With the recent return of big man D.J. White and the success of freshman Ben Allen, Cem Dinc is finding it harder and harder to get playing time for Indiana Head Coach Mike Davis and his deep Hoosier squad.
Dinc played limited minutes in blowout wins over Florida A&M and Western Illinois, meaning he will be unable to redshirt, and with so many players ahead of him on the depth chart if will be tough for him to find a spot in the paint with his 6-10 frame.
With that in mind, Davis has moved Dinc to his most comfortable position – on the wing.
"It's not really a move for me because I've been playing the wing all summer with the Turkish national team," said Dinc. "Instead it was a move for me to play inside when D.J. and Sean (Kline) were out for a while. I can play inside and help out. I'll play wherever coach puts me. But I'm more comfortable out on the wing. I know it's unusual for a guy my size and it's harder to play the wing here, but I'm getting more comfortable now."
While it does seem unusual for Dinc to play on the wing at 6-10 and 240 pounds, it is his natural position and he is more athletic than his size would suggest. Given time and a little work the move may work out for Dinc and the Hoosiers, giving Indiana a very tough lineup for opponents to match-up against in the future.
"I think being on the wing could help my playing time," said Dinc. "With D.J. getting healthy again he'll be back down low and I get to go back to where I feel more comfortable. That's where I'll play for the Turkish team at the World Championship in Japan in the summer. I think I do a pretty good job out there in practice and if I can keep that up I know I'll play more because I feel a lot more comfortable on the wing."
Right now Dinc is spending extra time getting used to the rigors of playing the wing position in America and for Indiana. He spends extra time before and after practice with Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp and gets help during practice from new assistant coach Sydney Green.
"My development is going really good," said Dinc. "Coach Rupp works out with me every day after practice and sometimes before it. and he also helps me sometimes before games. He helps me out a lot on my perimeter game and is helping me to develop my skills on the wing spot."
Dinc saw some time on the court in the final minutes of two Indiana blowouts at the beginning of the season. He played four minutes against Florida A&M and scored two points, grabbed one rebound, had one block and one assist. He also played three minutes against Western Illinois but grabbed just one rebound.
"I don't think I could be where I am without Coach Rupp," said Dinc. "I can see my development and the big steps I have taken with his help. There's nobody who pushes me that hard and he gives me so much advice I wouldn't get if I wasn't here. He helps me a lot and I really appreciate that he takes the time because he's a great coach and he's been around a lot of great players. I feel like he is the right guy to help me."
For Dinc the adjustment to basketball has not been all he has had to deal with. He just finished his first semester of classes in America – something that is hard enough for a foreign student without having to play basketball.
"I'm doing pretty good in class," said Dinc. "I don't have difficulty with the language unless it's a class with a lot of special terms. I have tutors to help me and my teammates help me. I've been doing well. My intended major is international business. Right now I'm taking my courses to get into the Kelley School of Business."
Dinc was Indiana's last recruit and was the last player to join the team. Even with the added pressures he was under, Dinc has found a way to fit in with his teammates.
"My teammates are great, great people. I have a lot of fun with them," said Dinc. "We eat together, we go to class together, we come to practice together and sometimes we go out and just have fun together. I've been around some good guys here. I spend a lot of time with Ben (Allen) and Joey (Shaw) because we're the freshmen, but I also spend time with the older guys, too. I'm just going through the same things as the other two freshmen so we have more in common right now."
Now Dinc is just getting used to his surroundings. While he had heard different things about America, nothing could prepare him for life in Bloomington. While he has not seen all this country has to offer, he enjoys what he has seen so far.
"I didn't know anything about the U.S. when I got here and it has been a great change so far," said Dinc. "I came here with an open mind and I thought I would just do what the coaches told me and work hard. So I had no expectations coming here but I have gotten to like it. It's really good and I really like playing basketball for Indiana."
Is There Room For Dinc?
Peegs.com Top Stories
The Peegs Podcast: The Tom-Tom ClubTom Allen's Hoosiers are headed to the Foster Farms Bowl to take on Utah Dec. 28, and Tom Crean's Hoosiers are headed into a few days off after beating Southeast Missouri. We break…
Coach Crean verbatim: SE Missouri StatePeegs.com has the transcript of what IU head coach Tom Crean said after Indiana's 83-55 win over SE Missouri State yesterday.
In-state athlete hearing from IndianaIn-state athlete David Felton has been hearing quite a bit from the Hoosiers.
Scales & Feeney talk Foster Farms BowlIndiana players Tegray Scales and Dan Feeney talk about getting the opportunity to play Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl.