Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Can Indiana Basketball Win This Season?
Yes, football is set to begin with all veteran players reporting today and the first practice (technically called an acclimation session) set for Friday.
Still, basketball is never far from Hoosier minds and one question dominates all others:
Can IU win this season?
The short answer is yes. For the long answer we turn to freshman guard Will Sheehey. He’s the 6-5 shooting guard from Florida rated No. 40 nationally at his position and as the No. 141 player overall. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.9 rebounds as a high school senior.
Those numbers are no longer relevant. Now it’s all about what Sheehey does in a Cream ‘n Crimson uniform. What he’s seen in summer workouts and pickup games makes him believe a turnaround is coming.
“When you see people progress daily, you can’t say you’re moving backwards,” he says. “When you see everyone working hard, getting up extra shots, you know they’re getting better. You can see it in people’s eyes that they want to turn this around and I think we are.”
That starts, but certainly doesn’t end, with competition.
“We compete every day during our workouts,” Sheehey says. “At the end of our workouts we make sure we are going to win in whatever we do, whether it’s running a sprint or lifting some weights. We’re going to make sure we do it to the fullest of our ability.”
The coaches can’t make sure because they aren’t allowed to be around the players in off-season workouts. Still, coach Tom Crean has made it clear what he wants from veterans as well as newcomers.
“Coach Crean pretty much laid down the guidelines before I got here,” Sheehey says. “Everyone knows what Coach Crean is about, so it’s pretty much been what I expected. He’s not allowed to coach us basketball-wise right now, but he’s just giving me advice about school and working hard. That’s pretty much what I knew, which is why I came here.”
Hard work is one of the ways Crean is trying to restore this tradition-rich program. IU won six games in his first season, 10 in his second. A foundation has been set, and Sheehey and fellow newcomers Victor Oladipo and Guy-Marc Michele hope to make major impact this season.
Still, veterans such as Verdell Jones, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Tom Pritchard, Jeremiah Rivers, Bobby Capobianco and Derek Elston are set to lead the way. If they do, a winning record and a postseason berth are possible. If they don’t … well … let’s just say the losing has to end, the sooner the better.