Bloomington, Ind. – For recent IU basketball signee Lance Stemler, there was just something that felt right about Indiana.
The 6-8, 205-pound forward from Southwestern Illinois College said he felt that during his official visit to IU over the weekend and it didn't leave once he returned home Sunday. In his mind, that was a message about where he needed to play his college basketball.
"I went back home and thought about it, but the feeling I got when I was on campus never really left me," said Stemler, who was hosted by Errek Suhr. "The visit was great, between playing in Assembly Hall with the guys and the campus was awesome.
"Something in me told me it was the place I wanted to be."
Stemler went with that feeling and finalized the matter Tuesday, signing a national letter of intent to play for IU Coach Kelvin Sampson beginning in the fall. Stemler, who picked the Hoosiers over Marquette, St. Louis and Nebraska, is also the second spring signee for Sampson, joining Lee (Texas) College forward Mike White.
Stemler said one of the things that stood out about Indiana was the opportunity he'd have to be a factor early. He will be one of only three scholarship players on the roster standing taller than 6-6 along with sophomores D.J. White and Ben Allen.
"I think that was definitely a positive," Stemler said. "I only have two years left. If the opportunity to play wasn't almost certain, I almost wouldn't have looked at it. But since it's there and it's a need for them, that was a big key in my decision."
A 22-points-per-game scorer this past season for a Southwestern Illinois team that went 34-4, Stemler figures to be a nice complement to D.J. White on the IU frontline. While Stemler said Sampson envisions him being a power forward at IU who can also slide over and play small forward on occasion, his ability to stretch the defense from behind the 3-point arc will free up White in the paint.
"I think I can spread the floor for D.J. so they can't double and help down off me onto him," Stemler said. "It give him more one-on-one chances in the post. I'm also decent in the post, and if I draw a mismatch I can go in the post and D.J. can shoot it out on the floor also. So we help each other out."
With that in mind, though, Stemler knows there's something he needs to do before he arrives on the IU campus in the fall.
"I definitely need to put on some weight," Stemler said. "That's really the main thing I'm going to concentrate on now - putting on some pounds."
While the chance to be a contributor right away was big for Stemler, so was Kelvin Sampson.
"Coach Sampson was great," Stemler said. "I really liked him, and we hit it off.
"He's had success with junior college players – why that is, I don't know – but he has, and that was a big plus because some coaches don't really coach junior college players. I think he understands them and helps them make the transition."
Stemler Talks About IU Commitment
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