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October 12, 2012Indiana held a season-opening practice tonight and it was televised on ESPNU.
Dan Dakich was one of the commentators for ESPN and afterward spoke with Peegs.com to give his take.
"My biggest thing is this team works really hard has terrific ability," Dakich said. "When I say working hard, I'm not talking only physically. They're out there talking. They put a ton into it. I know it's the first practice and everybody's excited, but I've got to tell you, they got after it.
"They seem to like work. Nobody gave any negative body language. Now they may as it goes on, especially the freshmen, but I was impressed with how they communicated and how they don't have any problems with work.
"I was listening and I never heard a player or a coach say, 'Let's go hard. Let's get going.' A lot of times in practice, you have to do that, and I'm telling you, nobody did anything but bust it."
Here are some highlights, notable moments and comments from the hour of drills and skill work.
In the early going, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey were very strong in a one-on-one drill and coach Tom Crean told the other players not to let them dominate.
Oladipo was a key topic at one point. ESPN's Jay Williams said finding a vocal leader could be a key and Dakich suggest Oladipo could emerge as that guy.
Peter Jurkin, who was hit in the nose in practice recently, and Hanner Perea, who had been in a protective walking boot, both fully participated.
Remy Abell had a wrap on his left wrist area but was fully involved in practice.
Maurice Creek, back after missing all of last season, moved well and was involved in the entire hour. He didn't look afraid either, diving for a ball at one point.
Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell's quickness stood out. He also had a behind-the-back pass in the post on one drill. He was also a topic of conversation during the telecast.
Dakich said Ferrell will have to manage his high-profile status off the court. "He's going to be a complete rock star in this state in two months, and he's going to have to handle that," Dakich said.
Indiana worked its passing drill in one segment. Crean got on Perea for telegraphing passes - "You'd be leading the league in interceptions right now," Crean said - and challenged the defenders to get deflections.
Cody Zeller's physical gains were obvious, as was the fact that Perea has gotten bigger.
Zeller hit 3s during one drill. He also caught the ball at the 3-point line and drove past a defender in another.
Crean said a piece of advice from Dwyane Wade helped Oladipo and Sheehey. Wade told both their ball-handling wasn't up to NBA standards and both went to work on that, Crean said.
Ferrell, Hulls, Zeller and Oladipo were on defense together in some four-man drills. Crean was really pushing Perea on defense, most likely because he knows Perea's incredible potential.
The show was a recruiting tool as well. ESPN ran what amounted to an IU highlight film of last year as a lead-in, showed cutaways of IU's five national championship banners and photos of each title team.
In the background, the scorer's table scroll touted IU's national titles, Final Fours and Big Ten championships.
There was a fashion statement as well as Indiana was wearing new gray adidas shoes.
Freshman Jeremy Hollowell looked like his head was spinning at times, but Dakich said he loves the 6-foot-7 forward's potential.
"Hollowell has a chance to be a really good player if he wants to work at it," Dakich said.