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Hoosiers 'scary' good in Halloween scrimmage

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For more on Indiana athletics, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter @pdiprimio.

Nation's No. 37 player commits to Indiana

Monday, October 29, 2012 - 12:01 am

BLOOMINGTON -- Yogi to Cody for a dunk.

Get used to hearing it.

Will Sheehey draining pull-up jumpers.

Expect to see that a lot.

Victor Oladipo thriving all over the court.

You know all about that.

Oh, yes. Indiana basketball figures to feature plenty of dunks and blocks.

Sunday's Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage showed signs of what the Hoosiers will unleash, starting with Thursday's exhibition game against Indiana Wesleyan and then the Nov. 9 season opener against Bryant.

What Sunday didn't show was the off-the-court news that top-40 forward Troy Williams of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia committed to the Hoosiers for the Class of 2013. The 6-6 Williams is rated as the nation's No. 9 small forward, No. 37 player overall, by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service. Williams, who picked IU over North Carolina, will be the highest rated player in the class.

IU coach Tom Crean made a big impression when he flew from Thursday's Big Ten Media Day in Chicago to watch Oak Hill scrimmage Hargrave Military in Virginia. That came a few days after Williams was wowed by Hoosier Hysteria.

Last summer the Hoosiers were a long shot to land Williams. North Carolina and Kentucky were his finalists. But Crean went after him hard down the stretch -- don't under-estimate the impact of newly hired assistant coach Kenny Johnson and his East Coast connections -- and it paid off.

IU now has five committed players in the class. The others are Devin Davis, Collin Hartman, Stanford Robinson and Luke Fischer. Indiana is also in the running for another inside player, 6-8, 270-pound BeeJay Anya of Maryland. He's rated as the No. 48 overall player, and the No. 4 center. He's set to decide between IU and North Carolina State.

Crean and his staff couldn't comment on recruiting commitments per NCAA rules, but they could talk about the current Hoosiers and their quest for Big Ten and NCAA championships.

The Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage -- divided into teams of Red and White -- came after a 2 -hour practice. While the players warmed up, Crean told the Assembly Hall crowd of around 5,000 that the team was still in work mode, then joked he wanted the crowd to boo to help prepare IU for hostile road environments.

Nobody booed, although one young boy wearing a Darth Vader mask -- the Halloween-themed event included a children-in-costume parade on Branch McCracken Court and an autograph signing -- looked intense. That matched the approach of associate head coach Steve McClain, who along with fellow associate head coach Tim Buckley coached the scrimmage teams.

Senior forward Derek Elston was there on crutches following his surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Freshman forward Hanner Perea dressed, but didn't play in the scrimmage as he recovers from a foot injury. Freshman center Peter Jurkin played with a clear plastic mask to protect his injured nose.

IU ran a 15-minute scrimmage, which the White team won 40-35 after rallying from an 18-6 deficit. Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Remy Abell each had 10 points for the White. The Red was led by Cody Zeller's 14 points – many set up by freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell's drives and passes -- and Oladipo's 13.

Afterward the Hoosiers had a 4-minute situational scrimmage. Coaches mixed up the rosters on both teams, then gave the White team a 76-70 lead. The Red rallied for an 88-83 win.

“We were competing and playing hard,” Buckley said. “We're looking at different combinations and see who fits where. We finished with a special situation we've been working on.”

The reason, he added, was because IU figures to be in plenty of tough Big Ten games. The conference has three teams ranked in the top five (No. 1 IU, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan) and two others in the top 25 (No. 14 Michigan State and No. 23 Wisconsin)

“A lot of those games will be close, so we want to put our guys in as many of those situations as we can. We do that on a daily basis.”

Competitive intensity is a constant theme as the Hoosiers prepare to play to their No. 1 ranking.

“These guys are really competing,” McClean said. “It matters to them who wins (situation) segments. It's all part of the learning process. We're continuing to create a toughness in our team that we're going to have to have as we continue to build.

“You see bright spots out of everybody. That's what is going to make this team fun. It's going to be continued growth as we get ready.”