Sheehey nutures grudges, celebrates triumphs
by Zak Keefer, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — He is bullish and brazen on the court, his 6-7 frame hardwired with attitude. It’s what drives Indiana’s Will Sheehey.
Watch him drill a 3-pointer, then jab three fingers at his forehead to celebrate.
Watch him bark at Purdue’s student section after a basket and a foul, flexing his biceps and waving his arm. Watch him smile as they boo.
Watch him throw down a thunderous dunk on an Iowa player, then nod his head as he runs back on defense.
It’s all part of the unmistakable edge.
“There needs to be one on every single team, and he’s ours,” said former Indiana teammate Kory Barnett, now a graduate assistant for the team. “It’s not even close.”
Adam Ross, Sheehey’s high school coach, has long known the origins of his attitude.
“He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, doesn’t he?” Ross said. “It’s almost out of necessity. He thinks, ‘I have to take this approach to be the player I need to be.’
“To be, for lack of a better term, the hard-ass.”
‘Who is this kid?’
Now listen to the bristling words that come from of the Indiana junior guard.
“No one liked me when I first came on campus,” he said on a radio show this fall. “They were all like, ‘Who is this kid?’ “
And to a group of reporters after a win over Iowa this season: “There’s games when I don’t shoot well and you guys blast me and say I suck. It’s cool. It’s cool. We all know how it works.”
There was also the odd scene at Hoosier Hysteria last fall. During player introductions — where dancing, singing, and goofing around is welcomed and, to a degree, expected — Sheehey simply jogged onto the court, a deadpan expression on his face.
No jumping. No shouting. No dancing. Nothing.
“He embraces his role,” Ross explains. “He’s not going to take any crap. He plays the way he does because so many people told him he’d never make it, never thought he’d play Division I, never mind the Big Ten.”
Sometimes Sheehey, who declined to be interviewed for this story, … [For more on Indiana's brash Will Sheehey nutures grudges, celebrates triumphs, click here.]