Bloomington – As soon as Tom Pritchard arrived in town, IU Coach Tom Crean knew he wanted to see less of him.
It wasn't that the rookie big man wasn't a welcomed sight around Assembly Hall. To the contrary, Crean knew that as one of the few big men on the roster, he'd have to play a big role and play a great deal. But for that to happen, he also knew he'd have to get into better shape.
When the Ohio native arrived to Bloomington in the summer he was a rather robust 270 pounds. But thanks to a much improved diet and some long hours in the weight room, Pritchard says he's dropped nearly 25 pounds and is down to the 245-248 pound range.
"Now that you stretch some days together with him you see the job (strength and conditioning coach) Jeff Watkinson did with him in helping him get stronger and lose weight," Crean said.
Pritchard said his diet for the better part of a month consisted of salad and grilled chicken everyday, and he hasn't been sampling the local fast food restaurants since he's been in town. That commitment has paid off on the scales, which was a prerequisite if Pritchard was going to be able to be a significant contributor on the floor.
Now that he's done that, his prospects for a big debut season are on the rise. Crean singled Pritchard out as a player who has impressed him during the first week of practice.
"Tom Pritchard is going to be a very, very good player for us and get a lot of opportunities right now," Crean said. "He's gaining more confidence all the time."
Pritchard admits that his confidence has been on the rise. Much of IU's offensive output in the post figures to come from Pritchard this season, although he's also capable of luring a big man away from the basket as well to knock down a mid-range jump shot.
"I think my shot is getting better, I'm starting to finish around the basket," Pritchard said. "It always helps my confidence when I'm finishing and making shots. Coach is there to encourage me and tell me what to do."
One of the things that Crean has been imploring Pritchard and the rest of his teammates to do is to be more vocal when they're on the floor. That doesn't necessarily come naturally for Pritchard, who is a soft-spoken big man who says being more talkative has been the biggest obstacle he's had to challenge to date.
But Crean's approach in practice has helped Pritchard overcome that hurdle.
"Coach Crean is really intense and he wants everyone communicating on the court," Pritchard said. "It's really Coach Crean that fires me up with his intensity. He gets me wound up for practice."
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Less Means More of Pritchard
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