Maybe Mike Davis' promise to Cem Dinc is one he can keep after all.
Dinc, the last-minute addition to IU's 2004-05 roster, pledged to Davis under the premise that he'd be making his college basketball living outside the paint, not in it.
Excuse those who were skeptical. After all, there aren't too many 6-10, 245-pound wings in the NBA, let alone in the college ranks. On the surface, this appeared to be little more than Davis saying what he needed to get a commitment, coupled with a healthy dose of wishful thinking on Dinc's part.
But seeing is believing, and A.J. Ratliff has seen his new teammate play and believes that he'll be making his contributions on the perimeter.
"He's a 6-10 wing, legitimately," said Ratliff, who has scrimmaged with Dinc since his arrival on the Bloomington campus last month. "It's crazy. He is a wing. He's really talented."
If he's as good as Ratliff and others have advertised, it's equally as incredible that Indiana was able to lure him to Bloomington just days before the start of the first semester. But that's what the Hoosiers did, thanks to a pre-existing relationship between Davis and Dinc's Turkish National coach, Bogdan Tanjevic.
Tanjevic told Dinc his development would be best served by either going to a major Division I college or turning professional in Europe. He had originally intended to go to Brewster Academy for one year before making an even bigger jump.
"I was planning to attend Brewster Academy as a postgraduate this fall, play a good season and enter the 2006 NBA Draft," said Dinc. "But after I talked to Coach Tanjevic, I changed my mind.
"My game would not have developed as much as it will now on the college level."
The opportunity to play on the wing was a big selling point for sure, along the chance to gain national exposure and ultimately make the jump to the NBA in the not-too-distant future.
"Coach Davis promised me, my dad and Coach Tanjevic to let me play the 2-3 position and make sure I'll get enough exposure to enter the NBA draft as soon as possible," said Dinc, who cancelled visits to North Carolina and Florida after pledging to IU during his official visit last month.
It's unclear whether Dinc still has visions of making the jump the NBA after just one year in college, but it is obvious that he has lofty goals for the team as a whole in 2005-06.
"I was influenced by the team's great talent, which tempted me of dreaming of the Final Four and a national championship," said Dinc.
Dinc thinks those are realistic expectations thanks an Indiana roster that is loaded with the sort of talent that IU fans haven't witnessed in recent years.
"They're all very talented and I think we will be a great team," said Dinc. "Marco (Killingsworth) and D.J. (White) are strong inside players. I think D.J. has a great upside and is a future NBA power forward. Marco also has NBA potential and he seems to be a very intense player.
"Robert Vaden is quick and clever and he knows how to find a way to the basket. I was also impressed by Earl Calloway and Lewis Monroe, who will both help us a lot on the point guard position."
Dinc is expected to help as well, but at a position that runs contrary to his 6-10, 245-pound frame. But don't roll your eyes when you hear players and coaches talk about the Dinc floating around behind the 3-point arc instead of roaming the paint.
After all, seeing is believing.
"He can shoot the 3, he has moves - it's incredible," said Ratliff. "He is a wing."
With Dinc, Seeing Is Believing
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