Before a big crowd, Indiana men’s and women’s basketball kicked off their 2022-23 seasons with vigor.
The lower bowl at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall was nearly full for this year’s Hoosier Hysteria. The teams and coaches were introduced, with walkout songs, t-shirt tosses, and some dance moves. The players competed in a few competitions — Chloe Moore-McNeil and Miller Kopp teamed up to win the 3-point contest, and Mackenzie Holmes, Race Thompson, and alum Collin Hartman won the skills competition.
Here are some things that stood out from the festivities.
Woodson pumps up fans
IU’s head men’s basketball coach addressed the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall crowd after he, his staff, and his team were individually introduced. Woodson and his family rode on to the floor in a convertible, decked out in camouflage and IU decorations.
He forecasted big things on the horizon — asked what’s next after getting IU back to the NCAA Tournament last season, he said “A Big Ten title and a national title.”
Woodson spoke highly of Trayce Jackson-Davis, calling him “the final piece” and thanking him for returning. He acknowledged the team’s tougher schedule this year, saying his team will be up for the challenge.
But the biggest attention-grabber was his last comment, talking about why he chose Indiana. He recalled going through his college experience with his wife, Terri, and being close enough to regularly see his family. But perhaps above all, it was the allure of the program that drew him in.
“As a kid growing up, all I knew was Indiana basketball. And Bob Knight made it so easy for me to make the commitment,” Woodson said. “Indiana basketball, excuse my language, is the shit.”
Moren previews big season
The women’s team came out before the men’s team, and Teri Moren rode in a convertible and talked to the crowd before Woodson did.
Moren rattled off her program’s recent accomplishments, reaching Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight — and said a Final Four is next, and that the team craves a national championship banner. She spoke of integrating the many new faces into the team’s style of play, and the importance of All-Americans Holmes and Grace Berger.
And Moren talked about how big of a deal basketball is in the state of Indiana.
“I always tell recruits, we eat, we drink, we sleep basketball. If you’re going to come and be a part of this great university and you’re going to be a part of what we’re doing in both men’s and women’s basketball, you better be a die-hard basketball fan,” Moren said. “This place is special. I think Woody would attest to that, he played here for coach Knight. There’s just something so special about Bloomington and Indiana and being a basketball fan, being a basketball player, and being a basketball coach. It just means more.”
Anthony Leal in a walking boot
The junior guard was present, with an introduction just like everyone else. But he wasn’t participating in either of the competitions, nor the men’s team scrimmage at the end, as he sported a walking boot on his right foot.
Players wear walking boots throughout the season at times, even if they’re not seriously injured, so this doesn’t necessarily indicate anything major. But it’s at least noteworthy that he wasn’t participating.
Everyone else from the men’s team played in the scrimmage, and Leal was the only player noticeably sporting a brace or boot of any sort.
The scrimmage lasted just six minutes, and players were certainly not going a full 100 percent. Three highlights included dunks by Jalen Hood-Schifino and Xavier Johnson, and an alley-oop from Hood-Schifino to Jackson-Davis.
A few unannounced guests spiced up the evening.
First, the crew from FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff show came on the floor while both teams warmed up before the 3-point and skills competitions. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Brady Quinn put up some 3-pointers and tossed some tee shirts and footballs into the crowd, and Bush and Quinn addressed the crowd a bit. Quinn also pretty directly pitched to recruits in attendance to come to Indiana.
Brady Quinn makes a recruiting pitch directly to recruits. "You aren't going to see anything like this across Big Ten country, I can tell you that." #iubb
— Seth Tow (@SethTow) October 7, 2022
And then, after the competitions and before the scrimmage, a video message from Snoop Dogg played on the video boards.
“What up, fellas, this is coach Snoop, just sending you all some love and some wisdom,” he said. “You all stay together, stay a team, stay afoot of the direction of coach Mike Woodson. This is Big Snoop Dogg, A.K.A. The Doggfather. IU! Let’s go!”
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”