Mighty Mite Suhr Making it Big
Jan. 17, 2007
For senior Errek Suhr, there is no better time than the present. The son of former Indiana football assistant coach Buck Suhr, the feisty 5-9 guard grew up in the shadows of Assembly Hall, and as he embarks on his final campaign in the Cream and Crimson, Suhr's childhood dream has become a reality.
As a result of his unmatchable work ethic, heart and solid play off the bench, Suhr went from being a walk-on his first two seasons to earning a scholarship at the start of the 2005-06 season. He undoubtedly proved his worth that season, playing in all but three games, while taking a team-high 14 charges and recording an assist-to-turnover ration of just under 3:1 that season.
Suhr picked up this season right where he left off. After providing a key spark off the bench for the Hoosiers against No. 10/11 Duke, where he recorded five points, two steal and a pair of rebounds, Suhr earned his first career start in the Hoosiers' 74-57 win over Charlotte on Dec. 2.
Although Suhr went from a walk-on to earning a scholarship and regular minutes for IU, he believes his role on the team has not changed.
"My role is to do whatever it takes to help the team win," Suhr said. "I've said it for a while, if it means being a practice player for four years or a starter, I will do whatever it takes to win."
In the second start of his career against border-rival Kentucky on Dec. 9, Suhr tallied a season-high six points in the closely contested game against the Wildcats. As one of three seniors on a very young Indiana team, Suhr has assumed a leadership role and understands the value of being a good teammate in the equation for success.
"I remember when I was a freshman how much faster and how much harder you have to play when you are in college, and that was a shock to me," Suhr said. "Personally, I have tried to help guys like Armon (Bassett) by just encouraging him. I realize how talented he is, and he needs a lot of encouragement. His confidence is something that is really important to the entire team."
Bassett isn't the only Hoosier that has benefited from Suhr's leadership. Junior college transfer Lance Stemler credits Suhr for his smooth transition to Indiana.
"Being a senior and being from Bloomington, Errek knows just about everything about this town, the school and the program," Stemler said. "Every day for the first few months I was here, he would ask me how I am doing and if I needed anything. He's been a great teammate and friend since the day I set foot on campus."
Although leadership is a quality that comes naturally for Suhr, he acknowledges his time as a walk-on for shaping the player he is in his final season for IU.
"I felt that every day in practice or in the weight room, I had something to prove," Suhr said. "That mindset absolutely shapes your work ethic and the player you are. I couldn't let up once because when I let up, it's obvious. When the big talents on the team let up, it's not always as noticeable. When I'm out there I have to go as hard as I possibly can at all times, otherwise I am not going to be worth much to the team."
Suhr is no stranger to IU Athletics, as his father served as the running backs coach for 12 years under head coach Bill Mallory before assuming the administrative assistant role for two. While an assistant for the Hoosiers, the elder Suhr helped IU to an impressive six bowl appearances.
"I remember growing up and going to all of the home football games," Suhr said of watching his father coach. "I can remember laying underneath the bleachers on a blanket playing with my G.I. Joes while my dad coached. I have always been an IU fan, and I have to credit my family for that."
From father to son and coach to athlete, Suhr has taken to heart much of the advice and lessons his father has shared with him.
"My dad is pretty laid back, but the lesson he has instilled in me the most is how hard I compete," Suhr said. "Sports aren't worth playing if you aren't competing. He has never been afraid to get on me and push me if I wasn't competing and doing everything to the best of my ability."
Growing up in Bloomington and a life-long IU fan, Suhr cherishes the opportunity to be able to represent Indiana on the hardwood.
"I love playing basketball for IU," Suhr said. "I couldn't ask for anything better. When I was asked to walk-on almost four years ago, it was a no-brainer. I always dreamed about playing for a big-time college program and to play for the one I grew up loving and watching is a dream come true for me."
As Suhr reaches the midway point of his final campaign as a Hoosier, he reflects on his most memorable moment playing for Indiana.
"I am living it right now," Suhr said. "To pinpoint the most memorable moment would be tough because I am living it each and every day."
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