Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Extra Work Paying Off For IU’s Sheehey

You bet it seemed like the Indiana coaches were picking on freshman Will Sheehey. Coach Tom Crean ended Monday’s practice after about 65 minutes because he wanted his players fresh for up-tempo Mississippi Valley State, the Hoosiers’ third game in five days.

But afterward Sheehey was among the players ordered to stay for some three-on-three and four-on-four work.

As it turned out, the extra work was done to accelerate the improvement process. Crean wanted to play Sheehey more, but the 6-6 freshman swingman had to be ready.

In IU’s first two games, Sheehey wasn’t ready, which was why he’d played just 10 total minutes and scored only six points.

The only way to change that was extra work.

“The first reaction, and this goes back to Dwyane Wade and guys at Marquette,” Creans said, “is they think they are being punished. But it’s a chance to get their confidence up and a chance for it to be about them.”

Sheehey made the most of it against Mississippi Valley State. He had nine points (on 4-for-7 shooting) and five rebounds in 11 minutes.

“I was feeling more comfortable,” he said. “With every game and every practice, Coach has helped me get a better feel for the game.”

That feel peaked, so to speak, with his alley oop basket at the end of the Mississippi Valley State game. Guard Daniel Moore appeared to toss the ball too high, but the high-jumping Sheehey controlled it enough to score.

“I was happy that Will was able to come in and get confidence inside of the game because he was ready for that,” Crean said. “He’s going to be very good. He needed that type of breakout game and that shot of confidence.”

Some players, like Ohio State freshman superstar Jared Sullinger, are ready as soon as they hit campus. The vast majority are like Sheehey, who need time to develop.

“Coach has been gradually giving me more minutes to see if I can either take them or not do anything with them,” he said.

Doing something means adjusting his high school jump-shooting ways for a more attack-the-basket approach. In other words, instead of taking a contested three-pointer, drive and either score to kick it out.

“Now when I see the lanes, I have to take them,” Sheehey said.

Sheehey figures to see a lot more lanes in the months ahead. Why? Because he’s ready for them.

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