The doors to Assembly Hall were closed to the public a little after 5:30 p.m. Saturday night, well ahead of the scheduled 7 o’clock start. It was an outcome surprising, exciting and disappointing all in one for Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean.
“As happy as I am that everybody was here that was able to get in, I also feel for the people that weren’t,” he said. “I don’t think any of us could have envisioned it was going to move that fast today. I was just hoping for a packed house, not one where people were turned away an hour and a half before the thing really tipped off.”
Cody Zeller displayed the improved range he might employ this season by winning the 3-point contest, though in the Red-White scrimmage, his 16 points came via the usual variety of post moves, layups, dunks and free throws.
“I worked on it a lot this summer,” Zeller said of his shooting. “I shot 3s in high school a little bit. I know I have to shoot outside more this year, make it tough for teams to double team me.”
Crean said seeing more of Zeller shooting the 3 was a possibility.
“Maybe … Cody has a really nice stroke. He did last year,” Crean said. “I think he’ll continue to do more this year, and we’re excited about his improvement, because it’s all over the court.”
Sheehey, Perea sidelined
Victor Oladipo won the dunk contest, though it would’ve surely been more interesting if Will Sheehey and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were participating. But both were limited to spectator status due to injury.
Sheehey took what Crean called a “shot to the ankle” earlier this week and sat out despite limited participation in Saturday’s practice.
“It was better to hold him off,” Crean said. “… we don’t want anything to linger with him.”
Perea was back in the same walking boot that had him sidelined earlier this fall after what Crean termed a “flare up.”
“Hanner is in a situation where we’re going to hold him out for a little while, too, just be very precautionary,” Crean said. “We don’t really want to have any issues with that, so we’re going to take a little time with him. He has really impacted practice. Now he’s just got to get those mental reps and continue to learn. I think we’ll be able to do more with him than we were able to do when he was completely out, but we’re going to hold him off for a while.”
Yogi a hit
Crean had nothing but positive things to say about freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, who displayed his speed, passing and even shooting range in the scrimmage.
“Yogi is a special player,” Crean said. “We knew that when we recruited him, and he’s done nothing to make us believe anything less than that in the time he’s been here. He continues to get better. He’s a very hard-nosed young man, his energy is very good.
“It’s early, we’re only entering into our second week of practice. He’ll have his down days and things like that. But you saw it right there, he’s got a gift of vision, it’s incredible.
“He comes out and tries to get better at what he needs to do that’s new to him, maybe, and he really works at the defense every day. There’s no question if he continues down that road of improvement, he’s going to be an outstanding player here.”
Marlin catching on
Walk-on IPFW transfer Jonny Marlin (Center Grove) impressed with a second-place finish to Zeller in the 3-point contest, but his sharpshooting has yet to take into account the biggest, faster players he’s now facing.
“He hasn’t been as open in practice,” Crean said. “He’s an excellent shooter. And the next step will be adding strength to him this year where he can really get his shoot against some pressure, really get even better in the pick and roll and make his teammates better. It’s been great to have him here.”
Recruits on hand
All four 2013 IU commits — Devin Davis, Luke Fischer, Collin Hartman and Stanford Robinson — were on hand for the festivities Saturday, as was 2014 commit James Blackmon Jr., who also tweeted that IU offered his younger brother, 2016 guard Vijay Blackmon, on Saturday.
Other top targets in attendance included BeeJay Anya and Troy Williams in 2013, Jaquan Lyle and Trevon Bluiett in 2014, Hyron Edwards and Jalen Coleman in 2015 and Eron Gordon in 2016.
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