Bloomington, Ind. – It was almost like Christmas morning Saturday night during Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall – although it would be hard pressed to know if the present was for the Hoosier faithful or Marco Killingsworth.
"I've been waiting on this moment for a whole year," said the 6-7, 265-pound Killingsworth. "I was only out here to have fun tonight and I took it and ran with it.
"I didn't expect people to cheer so loud just for me. It was my first time coming out and they were so loud. IU fans are the best fans you can have. I don't care if they cheer for me as long as we can win for them."
Killingsworth, who sat out last season after transferring from Auburn, impressed the crowd in both the Red vs. White scrimmage and the dunk contest. He led all scorers in the scrimmage with nine points – including 3-of-3 from the foul line – and tied for the win in the dunk contest with A.J. Ratliff with a perfect score on the last dunk of the night.
"We're ready to get this rolling," said Killingsworth. "We've been conditioning so much we just want to get the season started."
Killingsworth's presence has already been felt on the program. After he spent last season nurturing D.J. White, White finished as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and led a Hoosier squad that finished fourth in the Big Ten.
"I know what I can do but the whole reason I came here was to help the young guys," said Killingsworth. "That's what Coach (Mike) Davis said to me when he recruited me. We both knew the NBA stuff would still be there, but being able to help D.J., this program, this school, I only have one shot at that."
After using the transfer year to mentor White, Killingsworth is ready to get on the court and help the Hoosiers win, but do not expect him to stop playing the role of teacher on the court.
"When I get done here I hope people will think ‘Marco Killingsworth I remember him.' I'm glad I got the chance to come here and help D.J. Now I'm trying to teach something to Cem (Dinc) and Ben (Allen) everyday, little techniques, little quick moves, anything.
"I told D.J. ‘you're good enough to get yours and this is my last year so I'm going to get mine.' We can take turns on that block and just punish people."
While Hoosier Hysteria was a night of fun and for the fans, Killingsworth has a little too much invested into his last season of college ball to use it as a time to goof off.
"What I can take from tonight is what I did wrong on the floor," said Killingsworth. "I'm going to ask the coaches to break down the film and show me what I can fix before the season starts. Really, tonight was about having fun, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't out there hurting anybody or anybody got hurt."
Heading into the 2005-06 season, Killingsworth is a large reason why Indiana is No. 21 on the ESPN preseason poll. While he is glad to see Indiana gaining respect, Killingsworth would prefer no ranking at all.
"I wish we weren't even ranked," said Killingsworth. "That would be just one more thing to get us motivated. I've never had anything given to me – I've had to earn it. I wish we could go out and earn that ranking instead of it being given to us."
As for his final season in college basketball, Killingsworth has only one goal – one he feels is attainable with this squad.
"I'm only here for a national championship," said Killingsworth. "That's it. I want to leave here, and no matter what happens to me in the rest of my life, I can say I was a national champion. Not too many people can say that, I want to be one of those few."
Killingsworth Ready To Go
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