13. Ok, this one is just for fun but having such terrible luck for so long would only suggest that it would be fitting to bring home the hardware in the unluckiest of years, 2013.
12. Remy Abell and Derek Elston. Two guys who may seem to be overshadowed by the #movement but I think will step up their game tremendously this next year. Remy has potential to be one of the best defensive players in the conference and Elston's improved shooting could be key now with the uncertainty surrounding Matt Roth's future. Playing time is no longer given, it's earned.
11. Calbert Cheaney. Yes, an assistant coach is on this list. Cheaney has one of the most beautiful jump shots to ever hit Assembly Hall. But what makes him so valuable is how he's been able to teach today's IU players to shoot like him. When players like Victor Oladipo are hitting mid-range jumpers, you know they've been putting in work with Calbert.
10. "We run this state". The swagger is back among the Indiana faithful and it's shown on the court. Last year IU was 6-0 against other Indiana schools (one of those that shall not be named...*cough* Purdue *cough*). For decades IU was the premier program in the state and this 2013 team has its eyes on keeping that going.
9. Sheeladipo. Coach Crean finally realized towards the end of the season that Will and Victor play better together as opposed to spelling each other off of the bench. Don't be surprised to see both of them be in the starting lineup for game 1 next year.
8. New Era.
This season marks Crean's fifth year at the helm, meaning all of the players that he started with are gone. No disrespect to the Pritch and Tijan, but we've got some serious talent coming in this year. Long gone are the days of jokingly chanting, "Tijan Jobe!" as IU would be blown out by sub par competition (in '08 IU lost to both Northeastern and Lipscomb...who??)
7. Jordy Hulls.
The guy is an absolute gamer and the proven leader of the Hoosiers team. He may not need to score as much this next season, but just by having a guy on the floor who's been through it all will serve us well as the season wears on. Not to mention he will be a great mentor for incoming point guard Yogi Ferrell (who's jersey I will be wearing on the reg).
6. "Watford for the win, YES!". Consider this my plea to Christian Watford to stay for his senior year. Hoosier Nation loves you and we need you to make a run this next year. Plus, another year of droppin' bombs like you did against UK will only help your draft stock...I honestly don't see any way @IUCwat205 will decide between now and April 10 (the NBA Draft declaration deadline) to leave B-Town for the NBA. One more year!!
5. ESPN. We've already gotten the pre-season ESPN bump by Andy Katz who has us at #1 for next year and don't be surprised if College Gameday makes a few stops to Bloomington next year. The bigger the stage, the louder the fans, and the more the team steps up. Last year IU showed that we could play in the biggest of games and the increased media coverage will only help continue a great atmospheres in Assembly Hall.
Thank you Don Fischer for this call...
Called the "Carnegie Hall of College Basketball" by our beloved Gus Johnson, this place goes absolutely nuts for IU basketball. If you were one of the privileged few to be in attendance at the IU/UK game this year (like I was) you know what I'm talking about. Dicky V is not a quiet man by any standards but even he felt the need to yell (louder than usual) just so his partner Dan Schulman could hear him. The bar has been set, and I'm confident that Hoosier Hysteria will be in full swing again next year. Get your tickets soon because I guarantee they'll be gone much faster this year.
3. Maurice Creek. I know this is going out on a limb, but you better believe that if Mo Creek is healthy, the college basketball community is going to notice. People forget that he put up 31...AS A FRESHMAN on UK a few years back. He's been working hard all off season and can't wait to be back on the court. It would be such a great story to see him overcome all his injuries and be the player that we all know he can be. We're pulling for you Mo!
2. #TheMovement. Ah yes, now we get to the good stuff. The currently #9 rated recruiting class stars: PG Yogi Ferrell, SG Ron Patterson, SF Jeremy Hollowell, PF Hanner Perea, and C Peter Jurkin, 3 of which are ESPN top 100 recruits. It's almost funny to me that this class is such a big deal...this is Indiana, we have this type of talent come in almost every year. The only reason we've been down is because of recruiting sanctions from Kelvin Sampson. This year's class is bringing IU back to where we need to be to compete for national championships, and the talent will only get better in years to come.
1. The Big Handsome: Cody Zeller. I kid you not, had Cody gotten the ball as much as he should have this past year we would be talking about how he averaged 25 points per game instead of the 15 that he actually did. I just can't get the screaming Dick Vitale out of my head who just couldn't believe why we, "don't give him the ball, baby!?" during the second half of the UK game. You've got me on that one Dicky V. I have no doubt that Crean will look at this year's tape and realize how much potential Cody has for much more production, don't be surprised if he wins player of the year next year, he's that good. To be able to come in with all of Hoosier Nation proclaiming you the "Messiah of IU basketball" and deliverer, as a freshman speaks volumes of his character and ability. Stay handsome, Cody, stay handsome.
"One banner, two banner, three banner, four, five banner, six banner"...how many more?
Props to Brice Fox and Daniel Weber as always for this song and video.