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Reality sets in as IU basketball season approaches

Things were different at this year’s Hoosier Hysteria — very different.

Gone were the showers of cheers and hope for the future of Indiana basketball. They were replaced with the reality of this season’s team and the expectations they carry with them.

Right off the bat, when IU Head Coach Archie Miller addressed the crowd, one of the first things he said was how much he yearned for home court advantage to be a strength for this year’s team. He knows having one of the best home-court advantages in the nation will be crucial to the Hoosiers’ success.

Assembly Hall was scattered with red, empty seats multiple times last season, and understandably so. The team failed to execute on a consistent basis, and the Hoosiers dropped some games they shouldn’t have, especially at home. Those days are gone.

Indiana got its man in freshman guard Romeo Langford, and they added multiple quality assets to back him up. From four-star forward Jerome Hunter to graduate transfer Evan Fitzner, this Indiana team has something it hasn’t had since the 2015-16 season — a little bit of everything.

IU will have a go-to scorer in Langford, a consistent shooter to hit big shots at the right times in Fitzner, and a proven leader in senior forward Juwan Morgan. It seems like every piece is fitting together for an experienced squad with lofty expectations.

Sure, getting commitments from five-star recruits Trayce Jackson-Davis and Keion Brooks would be nice down the road, but right now the main focus is this year’s team and what they are capable of.

There were times last season where IU needed a big bucket to change the momentum of games, and they never came. Robert Johnson and junior guard Devonte Green tried desperately to fill that void when IU needed them, but they failed more times than not.

So, Miller brought in Fitzner to change that. Need a big three to extend a lead, or just need a bucket to change the tide? Fitzner’s your guy. Need someone to get to the hoop and make a big play to get the crowd on its feet? Langford, Morgan and Justin Smith will be the main men to do it.

Fitzner put his clip on display multiple times throughout the afternoon. From hitting 10 or 15 three-pointers in the second round of the three-point shooting contest to knocking down more from behind the arc in the Cream vs. Crimson scrimmage.

Langford got to the basket at will during the scrimmage, and Morgan looked like his normal self from last season. Players weren’t going 100 percent during the scrimmage, understandably so, but there were flashes of what could come throughout the season.

Green and sophomore guard Al Durham showed positive signs of improvement during the scrimmage. Durham was getting to the basket a bit easier than usual, and his vision looked much improved as well. Prime examples of this were when he threw a lob to freshman forward Race Thompson, and when he found Morgan and junior guard Johnny Jager wide open on the three-point line.

Only time will tell if these Hoosiers are up to the task of meeting high expectations, but one thing’s for certain — they look ready.


  • Justin Smith still has bounce. The sophomore forward put it on display multiple times during the slam dunk contest, which almost saw him dunk from the free throw line.

  • Evan Fitzner hit 10 of 15 three’s in the second round of the three-point shooting contest. He also hit six of them in a row at one point.

  • Juwan Morgan had a good showing at the three-point contest, too. He had a consistent rhythm about him, and he ended up winning it all.

  • Race Thompson’s first points in the Cream and Crimson scrimmage came off an alley-oop assisted by Al Durham.

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