With the lights dimmed and various graphics flashing on the floor, the 2018 IU men’s basketball team was introduced to fans for the first time in the 2018-2019 season.
Starting with the freshmen, the IU public address announcer read off the names of each of IU's youthful group. As the first four names were read, cheers engulfed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Then the final freshman was introduced.
The screams and shouts were so loud that his name was drowned out by the noise. Sporting a white band on his right wrist and a rolled down, red shooting sleeve on his left, Romeo Langford entered the court in an IU jersey for the first time.
Saturday afternoon, Langford and the rest of the IU men’s basketball team kicked off the 2018 season with Hoosier Hysteria.
“It never gets old,” Coach Archie Miller said to the crowd as the lights flipped on. “Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, with all these people in here, it gets everybody. Gets the blood boiling.”
The annual event, which serves as much as a recruiting day as it does actual competitive basketball, offered onlookers their first glimpse at what this year’s squad will look like.
In his opening address, Miller posited to the crowd that he wanted Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall to be as difficult a place for opponents to play as there is in college basketball for opponents.
“We need this home floor to be as dominant of a building to play in for our opponent as it can be,” Miller said. “We’re going to need you every single night to be able to give us a chance."
As for the scrimmage, Saint Mary's College of California graduate transfer Evan Fitzner demonstrated why Miller brought him to Bloomington as he knocked down two threes on the day.
Backup sophomore point guard Al Durham was also impressive in the short contest. After flicking a pass to redshirt freshman Race Thompson, who converted an alley-oop, Durham drained a tightly contested three pointer from the wing, showing his offensive versatility.
The highly praised Langford was quiet in the game, scoring just one basket on a teardrop floater.
Beyond the scrimmage, the Hoosiers joined with the women’s team for a three-point contest. Juwan Morgan and partner Brenna Wise knocked down 20 combined shots in the final round to vanquish the teams of Evan Fitzner and Grace Withrow, and Damezi Anderson and Jaelynn Penn.
In the dunk contest, Langford took home the title thanks to a crowd vote after he finished a spinning tip-dunk in the final round.
Saturday aside, IU opens their actual campaign against Chicago State on Nov. 6 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
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