Saturday's homecoming weekend at Indiana University was a bit more important than a lot of alumni coming back to do a lot of drinking with old college buddies.
While I'm sure that there was plenty of intoxicated folks around campus and in the parking lot of Memorial Stadium, the real important things took place both inside and outside the stadium on campus.
The Indiana Hoosiers made an all-important bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Virginia on the road the weekend before to pick up a football win against Illinois on Saturday. The win was enough to restore a little bit of hope that the Hoosiers can still make a bid for a bowl trip if it can win another two games out of the final four. While analyzing the on-field product against the Illini might give the observer no real, true idea of whether IU is back on the winning track, it provided a glimmer of hope, no matter how faint.
Just across the lot a few hours before, an open to the public, practice was taking place for the Hoosier's basketball team. One night after IU opened the season with a silly, but entertaining Hoosier Hysteria to start the basketball season, Tom Crean began putting his team through the real paces. The evening practice that was open to fans, was actually the second one of the day as Crean had his team practice early in the morning as well. While Crean tuned the 2009-10 edition of the Hoosiers up, perhaps just as important, was the recruits that were on hand to view Hoosier Hysteria.
Indiana prep schools were well represented as Crean looks towards putting IU back on top as far as claiming in-state talent.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was reportedly going to show, then he wasn't, but then he arrived apparently after some Mario Andretti-like driving from his family. Smith-Rivera was at Xavier's first practice of the season at approximately 5 p.m. before leaving Cincinnati at 6:30 p.m. and arriving around 8:30 p.m. in Bloomington. Smith-Rivera is 6'3, 220 lb. and is considered one of the top recruits in the 2012 class out of Indianapolis North Central.
Smith-Rivera's services are in high demand as Xavier, Tennessee and Purdue have already offered scholarships. Louisville, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Georgetown and North Carolina are already showing interest as well.
Some of Smith-Rivera's AAU teammates were also in attendance as Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin of Indiana Elite were on hand along with 6'7 Lawrence Central sophomore, Jeremy Hollowell. He was at Purdue's Midnight Madness last season along with Indianapolis Broad Ripple's Ron Patterson, who was at IU on Friday.
All of the recruits on hand were impressed with the 13,000 fans in attendance according to reports by the Herald Times newspaper. There was also a familiar face on hand in former Hoosier, Sherron Wilkerson, who is mentoring talented Jeffersonville freshman guard, Darryl Baker.
Baker played for Wilkerson's 16-under AAU team, Team Southern Indiana and gained plenty of interest already from Midwestern colleges. There are plans for the two to visit Evansville, Xavier, Purdue and Butler.