One Step At A Time
Oct. 20, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - College basketball teams across the country are wrapping up their first full week of regular season practice. And while head coaches are focused on installing their offensive and defensive schemes, Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson has an even greater emphasis for his Hoosiers.
"Whatever we're doing has to be done at high speed. You have got to get in habits. If something happens once, it's an accident. If it happens twice, it could be a coincidence. However, when something happens three or four times, it usually becomes a habit," Sampson said. "We're trying to teach habits here. We are creating good habits like rebounding. Rebounding is a habit. You've got to play hard to do that. You can't lollygag through drills early in practice and think you are going to be a great player at the end of practice. From watching them Saturday through Wednesday, I see improvements in certain areas. We have a long way to go."
Sampson has often said that basketball players are made from April to October, and basketball teams are made from October through March.
"With 13 new guys, there is just so much learning. I really appreciate that our kids are really trying. That means a lot. They are trying to do well, trying to please," Sampson said. "Coach (Rob) Senderoff spends a lot of time working with the post players in practice. Coach (Jeff) Meyer spends a lot of time working with the wings. Coach (Ray) McCallum spends a lot of time with the points. Everybody's new and we are just trying to take baby steps. We haven't done anything earth shattering yet. I'm very much an `a-b-c' teacher. You don't go to `b' until you are really good at `a' and you don't even think about `c' until you know how to do `a' and `b.'"
Whether the Hoosiers are on `a', `b', `c' or `z', it all starts with steady point guard play.
"Earl Calloway has to learn to play at variable speeds" Sampson said. "He's learning how to run the team. That's going to be a process for him. We still want to take advantage of his speed. His speed is an advantage as long as he learns how to change gears. Sometimes, he needs to slow down and make his teammates better."
"I'm finding out about leadership in the last 30 minutes of a three-hour practice," Sampson said. "You can pick captains, but you can't elect a leader. That's not something you choose, your leader evolves."
Sampson and his staff host the first annual Kelvin Sampson Indiana Basketball Coaches Clinic on Oct. 20 and 21. Sampson says that this event is just as valuable for the IU program as it is for the participating high school coaches.
"I love clinics. I love sharing information," Sampson said. " If I go to watch a high school game and a team scores on an out-of-bounds play five straight times, I'm going to run it. I've been known to pull a high school coach aside during a clinic and say, `show me your best sideline out-of-bounds play versus pressure.' I'm always trying to add something."
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