Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Friday, November 10

IU's Exhibition Win Gets A Guy Thinking

Some random thoughts in the aftermath of Indiana’s 83-46 exhibition victory over Indianapolis.

First, junior college transfer Lance Stemler is going to be good. No, not change the program good, but he buys into coach Kelvin Sampson’s sacrifice-your-body approach. He’ll make a difference.

Oh, yes. He’s a heck of an outside shooter (16 points, 4-for-7 from three-point range).

Second, D.J. White has to improve his passing out of a double team (Sampson nearly collapsed onto the padded scorer’s table after watching one botched attempt). That will come (or Sampson will have to go heavy on the antacids).

White finished with one assist and six turnovers. He played 31 minutes because Sampson wanted to get him more court time to overcome the rust from missing most of last season because of injury.

Third, Sampson means it when he emphasizes defense. Early in the first half, A.J. Ratliff and Rod Wilmont didn’t quite meet Sampson’s expectations. When they combined to give up a three-pointer to Indianapolis’ Tyke Cockerham, he had enough.

“Sit down!” he told them.

Okay, it was a little stronger than that, but you get the drift. Out they came. In came Joey Shaw and Armon Bassett.

Ratliff and Wilmont eventually returned. Yes, their defense improved. Bassett looked good for the second straight exhibition (10 assists).

Finally, Sampson isn’t interested in walking the ball up the court. He constantly shouted at Earl Calloway and Bassett to push the pace and when they didn’t, well, he wasn’t shy about expressing his displeasure. When they did, he didn’t hesitate to praise.

Are you seeking the deeper meaning about what all this means? Forget it. Exhibitions are for experimentation. Starting Monday, when the games count, experimentation ends. And then we’ll really have some random thoughts.


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