It's officially basketball season in Bloomington, which is a very good thing considering the football team dropped its fourth consecutive game and fell to 4-4 on Saturday.
Hoosier Hysteria came and went on Saturday night without any real significant news, and with a fan event like this, no news is always good news. Nobody was injured, every player participated in at least one event, and the event moved much more quickly than it has in years past.
Here are the five biggest things you need to know from Hoosier Hysteria.
1. Thomas Bryant is healthy: The freshman center and McDonald's All-American was full go and moved well on Saturday, a great sign for Indiana fans everywhere. Bryant missed more than a week of practice with an arch injury in his foot, but Indiana coach Tom Crean told the Assembly Hall crowd that Saturday was Bryant's 7th practice of the year. That means Bryant was good to go for most of last week.
Bryant stole the show early with his enthusatic dance to "Jump On It" during the player introductions. He introduced himself to IU fans by showing off the infectious personality that Hoosier Nation will surely love. Bryant closed the night by leading all scorers in the intrasquad scrimmage. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal in the Red Team's 35-28 win over the White Team. Yogi Ferrell will find much more success running the pick and roll with Bryant than he ever did with Hanner Mosquera-Perea.
"He's a very willing learning and he's got a great personality. I think everybody saw that," Crean said afterward. "He's got an infectious energy. The best thing you can say about him is you knew every day that he wasn't in there, and we have some verterans on this team. And we certainly knew when he got back in there.
"He's a sponge, he wants to get better. He's not afraid to ask questions. He has come in with a tremendous humility. You combine that with the upside he has and the energy that he has and the fact that he’s a few months into being 18 years of age ... he’s got a great future.”
Without Emmitt Holt, Devin Davis and Mosquera-Perea, Bryant will have to play heavy minutes as a freshman for the Hoosiers. After seeing him in live action on Saturday night, I think he's capable of handling that kind of work load.
2. Troy Williams -- the 3-point champ!?: If Las Vegas put odds on Indiana's dunk contest, you could have won a nice chunk of change by picking Troy Williams. Williams, who would rank below most players on the Indiana roster in terms of perimeter shooting ability, won the overall 3-point contest by beating the Tyra Buss of the women's team, 18-14. Williams tied with Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft in two consecutive rounds on the men's side, so the organizers decided to end with a three-way tie and let Buss choose who she would compete against in the final.
Any reasonable person would choose to shoot against Williams over Ferrell and Zeisloft, and Buss did just that. All Williams did was post the highest score of the entire competition to claim the crown.
Williams' shooting form looked significantly better than it has in the past, but it's difficult to judge just how much better he is by watching just one event. If Williams shoots more than two or three 3s per game this season, that's too many.
You wouldn't have won much money betting on Williams to win the slam dunk contest, but he took home that title, too, becoming the first IU player to ever win both contests in a single Hoosier Hysteria. The dunks seemed less creative than in years past, but Williams was the clear winner. Surprisingly, it's the first time in his career he's won the dunk contest.
After the event, host Catt Sadler asked Williams what he ate for breakfast.
"I don't eat breakfast," Williams replied. "[I'm a] thoroughbred."
Williams was also impressive in the scrimmage, though in a losing effort. On several occassions, he raced up the floor as the point guard and either scored or was fouled before the defense knew what happened. He had 9 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks, a rebound and a steal in the 35-28 loss.
3. Robert Johnson's vision: Sophomore Robert Johnson spent much of his offseason working on his point guard skills so he can play on the ball even more this year, and he showed significant progress during Saturday's scrimmage. Johnson had three assists, but made several other great passes that led to misses. Johnson's quickness and ball handling have also improved, and he makes quick decisions with the ball instead of overdribbling. I like him as a backup point guard option more than I like James Blackmon Jr., and I wouldn't be surprised if Crean opted to move Yogi Ferrell off the ball more ofthen this year.
4. Teaching player responsibility: It's clear that Crean is determined to make sure each and every one of his players knows what it means to play at Indiana, especially after Indiana's off-court turmoil last year. Crean has spoken at length about the history and tradition of Indiana basketball ever since his introductory press conference, but now he seems to be speaking more about those things in private discussions with his team than in public press conferences with the media.
Before the Indiana players were introduced on Saturday night, IU ran a video on the scoreboard that featured the Hoosiers answering this question: "What responsibility do you feel you have as a basketball player at Indiana?" Young people oftentimes too easily forget the tradition established by those that came well before them, but it's becoming quite evident that Crean and his staff will not allow this team to forget again.
5. Scrimmage stats: Hoosier Hysteria is a fun fan event, but the intrasquad scrimmage actually taught us something about the team. For the first time, we got a look at this Indiana team in a live situation. Here are the statistics from that scrimmage:
Yogi Ferrell- 4 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists
Tim Priller - 3 points
Robert Johnson - 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
O.G. Anunoby - 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Ryan Burton - 5 rebounds
Thomas Bryant - 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal
James Blackmon - 6 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal
Nick Zeisloft - 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Troy Williams - 9 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 rebound
Max Bielfeldt - 7 points, 1 rebound
Juwan Morgan - 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal