Joey Shaw - Ready To Play
Nov. 16, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - College coaches decide to redshirt incoming freshmen for a variety of reasons. Maybe there is an abundance of depth at a particular position, and a coach wants to preserve the student-athlete's first year of eligibility. Perhaps the student-athlete needs a year to physically mature in order to compete at the major level. It also may be in the student-athlete's best interest to take a year off from competition to adjust to the challenge of balancing athletics and academics.
Regardless of the objective, the decision to redshirt is a significant transition for any student-athlete. After all, they were each the star of their high school and AAU teams, not to mention the fact that they have been participating in that sport since a very early age.
Indiana redshirt freshman guard Joey Shaw arrived in Bloomington in August 2005 carrying some impressive credentials. Not only did he rank among the nation's top high school senior guards, but he averaged 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting .530 from the floor as a senior at Deer Valley High School in Glendale, Ariz. He capped off his final high school campaign with 17 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action at the prestigious Derby Festival Classic in Louisville.
Despite the prep accolades, the Indiana coaching staff felt that Shaw would be best served to sit out a year in order to bulk up his then 6-6, 170-pound frame. Shaw not only heeded the staff's advice, but he worked to become a student of the game.
"It helped mentally and physically," Shaw said. "I've gotten faster and stronger, and I learned how the (college) game is played, how fast it is and how you cannot take off any plays.
While sitting on the bench, Shaw did more than just encourage his teammates.
"You notice things like who can shoot, who takes it to the rim well and who boxes out," Shaw said. "You can't take off any plays, because even a couple plays can hurt the team. I learned that you pick up on those things more by watching."
After a year of honing his game on the court, in the weight room and watching film, Shaw is ready to get back to action. In his debut, he turned in six points, four rebounds, one assist and one turnover in Indiana's 91-66 victory over Lafayette on Nov. 13.
The true value of Coach Kelvin Sampson's rigorous conditioning program goes well beyond the 25 pounds Shaw added to his 6-6 frame.
"Joey is learning how hard he needs to work at this level," strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Watkinson said. "He is learning the importance of focus, nutrition, rest and recovery."
"It was tough, because our bodies weren't used to it," Shaw said of the 6 a.m. weight room and conditioning workouts. "Coach pushes you until you can't go anymore. When you finish, you're proud of what you accomplished."
While the Hoosiers have shown progress through the conditioning program and the two exhibition games, they also know better than to rest on their laurels.
"Joey is a gifted and skilled player, but he knows he needs to work hard in order to keep getting better," Watkinson said. "He needs to keep educating himself."
"Our conditioning is going to help us a lot," Shaw said of the Hoosiers' approach to relentless defense and rebounding. "That's what Coach is really trying to put into play, so that is what we're trying to do I'm in way better shape than I have ever been, so hopefully that will pay off."
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