Errek Suhr, Earl Calloway and Roderick Wilmont - Senior Salute
March 2, 2007
Senior Earl Calloway remembers when he really understood what being an Indiana basketball player was all about.
"The Duke game last season. It was probably the best atmosphere I have been in here," Calloway said. "It was a capacity crowd and the fifth game of the season, so it was very exciting."
Senior Roderick Wilmont remembers his first experience at Indiana.
"When I came out here for my visit, (the crowd) was all chanting `Rod-erick Wil-mont,'" Wilmont said. "They were playing Purdue. That was probably my best moment."
Senior Errek Suhr remembers the first time that he felt like he had made a difference.
"The Michigan game my sophomore year was the first game that I actually came out and made a big difference in a game," Suhr said. "I hit three 3s in the first half to give us the lead, and I felt like I could say `I made a difference tonight. I didn't just go out and play defense and hustle, I actually made a significant contribution.' That was my first good game, and I've had some games that have been pretty good since then."
In a few weeks, Calloway, Wilmont and Suhr will all join an elite fraternity of former Indiana basketball players. While they all came here at different times under different circumstances, they have been through a lot together, leading their teammates through changes made by a new coaching staff. However, all say that change has been good for the team.
"We are playing a lot harder and with more intensity this year," Calloway said. "We're having fun. The whole season has been a high point."
Suhr says that their roles as players and teammates have also changed.
Suhr, a Bloomington native, knows all about the tradition of Indiana. He went from walk-on to scholarship player in four years, and has become a fan favorite for his scrappy toughness on the court. Other coaches have also noticed Suhr's play. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski pulled him aside after a game earlier this season to offer him a few words of encouragement.
"He said some really nice things to me after that game. That's something I will take with me for the rest of my life," Suhr said. "I'm still amazed at the opportunity that I've been given here at Indiana and I just feel blessed. It's been a dream. Whether I'm on the bench or playing on the court, it can't get much better than playing here.
"When the crowd chants my name, I still can't get over that. When you have so much support from friends, family, and especially the fans, it's unbelievable. That's been my greatest IU moment - the very first time I heard them chanting my name. I just got giggly and started smiling," Suhr said.
Wilmont, who is a fifth-year senior, has flourished under a new coaching staff, earning a starting spot this year after being one of the Big Ten's top `sixth men' in the league last season. He is consistently a threat to lead Indiana in scoring or rebounding in any given game. Wilmont set a school-record with nine 3's against Northwestern on Feb. 28, and tied his career-high with 12 rebounds.
"The best part of playing at Indiana is getting to play at Assembly Hall every night. Every game it's packed no matter who we play," Wilmont said. "I have worked hard for everything since I've been here. I waited for everything, from getting playing time to being in the starting lineup, I had to work for it.
"My redshirt freshman year when I hit two big shots to win the game against Purdue, that and the Duke game last year were two of my favorite moments here," Wilmont said.
Calloway was the first junior college recruit in several years at Indiana when he joined the team in the fall of 2005. He has been consistent threat at the point guard position. Calloway was a big factor in Indiana's run in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, as he led the Hoosiers in points (13), rebounds (9), and assists (10) in Indiana's loss to Gonzaga.
Although the players realize the sun is setting on their careers, they know they have bright futures ahead of them.
"I'm excited about my life after basketball," Suhr said. "But I'm still going to miss everything about playing at Indiana."
Check back soon