Bloomington, Ind. – Kelvin Sampson has already sent a message to Earl Calloway and D.J. White about what he expects from the duo at Friday's Hoosier Hysteria…and every other practice this season.
The first-year Hoosier coach says there are three people who can never have a bad practice – the head coach, the team's point guard and the team's best player. With Calloway expected to handle the majority of the work at the point and with White clearly the team's marquee player, the onus has been placed on that duo to lead the Hoosiers on a day-in, day-out basis.
"We can't afford to have a bad practice," says Calloway.
Calloway is coming off a junior season that saw him start slow but finish strong. The 6-3, 173-pounder averaged 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds per game a season ago, but saw those numbers jump to 8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists during the season's final 12 games, all of which he started. In the NCAA tourney, Calloway scored 18 points and had six steals in IU's win over San Diego State in round one, and then followed that up with a 13-point, nine-rebound, ten-assist, zero-turnover effort against Gonzaga in round two.
Those performances might have caught some by surprise, but not Calloway.
"I knew I could do that," Calloway said. "It was no surprise (to me). I didn't wake up and go, ‘wow!'
"I'm looking to bring a positive effect on this team."
The same goes for White, the Hoosiers' 6-9, 251-pound sophomore who played in only five games last year and averaged 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds. He's fully recovered from a pair of broken bones in his foot that derailed his 2005-06 campaign, and he's poised to be one of the best players in the Big Ten this winter.
A good athlete, White will also be a part of an IU offense that figures to push the tempo a bit more than Mike Davis' teams did the last couple of years.
"(Coach Sampson) is going to put me in a position to score and show a lot of different things," White said. "Me running the floor, that's a key too, and that's why we're conditioning so hard. I think more up-tempo is going to be good for me."
Fast break opportunities will be big for White, who figures to be the focal point of most opposing defenses as well. While Indiana did add some frontcourt depth with the signing of junior college players Lance Stemler and Mike White in the spring, D.J. White knows he'll be faced with plenty of double teams throughout the upcoming season.
"If you're a good player, you're going to face double teams no matter what," White said. "But sharing the ball, it's always going to come back to you. So with double teams, just be cool, make the right pass, and I'll be fine with that. We've got shooters around me."
There are plenty of complementary parts surrounding White and Calloway, but both know how important they are to the team's success on a daily basis.
"We're the coaches on the floor, I'm a coach on the floor," Calloway said. "We have to carry on what coach wants us to do, and DJ has to perform. He's our best player, our most impact player. We have to get him the ball and let us create off him. That's a major focus."
If they can do that, White thinks this Indiana team can be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten, despite the fact most preseason publications are pointing to Wisconsin and Ohio State as the league favorites.
"I think we can," White said. "The talent we have, the youngsters we have, the confidence we have, I feel we'll be fine."
Plenty Expected From White, Calloway
Peegs.com Top Stories
Breakout season for Juwan Morgan?A healthy shoulder and a slimmer body added to a year of experience could mean a breakout season for Juwan Morgan.
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 27Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
Kevin Wilson Radio Show recapKevin Wilson had his weekly radio show tonight and Peegs.com has a recap of what the IU head coach talked about.
Peegs.comYesterday at 4:09 PM
Following the Future: IU commits in actionPeegs.com recaps how each member of the 2017 Indiana recruiting class performed in their most recent game, and what is next on the schedule for every Hoosier commit.
Peegs.comYesterday at 12:33 PM