Bloomington – Matt Roth's Indiana University career gets underway today.
The Washington, Ill., product and IU Class of 2008 signee said last week that he would be moving to Bloomington today (June 10) in an effort to get acclimated to his college home. He'll arrive a couple of days before the start of Indiana University's second summer session of classes, which get underway next week.
While getting acclimated to college-level coursework is one of Roth's goals, he's also looking to get acquainted with an IU roster that has a very different look than what it did when he signed with the Hoosiers last November. Indiana will have at least nine new faces on the roster after the mass exodus of players following the coaching change.
"I want to get over there to get to know my teammates and develop a good chemistry," Roth said. "That's one of the main things we have to focus on – developing that team chemistry."
Roth will also look to get better acquainted with his new head coach, Tom Crean. While Roth was originally lured to Bloomington by Coach Kelvin Sampson's staff, he andTom Pritchard both decided to stick with their IU commitments after the previous staff departed. Since then Roth has been to Bloomington twice and has been able to sit down with Crean on both occasions.
"I think it's going to be a great opportunity for me and I think he's the right guy for the job," Roth said. "I think he's willing to get this turned around and get it back to where it was."
While Roth figured that the two marquee players from last year's squad – D.J. White and Eric Gordon – would be lost to the NBA, he didn't necessarily anticipate the losses of the likes of Eli Holman, Brandon McGee, Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis and DeAndre Thomas. While it's a situation that could result in some growing pains next year, Roth said he understands why Crean needed to make some of those changes.
"Once they named the coach I knew there might be some changes, I just didn't know how many or what," Roth said. "But I knew he was going to do whatever he thought was necessary to get the program turned around."
With so many new faces making up the Hoosiers' 2008-09 roster, Roth will be one of the players counted on to help turn those fortunes around. The 6-3 shooting guard averaged 22 points a year ago and set a new Illinois state record for 3-pointers while leading Washington to the state finals.
Roth was in Bloomington last week during AAU teammate Emmanuel Negedu's official visit to Bloomington and impressed on-lookers at open gym. He's added 10 pounds to his frame since the high school season came to a close (he's now up to 185 pounds) and he continued to display the short of proficiency from behind the 3-point arc that figures to make him one the Big Ten's best perimeter shooters.
That ability to knock down shots is why Sampson's staff originally targeted him, and it's also what has impressed Crean as well.
"I think (Crean) sees me as someone who can step up and knock down big shots when it comes to crunch time," Roth said.
Roth Arrives in Bloomington Today
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