BLOOMINGTON –Loveland (Ohio) Coach Tim Partin remembers what he thought when he first laid eyes on Bobby Capobianco three years ago.
"He looked like a big strong farm kid," Partin said.
While Capobianco has transformed himself into an intimidating 6-8, 225-pound power forward, he didn't always look the part. Partin said Capobianco was closer to 6'6" and 240 pounds when he first arrived at Loveland H.S., a very skilled player who needed to address his weight and conditioning.
Capobianco freely admits that was an issue early on in his prep career.
"I struggled with my weight," Capobianco said. "I was at about 250, I was hefty, and it made me slow."
But that has since changed. Partin said his standout made a commitment to getting into better shape in between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and he's been reaping the benefits ever since. Capobianco averaged a little more than 20 points and 11 rebounds in each of the past two seasons, and he recently accepted a scholarship offer from Indiana to play for Coach Tom Crean.
Capobianco is in Bloomington today along with his family to meet with Crean for the first time since making his announcement. He's the second player to pledge to IU's '09 class, joining Tipton (Ind.) forward Derek Elston.
He'll also become the second member of his immediate family to play major college basketball. His mother, Barbara, played at Vanderbilt from 1982-85 and is the seventh all-time leading scorer at the SEC school with 1,631 points.
A three-star player according to Scout.com, Capobianco's stock and ranking have been rising dramatically as of late. He's getting a great deal of exposure playing on a loaded Indiana Elite AAU squad, and he's making the most of it in front of talent evaluators this spring.
Partin has seen Capobianco for the last three years, and has been sold on the type of player IU is bringing in.
"He's a big kid, a big post player who can step out to shoot the 3," Partin said. "He's a very good passer and he has a great knowledge and feel for the game. He's also a very strong kid. If you get him on the block, you can't move him."
Those are some of the skills that originally caught Crean's eye, and why he was the first to offer him a scholarship last spring. That offer carried over to Bloomington once Crean took the IU job, but there were still a few nervous days for Capobianco once Crean made the move.
"The timing wasn't really good because it was a dead period (when Crean was named IU's head coach) and coaches couldn't talk to the kids," Partin said. "That made him a little nervous, but I told him you have to understand it's a dead period and they have to get settled. So just be patient and see what happens."
What happened was Crean's staff did eventually get in touch with Capobianco, and he quickly accepted the scholarship offer.
While other major conference schools were showing interest, Partin said he wasn't surprised Capobianco jumped at the chance to play form Crean in Bloomington.
" I wasn't surprised since it was IU," Partin said. "Originally he said he'd wait until June to make a decision, but there were a few schools that if they come, what are you going to wait for? If an Indiana or a Kentucky or a Duke or North Carolina comes calling, what are you going to wait for? What's going to be better?"
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