Remember Jared Jeffries?

I don’t mean to stray too far from Indiana Hoosiers, but a little bit of my background is necessary to understand where my personal passion for the Hoosier nation derives from. I moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Oxford, England when I was just shy of my eighth birthday. Fast forward only one month,and I had my first experience as an Indiana Hoosiers fan.

Jared Jeffries. Even as a second grader just fresh off the boat from across the pond, I understood the implications of my friend Amelia May’s announcement that her cousin was a Hoosier basketball player. When she uttered the name “Jarrod Jeffries”, you wouldn’t believe how many eight year olds were near heart attack status. And although Amelia was already one of my closest friends, she would have joined the ranks of any other elementary school friend that soon got lost in the blur of memories had she not had such a significant star connection. The day our teachers announced Jared would be as a guest speaker in our class was the day my tomboy dreams came true. I was going to see Jared dunk from my 8-ft basketball hoop on my cruddy elementary school playground courts.

Like any childhood memory, I remember little details of Jeffries’ visit. I do recall how outstandingly tall he appeared. I was in awe of the fact that his legs seemed taller than my entire body. I remember being so excited for my grow spurt so that I too could touch the rop. Surprise, that never happened.

.JaredJeffries_display_image

Jeffries went on to be an 11th pick in the 2002 NBA draft when he left the Hoosiers after two years to play for the Wizards.  In his last season of college basketball, he was awarded the Big Ten Most Valuable player. I met him the year prior before he led the team to the National championship game. Having graduated from one of our local high schools and being named Indiana Mr. Basketball during his senior year, he was already a star to Bloomington folk. I’d like to believe that my wishing him luck for his upcoming season had some kind of impact on the successes of the 2001-2002 season.

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This is Indiana

If you aren’t completely convinced of the diehard fandom that exists in Indiana’s student body, all you have to do is Google “Indiana song”. The name of the state, and the word song—that’s it. Substitute any state besides Indiana, and I can guarantee that the top search result will not be a rap song written by college students about their beloved basketball team.

Here, check it out:

And if you can’t handle all the cream and crimson, here is a version of the lyrics.

Big Ten, who’s your daddy? No really, Hoosier daddy?

Yeah, your schools coming up short, Bilbo Baggins

I know you wish you had it, but you ain’t though

We just crossed ya over, broke your ankles

The real Assembly Hall, no Illinois, about to explode

Biggest student section in the nation, bringing that racket like McEnroe

Got a Cuban with Mark Cuban, this just in:

Another top recruit committed, while you rotten like P-U!

[Chorys: Daniel]

Cause this is Indiana, yeah we do it big

Bossin’ on the Big Ten you know what it is

Cause this is I-U, U, U

This is I-U, U, U

English: Indiana Hoosiers logo

English: Indiana Hoosiers logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We got banners on the wall

And this is how we ball

Talking about the Hoo-Hoo-siers

Talking about the Hoo-Hoo-siers

[Verse 2: Brice]

Unlike you other schools, we got history

Kinda like your girl does when she visits uh, me

Oh my I can’t see because the trophy case be shining

And my optometrist told me not to look

Cause I could go blind, even better I could taste it

Follow Tom Crean, he gon’ take us back to greatness

Face it, embrace it, like it’s 76

Them little Wolverines probably gonna hate this

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Daniel]

One banner, two banner, three banner, four

Five banner, sixth banner knockin’ on your door

Cause’ Indiana basketball is hustling on the floor

And running up the score (run, running up the score)

If you a B-town girl put your hands up

If you a B-town boy put your hands up

If you an alumni put your hands up

If you an Indiana Hoosier put your hands up

Now put your hands up, now put your hands up!

“Face it, embrace, it like it’s 76.”  If no other line resonates, take note of the year 1976, the Indiana Hoosier’s most monumental season. In both the 1974-1975 and the 1975-1976 seasons, Indiana University won every regular season game, 37 consecutive Big Ten games, and two Big Ten Championships, making them Big Ten champions for four consecutive years. But they didn’t just win these Big Ten match-ups; they swept the court averaging 22-points more than every opponent during the 1974-75 season.  In the particularly successful 1975-76 season, the Indiana Hoosiers [easily] claimed the NCAA championship over the University of Michigan Wolverines, with a final score of 86-68, rounding off a perfect season of all-victories. To this day, no other team has achieved such a remarkable season. This era of phenomenal basketball was guided by the controversial Bobby Knight, forever a legend in the name of college basketball.

After Knight left the Hoosiers for reasons deserving of their own blog post, his assistant coach Mike Davis became the interim. After an unimpressive run in the beginnings of the 21st century, the team somehow managed to overcome previous difficulties and wound up in Atlanta for the NCAA championship game. But to keep it short and simple, Maryland University came out with the win.

From then on, the town of Bloomington lost faith in Mike Davis, and soon he resigned, and the position was turned over to Kelvin Sampson. As history could have predicted, controversies shortened Sampson’s run with the Hoosiers.

In 2008, Tom Crean became the new head coach of Indiana University’s men’s basketball team, and when two star players left, the team fell into a deep lull. After facing the worst seasons of Hoosier history, Crean had seen everything but success when a long-time Hoosier fan and number one high school recruit signed on to bring back the glory days. Too bad Cody Zeller and I were born the same year otherwise I might have gotten to see the Hoosier Nation triumph from Assembly Hall as a Bloomington townie. Maybe then I could have joined in the chants “This is Indiana.” Without me though, at least the team still has 40,000 students and 35,000 townies to join in on the chorus.