Hoosier Hysteria highlights

The Indiana basketball season opened to the public on Saturday night with the annual Hoosier Hysteria even at Assembly Hall. Here are a few nuggets of news and notes from the event. See more in Sunday’s Herald-Times.

• Freshman Thomas Bryant did nothing to minimize the considerable hype surrounding the 6-foot-10 newcomer, scoring 13 points to team with Yogi Ferrell in leading the Cream to a 35-28 win over the Crimson in the scrimmage. He also drew the loudest applause of any player not named Ferrell during player introductions and displayed some of his energy with a dance routine to “Jump On It.”

Bryant was sidelined with a sore arch after the team’s second practice of the season, but Indiana coach Tom Crean said Bryant has now participated in seven full practices now and that the time off was strictly precautionary.

“We went on the high end of caution, I think,” Crean said. “We’re still there. He still wears a boot. I didn’t make a decision on (Bryant participating in) the dunk contest until really late this afternoon. Not that he couldn’t do it, but just you don’t want to put undue (stress). He’s definitely healing. We’re just trying to make sure we’re extremely precautionary with him.

“Then he got sick too last weekend, which set him back. He missed probably three practices with strep throat. There’s times I can see he hasn’t been out there very long, but when people come in and see him, maybe a little bit tonight, not a lot of people know he’s missed that much time. He’ll get better and better.”

Beyond the points, Bryant knows his energy can be one of his biggest contributions to the Hoosiers.

“It can bring a lot to the team,” he said. “Having that passion, that drive I always have, even when we’re in droughts of not making shots or miss a couple defensive possessions, always got to keep that positive attitude out there and that brings the team the long way.”

• Troy Williams pulled off the first-ever Hoosier Hysteria sweep of the dunk and 3-point contests, the latter being the most surprising. Williams tied with Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft in the opening round of the men’s 3-point contest at 16, then the three tied again in the finals at 13. That gave women’s 3-point champ Tyra Buss the opportunity to pick her opponent for the overall championship, and she chose Williams in hopes of a slightly easier win. It didn’t pan out though, as Williams outscored Buss 18-14 for the title. In addition, Williams scored nine points to lead the Crimson, including a made 3-pointer, which bodes well for his progress.

“Did you see him shoot last year? It’s a big improvement,” Crean said. “He’s worked very hard at it. It’s important that it’s a weapon, not a necessity. He’s still an attack guy, he’s a mover, he’s a cutter. He’s getting much better with the ball, getting much better defensively. Our whole key is you really can’t sag off of anybody, and that’s what we have to have as a team. Last year, teams could forget about (Troy) on the perimeter a little bit. They couldn’t forget about him cutting to the basket, but they could game plan around his perimeter shooting. I think that will be very hard for people to do this year if he continues to work hard on it like he has.”

• Junior Collin Hartman suffered a rib injury that Crean initially said would sideline him for some time during Big Ten Media Day. On Saturday night, Crean said that Hartman had been participating in some shooting the past two days and even some five-on-zero work Saturday. He then offered an optimistic, though not specific update on Hartman, who shot the ball in the 3-point contest but did not participate in the scrimmage.

“I don’t want to predict, because everybody heals differently, but I wouldn’t expect him in the next week,” Crean said. “I’d say it would be some time after that. That’s a guessing game but best guess. It’s got to heal.”

• Indiana is expected to host its annual Haunted Hall of Hoops next Saturday, Oct. 31. Details will be announced this week. In addition to the likely scrimmage at that event, it is possible the Hoosiers will host another public scrimmage at some point before the exhibition opener on Nov. 3.

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