Last Friday marked the start of the college basketball preseason, as all 355 programs in men's division one began official practices. The Indiana Hoosiers enter the year with sky-high expectations, embodied by the presence of ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla at the team's first practice. The start of the preseason also gives major broadcast teams the opportunity to travel and catch a glimpse of the teams that they will see throughout the season, hence Fraschilla's presence in Bloomington.
As reported by Inside the Hall's Alex Bozich, Fraschilla was given a full sneak preview to the 2015-2016 edition of the Hoosiers. The former college head coach certainly provided extra coal to fuel the Hoosier Hype-train with his initial observations, specifically with those of true freshman and McDonald's All-American Thomas Bryant.
"I thought Thomas had a really good two practices because he's willing to be coached. He did not walk through the door with a sense of entitlement. Great body language. He's the perfect anecdote for what they were missing. I think he'll have a chance to be a real factor come January in conference."
Fraschilla echoed what many have said of this Indiana team, in terms of its offensive potential.
"Of the teams I get to watch throughout the year, they spend the most time as far as teaching offensive basketball as anybody I see...There's a sense that they want to play with good spacing because they have such good perimeter quickness and they want to shoot the 3. But now they have the opportunity to throw it inside to a kid like Bryant."
Though it is only practice, it should be comforting for Hoosier Nation that there is tangible evidence that IU's next great hope in Bryant is adjusting well and should be ready to contribute immediately. On top of this, Frashcilla marked that Tom Crean and his staff are not only aware of the need to improve defensively, but are diligently working to make IU a complete team on both sides of the ball.
Finally, Fraschilla gave a nod to Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and noted even some possible underrated sentiments towards the senior guard.
"I watched some tape before I came to campus this week just to make sure I had a good fell for the guys and I keep forgetting how good Yogi is nationally. I don't think people realize how good of a career he is in the midst of. He's almost taken for granted."
Hoosier fans who may be unfamiliar with Fraschillia, who spent 10 years as a Division I head coach before joining ESPN, they'll certainly become acquainted with him during next month's Maui Invitational. While the visit is certainly not on the level of having a practice aired live on ESPN, as the Hoosiers did three years ago, but it is certainly an indication that the national spotlight will once again shine on Indiana this season.
Indiana University was not the only stop for Fraschillia, as the commentator entering his 13th year with the Worldwide Leader paid a visit to Butler University on Saturday morning.