IU freshmen try to live up to predecessors
by Zak Keefer, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON — The questions typically come right after the workout is complete, when Indiana’s freshmen basketball players are out of breath, soaked in sweat and anxious to hear how they stack up.
“How many reps would Victor do?” one will ask.
“How many shots would Jordan make in a row?” comes another.
The new faces of these new-look Hoosiers — who officially began practice Friday afternoon — have heard the stories. Moving forward, it is the measuring stick they use.
They’ve heard of Victor Oladipo’s weight room sessions, of the untold hours he spent building his body and honing a jump shot that didn’t exist when he arrived on campus.
They’ve heard of Jordan Hulls’ legendary shooting drills, of the former IU shooter missing only a handful of shots in a two- or three-hour session.
“It’s mind-blowing, to be honest,” said Stanford Robinson, a 6-4 freshman guard from Landover, Md. “I’m always asking the coaches, ‘How did I compare to Victor at this stage? How many shots would Jordan make in this drill?’ “
They’ve heard, too, about Christian Watford, about Cody Zeller. About the 5,322 combined points those four players scored during their careers in Bloomington. About the Sweet Sixteen runs. About the Big Tenchampionship.
That was the group that returned the Hoosiers to their spot among college basketball’s elite.
This is the one tasked with sustaining it.
“It’s preached to us every day,” added fellow freshman Devin Davis, a Warren Central High School product. “It’s ‘Get in the gym every day, do what those guys did.’ They really set the example. They really set the bar high.”
That group — Oladipo, Hulls, Watford and Zeller — formed the backbone of a team that won 56 games over the past two seasons. Combined, they scored 67 percent of the team’s points a year ago.
“It’s a great measure of excellence that (the freshmen) are trying to supercede,” IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson said. “Those guys were the foundation of this program coming back to where it’s been traditionally. These players are here because they want to take it a step further.”
They are learning. And it’s not always easy.
Yogi Ferrell, entering his … [For more on Indiana freshmen try to live up to their predecessors, click here.]