Bloomington, Ind. – The watching and the waiting are finally over for a couple of Hoosier wings.
Junior college transfer Lance Stemler and redshirt freshman Joey Shaw are a pair of players who have yet to play a minute of basketball for Indiana, but their contributions could be huge for the Hoosiers this season.
The 6-6 Shaw and the 6-8 Stemler are both best known for their ability to shoot from the perimeter. Stemler was a junior college All-American a year ago after averaging 22.4 points and shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range at Southwest Illinois CC, while Shaw averaged 17.8 points and shot 53 percent from the floor as a high school senior two years ago.
But both can do more than just shoot the ball. The 210-pound Stemler can play in the paint and is a go-all-out-all-the-time type, while Shaw is long and showed signs of being a good rebounder during his redshirt 2005-06 campaign.
Now, the duo will finally get a chance to show what they can do for the Hoosiers.
"I can't wait," Shaw said. "It's a long time, last year just watching."
Shaw arrived at IU with impressive credentials from Arizona's Deer Valley H.S., but his 170-pound frame was the thing that held him back to most last winter. The decision was made early to sit him out a year ago so he could spend time in the weight room. That work has paid off, as he's since added nearly 25 pounds to get his weight up to 193.
"I'm still thin, but I was real thin back then," Shaw said. "I knew I was going to have to put on weight. Last year was very beneficial for me. It's helped so much to watch and learn – it taught me a lot. I don't regret it at all."
The added weight will enable him to match up with small forwards this season, something he probably would have struggled with a year ago due to his wiry frame.
"(The weight) helps on defense - so long as I keep getting stronger and they can't body me up, I'll be good," Shaw said.
While Shaw spent last season on the sidelines, Stemler spent it at Southwest Illinois CC. A one-time player at Bradley, Stemler is excited to be back in Division I basketball and playing for a program that he's always admired.
Stemler was a spring signee for Coach Kelvin Sampson, someone who fulfilled a need in terms of both size and perimeter shooting skills.
"I see myself as a person who can spread the floor out for D.J. (White) and Ben (Allen), and to open up the offense," Stemler said. "I think I'll be a bit of a decision-maker. I'll probably be more of a perimeter-oriented four-man who can also play the three at times. I'll also be someone who brings hustle, someone who does the little things on the court."
Both have impressive credentials, but they also both realize it's a big jump from where they've been to where they're trying to go with the Hoosiers.
"It's a huge leap (from junior college)," Stemler said. "I think the size and the speed is the biggest thing, plus the strength. That's what you have to get used to. But playing wit the guys over the summer, getting used to playing against D.J. everyday has helped a lot."
Well Worth the Wait...and Weight
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