Big Men on Campus

Since Jared Jefferies and Kirk Haston left Indiana for the NBA in back to back years, Indiana has struggled to find a dominating presence inside. The Hoosiers found serviceable players in Jeff Newton and George Leach, however they have yet to find a player good enough to change a game. Coach Mike Davis is going into the 2004 season with the hopes and recruits to change the interior problems that the Hoosiers have faced.

Let's take a look at who will play a major role for the Hoosiers in the paint this season.

Freshman DJ White- 6-9, 230. White comes to the Hoosiers from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is the former prodigy of current Hoosier coach Thad Fitzpatrick. White averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game as senior, and shot over 60% from the field. White was named an All-American, and the Alabama state player of the year. He will be starting this year for the Hoosiers at center/forward. Despite being a freshman, White looks to start off very well for the Hoosiers. He is very athletic, and is an excellent rebounder. Indiana will have to look for him in the paint to score, which he will be able to do with some very nice moves, however he needs to develop his inside game more to become a complete player.

Junior Sean Kline- 6-8, 235. Kline is in his third year with the Hoosiers, and is getting very close comparison to former Hoosier workhorse Jared Odle. Kline was having a very good 2003-2004 season when he tore his ACL at Purdue in February. He had surgery on Feb 23rd to repair the knee, and has been back with the Hoosiers for the last few weeks. While Kline's knee is not yet 100%, he will put in some good minutes for the Hoosiers this year. He is expected to start alongside White, as the two will make up the Indiana interior. Kline has become known for his "garbage man" attitude, and with his tenacious rebounding and hustle, he will ensure himself a place in the Hoosier rotation. He has been working hard on his free throws and as long as his knee holds up, fans should expect big contributions from Sean Kline this year.

Sophomore Patrick Ewing Jr.- 6-8, 215 Ewing enters his second year with the Hoosiers, and will play a much larger role with the team in 2004. Ewing is expected to be the first man off the bench, and could see the occasional spot start for Indiana. He is a great rebounder, and has improved his game greatly over the last year. Ewing will add a lot of energy to the Hoosiers coming off the bench, and Indiana hopes to use that energy to overcome mistakes. Ewing still misses his assignment on defense occasionally, and will take ill-advised shots from time to time, but he will be a solid contributor for Indiana this year.

Senior Mike Roberts- 6-9, 235 Mike Roberts enters his senior season with Indiana basketball, and his fifth year at IU. Roberts has never been a key piece of the puzzle for IU, but he has been a solid role player over the years. The main contribution that Roberts has made this year had been with his voice instead of his play. Roberts has been very vocal in practices, teaching the freshmen where they should be on offense, and helping everyone to talk on offense. Don't expect too many points out of Roberts this year, but he will be good to fill in for some minutes and help the Hoosiers in a more vocal way. His senior leadership will be very valuable for Indiana even if his play isn't huge.

Freshman Lucas Steijn- 6-10, 230 Stiejn signed with the Hoosiers in August, and played last year at Notre Dame Academy in Virginia. Before playing at Notre Dame Academy, Steijn played in his native Netherlands. Steijn averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds during his senior year at Notre Dame. Steijn is slightly younger than most of his freshmen brethren, and was born Aug 1, 1986. He is undersized and would probably redshirt this year if it weren't for the situation. Steijn will redshirt during his Sophomore year when transfer Marco Killingsworth will be available for the Hoosiers. Steijn has good post moves, but does not have the body to fight with the big men of the Big Ten. Don't expect big number from Lucas this year, he will be able to fill in for a few minutes and give the starters a breather, but he will not be a large part of the Indiana scheme. Steijn will best be served to get his fill at the Indiana University food courts, and bulk up for the future.

Freshman James Hardy- 6-7, 185 James Hardy will be released to the basketball team on a full term basis after the Purdue game. The wide receiver in football will play the wing for the Hoosiers basketball club. Hardy went to Elmhurst High School in Fort Wayne, and was the star of the team there. Hardy has been practicing with the team for the last few weeks on days in which he is released from football, but it will still take some time for him to get into basketball playing speed. Hardy is expected to see some playing time at the wing, and will be a decent cog in the offensive scheme. It will be interesting to see how much Hardy will contribute this year, and we'll reserve judgment on him for another few months.

That the Indiana big men, not listed were transfer Marco Killingsworth and walkon Kyle Taber. Killingsworth cannot play this year, and Taber is not likely to see any playing time. The Hoosiers have more depth than they have had in years past in the post, but are still very young and inexperienced. The interior will still be the Indiana weakness, but it is yet to be seen how freshman DJ White will fair against real competition. The Indiana season could come down to how well the Indiana big men hold their ground. The Hoosiers will have more help on the way next year, as Ben Allen from Australia signed on with the Hoosiers last week. Top Stories