Touch Every Line
Oct. 10, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - - The phrase "Touch Every Line" adorns the back of Indiana basketball players' t-shirts and is often repeated by Coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff during workouts. But the value of these three words goes well beyond Branch McCracken Court at Assembly Hall.
"Touch Every Line is our team motto, and it means more than touching every line when we run during conditioning," junior forward D.J. White said. "It's how we operate in everything we do - in the classroom and being a good person on and off the court."
After weeks of a rigorous conditioning and individual workouts program, Indiana tips off the season with Hoosier Hysteria on Friday, Oct. 13 on ESPNU. College basketball players always count down the days to the start of the season, but the 2006-07 Hoosiers have a renewed purpose.
"Some of the court sessions with (strength and conditioning) Coach (Jeff) Watkinson have been pretty intense, but it is also relevant to what we're doing and what we need," sophomore center Ben Allen said. "One practice starts, it will be a whole new level of intensity, but it will be basketball related. We all see the point to conditioning. It will help get to where we're going."
Indeed, Sampson is steering the Hoosiers in the right direction.
"I like his intensity and enthusiasm about the game," White said. "He knows a lot about the game and can help us in a lot of different ways, especially defensively. That's his specialty and what he loves to do - defense and rebounding."
Allen is confident that he and his teammates can become a reflection of their head coach.
"The way he assets himself, his demeanor is very professional," Allen said. "The fans will see him get into the game. He is very passionate person, and it will show on the sideline."
But as White is quick to point out, there is another side to the IU head coach.
"People see him as serious and intense, but he is also a fun guy to talk to," White said. "He jokes with us (players). It's like he's one of us. He has a great personality and a good sense of humor."
Indiana's off-season workouts have done much more than enhance the Hoosiers' physical and cardiovascular strength.
"Everything that we do is at a high level. Conditioning, individual workouts," White said. "We're going at a fast pace all the time. It's good for us. It was tough at the beginning (with the 6 a.m. workouts), but once your body gets used to it, you're fine. Working hard as a team has pulled us closer together."
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