed reasons for Indiana optimism for the new squad. Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell, who shot just 30.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc last year, won the 3-point contest. Freshman forward Devin Davis won the dunk contest with a one-hand windmill off a lob to himself, besting sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea who had an array of impressive dunks and seemed generally more coordinated than he did a year ago. Senior swingman Will Sheehey scored 14 points in the scrimmage, leading the Red team on a comeback to a 40-28 win over the White squad in about a half of play.

But Crean still openly admits that the youth of this team will be an issue. The Hoosiers lost four starters and seven scholarship players and replaced them with six true freshmen and a senior transfer in Evan Gordon.

“There’s going to be some really hard days, and there’s gonna be some good days,” Crean said. “It is a young team. … Everybody on this team has had flashes in the first week, and everyone on this team has had segments where they’re not going on a highlight tape, they’re going on a lowlight tape. That’s just what it is. We’re going to have days like that.”

Crean made a point to differentiate this team’s challenges from that of the 2008-09 team that finished 6-25. This group is significantly more talented with back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes making up most of the roster.

But still, after a Big Ten title and back-to-back Sweet 16s, it feels like starting over.

“You’ve got six freshman and a couple of walk-ons, and (sophomores) Jeremy (Hollowell), Hanner and Peter (Jurkin) are like freshmen. … It’s really like having a brand new team with the exception of Yogi and the exception of Will. There’s no question that there’s talent. … It’s just going to take time for that to mesh.”

9 comments

  1. “It kind of shows the kind of legacy Cody is going to carry at Indiana”.

    cody’s “legacy” at Indiana is one of gifted underachievement. for all his talent, all he accomplished is the bare minimum. some nice wins and a big 10 championship, sure. nothing historical. nothing of legacy. if cody wanted to leave a legacy at Indiana and be forever remembered as the player who brought iu to the promised land, he needed to come back and finish the job. a national title or a couple of final four appearances would have cemented his place in Indiana lore. it’s what all us fans hoped for. what we expected.

    instead, zeller decided he’d rather be rich right now. he couldn’t wait two years to get paid. money is more important to him than taking iu back to the top of the basketball world. so be it. a real sweet kid, but just another good player at iu. nothing more. if he left any “legacy”, it is one of great disappointment.

  2. Coachv, while I don’t completely disagree with you, I definitely believe that a B1G title is more than the bare minimum…. It hadn’t happened in 20 years.

  3. Good point, Coach V!

    But you can’t blame Cody for going given the money and risks.

    Heroes in the old style are hard to find.

    And what he did for IU wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t epic by classic hero standards.

    But one can understand it — and Crean’s motivation for trying to stretch it to heroic.

    For Crean now Cody and Vic are recruiting calling cards. They’re his response to recruits who want to “go see Cal” or Beilein or Alford or Thad.

    Crean’s other calling card is his positivity. He is relentlessly positive and that’s a good place to be as a coach and a person. And it seems to be a real and genuine part of his nature.

    So look to Crean to accent the positive. He’s doing that here.

    Your point is valid.

    But an old style hero is hard to find.

    To use a beer analogy, today’s hero, by old standards, is often a “hero lite.”

  4. Wow…Geoff agrees. Yippee.

    I’ve only been saying the same thing for six months. Should I re-post the dozens of times I mentioned job unaccomplished and any “going home” parties was an insult to our intelligence. Zeller went home to North Carolina(where he should have signed in the first place…where he played us like a fiddle until making himself the hero on signing day). And that’s where it ends. And all references to “going home” parties should have only been metaphors to reference bringing “elite” status back to Bloomington, making catchy slogans terms “everything hinges on Zeller” stick… and a hoisting the banner they had the returning potential to to bring back to Indiana(after nearly a 30 year drought since the last championship). There will be no reunions in 25 years that will feature Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo. We’ll likely still be calling Alford back in 2037 and he’ll still have his perfect brillo pad hair and three championship banners at UCLA.

    Now you agree. Hilarious…simply hilarious. And good post, coachv. Very original. It was so very sweet with the “sweet kid” reference. I have a feeling he’d been sweeter for Coach Williams…banner sweet.

    Cone on, Hoosier Football!! One more half!

  5. And the Big 10 title was an accomplishment.

    But the mindset that team, and the writing on the wall that the the two expected NBA top draft picks were already packing their bags for the pros, was the cutting down of the nets when only a tie had been secured. One of the strangest ceremonies in the history of McCracken. Almost as strange as hoisting that Big 10 banner in front of the five NCAA championships. This man we have at the helm is nothing more than a ticket-puncher for NBA wannabees. His entire sales pitch is the same as Calipari….”If you have the gifts, I’ll do everything to get you into the NBA.” Because it’s Indiana? My butt. What in the hell does Indiana have to do with any of it? What in the hell does Indiana have to do with making millions after a couple years of college? There are no goals that have anything to do with the jersey. The jersey is about as important the reasons Terrence Jones decommits from U of Washington and decides to play for John Calipari….Just another NBA camp. Just another place where the coach will fulfill all his promises to “you” instead of building a team and building reasons the jersey means more than a scrimmage of shirts vs. skins.

  6. My stance has never changed on the topic Harvard.

    Your posts are like a congressional bill… Full of pork. So while you may make a valid point in the beginning you usually meander and find ways to bring in parts of your platform that shouldn’t have any part of the current post. So instead of extolling the virtues of passing a road and bridge improvement bill I find myself scratching my head over how a tax break for law firms over 50 employees ended up in there….

  7. Harvard, a correction: the 2013 banner was raised in the north end of AH, in front of the other B1G championship banners, not in the south end in front of the 5 NCAA championships. Don’t let facts stop you from a perfectly meaningless rant.

  8. My take on its location came from LiveChat and ScoopTalk(Dustin and Jeremy pointed their laptop at the banner). Don’t worry, I understood perfectly. The symbolism was way over the top; a position that was easily perceived to be shared by those that were their reporting.

    It was a significant accomplishment, no doubt. If it was a Purdue ceremony, the only difference would be a parade through cement city with Crean as majorette. ..a float sponsored by Banana Boat spray-on tan featuring Bob Knight on a cross would be dragged from a rope tied around Crean’s waste. Glass would arrange for fireworks to be shot out Crean’s butt. Joyce Meyer would be parade queen…A reenactment tribute would also be held featuring the IU Department of Theatre performing the first act of the new hit musical, “The Movement.” Fee Lane would be renamed to ‘Sweet 16 Avenue.’ The portion of 17th Street passing in front of Assembly would be christened ‘Because Boulevard’…Good grief.

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