Bloomington – Bobby Capobianco knows he's going to have to fill two roles at Indiana.
The 6'8", 230-pound high senior from Loveland (Ohio) H.S. will arrive on campus next fall as one of the members of IU's celebrated recruiting class, one that will give the Hoosiers' roster a much-needed infusion of beef and brawn on the inside. Capobianco will be among the biggest in the group, and he expects IU Coach Tom Crean to put that size to immediate use.
"Tom (Pritchard) and Tijan (Jobe) are big bodies, but when I come in I'll have to provide the rebounding and the banging around," Capobianco said. "At this point I think I'm the most physically ready for Big Ten basketball out of the bigs that we have (in the 2009 class)."
Capobianco is probably right. Fellow freshmen-to-be frontliners Derek Elston and Christian Watford both have similar height, but they don't have the same sort of frame that Capobianco possesses. While both Elston and Watford are capable of matching up with athletic power forwards, they'd likely have issues defensively against the back-to-the-basket big men that most Big Ten teams possess.
Capobianco says he is willing and able to spend his debut season toiling in the paint, but he suspects as time goes on he'll eventually make a move to the perimeter. That's something Crean has talked to him about as well, and the Hoosier coach has visions of Capobianco someday playing a role similar to the one played by Marquette standout Lazar Hayward.
The 6-6, 225-pound Hayward was a second-team All-Big East choice a year ago, averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. While he was the Golden Eagles' primary inside scorer, he was also the team's leading 3-point shooter by percentage, making 41-of-91 attempts (45.1 percent).
"Since the first day I had my visit up at Marquette, that was the position he wanted me to play," Capobianco said. "Every time I've watched film with Coach Crean, he's made it clear that's the position I'm going to fill.
"Lazar is a guy who if he has someone on him who is skinny and couldn't deal with his size they could put him on the block and in the short corners."
The perimeter jump shot is also part of Hayward's repertoire, and Capobianco has also proven to be a very capable face-up shooter as well at Loveland and on the AAU circuit with the Indiana Elite squad.
"I'm not saying I'll take a lot of 3s, but having that ability, depending on who's guarding me, I can work from the low post out to the corner and back in," Capobianco said.
Capobianco is already looking forward to the chance to do just that in an IU uniform. He's excited to have the chance to learn the position from Crean, who he believes gets an undeserved reputation as a coach who places most of the emphasis on his team's guard play. It's a label that the recruiting competition has tried to use against IU's coach when it comes to big men, but Capobianco thinks nothing could be further from the truth.
"A lot of people formed their opinions on what he had at Marquette, which was Dwyane Wade – and anyone would put the ball in his hands – and then the guard guard combo he had last year," Capobianco said. "But out of any coach I was in contact with, he's the best developer of anyone. Whether you're a big man or a point guard, I felt he could be the best developmental coach.
"Whatever rap he has, people aren't paying enough attention to what he's doing with the big guys."
Role Will Likely Change for Capobianco
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