BLOOMINGTON – Victor Oladipo did a little singing, dancing and dunking.
Welcome to Hoosier Hysteria.
Fans were ready to see Indiana. An announced crowd of 16,100 jammed into Assembly Hall on Saturday night to see the unofficial tip off to the 2011-12 season.
"We practiced (Friday night). We practiced (Saturday) afternoon and then (Saturday night) was a night for the guys to enjoy themselves. But none of it would have been possible without the awesome crowd," IU coach Tom Crean told the audience after the event.
The large crowd left an impact on the players.
"I expected it to be packed," freshman guard Remy Abell said, "but not that packed."
One of the loudest ovations came for Maurice Creek, who will likely miss the season after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
"He definitely deserved it. He's a great kid. He's not saying 'Why me?' He's just trying to make the team better and trying to help us in practice," freshman forward Cody Zeller said. "He's trying to make the team better even though he's on crutches and can't play much. He's a team player."
The event featured just about everything.
Oladipo started the evening singing, backed up by six teammates as dancers.
"It was good. I liked it a lot too because I got to dance," freshman forward Austin Etherington said.
Etherington later won a shooting competition.
D.J. White and Eric Gordon returned to huge ovations. Both joined Calbert Cheaney (back as the director of operations/video coordination) and Tijan Jobe as judges in the slam dunk contest.
Will Sheehey and Oladipo were finalist in the dunk contest. Sheehey won in a dunk-off.
"It's hard to explain, but any time you see a crowd that big, it's a good feeling to know how many people back you up," Sheehey said.
Sheehey was active during the scrimmage.
"I was just working with the coaches to be more aggressive," Sheehey said.
The fans got their first look at Zeller, Abell and Etherington.
Zeller impressed with a stretch of a dunk, layup and another dunk during the scrimmage.
"It was a fun night overall. I think the players, the fans, everyone had fun," Zeller said. "I think that was the point of it. It was a good night.
"I kind of expected it. The Indiana fans are great. Whether it's Hoosier Hysteria or a Big Ten game, the fans are going to come out and give it their all."
The players are ready to put in the practice in preparation for the Nov. 11 opener against Stony Brook.
"It was good, very competitive," Zeller said of the first couple of practices. "We've got a lot of things to work on. We're building each day."