Decision Looming For Hardy

He doesn't know when it will come or what it will be, but James Hardy knows he'll have to make a very big decision in the not-too-distant future.

He doesn't know when it will come or what it will be, but James Hardy knows he'll have to make a very big decision in the not-too-distant future.

The Hoosiers' 6'7", 215-pound two-sport standout came to Bloomington a year ago with visions of starring in both basketball and football. While the desire to do both is still there, there's also a realization that physically it might not be possible.

"My body won't be able to take it," said Hardy at the thought of playing both sports for four years. "After last year without even playing in games I hit the wall coming back to spring ball and I know my body can't handle that for four years."

A year ago, Hardy redshirted during the football season and remained with Coach Gerry DiNardo's team until the end of the Hoosiers' 3-8 campaign. He tried to find whatever time he could to get himself ready for the basketball season, but his late arrival had him playing catch-up for most of the 2004-05 season. Hardy played in 23 of IU's 29 games and started three times, but his 1.7 points and 10.7 minutes/game didn't live up to what his own expectations were.

Last year's experience had him giving serious consideration to focusing on just one sport this season, and that decision would have been one that would have kept him off the football field this fall.

"Last year I was on the verge of thinking about no even playing football this year and just focusing on basketball," said Hardy.

But when IU introduced its new coach, Terry Hoeppner, Hardy heard about the spread offense that the new coach was bringing with him from Miami (Ohio), and the opportunities that there would be for the wide receivers on the roster. That led to his decision to stick with football for at least one more year to see how things would pan out.

It's proven to be the right decision for Hardy and the Hoosiers. Hardy is putting up All-America caliber numbers, catching 46 passes for 744 yards and eight touchdowns in IU's first six games. His 124.0 yards receiving/game ranks second nationally, and his 7.7 receptions/game ranks second in the Big Ten. He also had at least 100 yards receiving in five of IU's first six games, and he's caught at least one touchdown in each contest.

"Football just keeps getting better and better for me," said Hardy.

Hardy's success in football would suggest that when it comes time to make his decision it will be a relatively easy one logically. Emotionally, though, might be another matter.

"I know sooner or later I will have to make that decision," said Hardy. "Football has been my first love and I have been playing since I was seven, but basketball got me the publicity so it's going to be hard for me to just let basketball go."

Hardy doesn't plan on letting go of basketball just yet. He said he will play for IU Coach Mike Davis' team this year, and then evaluate his situation in the off-season.

"Like Coach Hoeppner said, me, him and Mike Davis will have to sit down and talk about it and weigh my options," said Hardy. Top Stories