Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson just recently completed his coaching staff for the 2006-07 season, now he is trying to complete his team.
Sampson signed his second junior college transfer is three weeks, bringing Southwestern Illinois College forward Lance Stemler to Bloomington.
"Lance is very excited about this opportunity," said Southwestern Illinois College Coach Jay Harrington. "The four programs he had at the end of his signing period here were all quality programs and all programs he had a chance to come in and do well in.
"It's Indiana basketball. I think that's a great situation for him."
A native of Belleville, Ill., the 6-8, 205-pound Stemler helped lead Southwestern Illinois College to a 34-4 record this season and a No. 6 national ranking. Stemler ranked sixth nationally in scoring with 22.0 points per game and shot nearly 43 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Stemler had offers from Indiana, Marquette, Nebraska and St. Louis, but after three official visits in the last week signed with the Hoosiers.
"I've been in this business for 30 years now and I've had a lot of kids go through," said Harrington. "Every year you look at the final 16 in the NCAA tournament and they all have junior college kids.
"I think junior college kids if they're the right kind of kids and they do a good job they can help any program. There was one special junior college kid that won Indiana a national championship."
Harrington and Sampson are no strangers to each other after spending time together working with USA basketball. That relationship should help Stemler in his stay in Bloomington.
"I was on the USA basketball committee with Kelvin for eight years," said Harrington. "I was the junior college representative and he was one of the NCAA representatives. I think Coach Sampson knows me and knows I run a class program. I'm not the typical junior college coach. I think that's important he knows the people he's getting players from."
Stemler should have a chance to contribute early for the Hoosiers with the departure of four graduating seniors, the transfer of forward Robert Vaden and the full committal of forward James Hardy to Indiana football.
"A lot of times a kid comes into a college program from a junior college and that program has kids that have been there and been through that system," said Harrington. "Now they have to learn the system and that takes them a longer time to adjust. In this situation all the kids are going to have to learn a new system. It's going to be an entirely different scenario than what would normally be if the coach was there for a while."
With the recent signing of 6-6, 245-pound forward Mike White, Sampson has added two JUCO transfers since coming to Indiana. White, a Springhill, La., native, was a standout junior college player at Lee (Texas) College.
Hoosiers Ink Second JUCO Transfer
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