Adam Ahlfeld - Living the Dream
Dec. 11, 2006
Junior Adam Ahlfeld is living the dream of thousands of Hoosier faithful as a third-year walk-on for the Indiana basketball team. A life-long IU fan, Ahlfeld fully understands and appreciates what it means to wear the esteemed Cream and Crimson.
Despite being nowhere near the biggest guy on the court, the Indianapolis native has become a crowd favorite, as the energetic 6-0 guard explodes off the bench at timeouts to provide extra energy at critical junctures in the game; a role he has embraced as well.
"I try to encourage the guys on the court as much as I can, because it's so important to have a lot of positive support when you are out there against some of the best players in the country day-in and day-out," Ahlfeld said. "That effort and support from the bench is something that I know I can give every time whether I am going to get in the game or not. I use my energy to contribute in any way possible to help the team."
In addition to keeping the team's intensity high at all times, Ahlfeld contributes in other ways. His reserve role for the Hoosiers allows him to pick up important elements of the game and relay those to the five on the floor.
"During the games, I pay close attention to what the other team is doing and the type of defense they are running so I can help the guys in the game see things that they might otherwise not pick up on," Ahlfeld said. "Anytime I can talk them through something from the sideline that helps them pick up a screen or find the open man is positive for this team. I try to communicate as much as I can, support the guys on floor and do whatever I can to help us get better and win games."
With the hiring of head coach Kelvin Sampson at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Ahlfeld's role on the team became somewhat uncertain. For the energetic Hoosier and the first-year coach, the transition was smooth thanks to a shared passion to make the team the best it can be.
"Coach Sampson met with each of us after he arrived and told us what he wanted and expected out of his walk-ons," Ahlfeld said. "He basically told me that if he asked me to run through a brick wall, he expected me to ask if I can get a running start. I want to do whatever is best for the team and whatever will help the entire program succeed, and that is what Coach wants out of me as well. For all of the players, he wants us to work hard and play with intensity every time we step on the court. Those are important keys to winning regardless of your role on this team."
Ahlfeld's ties to Indiana basketball run deep, as he is the son of former Indiana guard Steve Ahlfeld, who lettered for the Hoosiers from 1972-75 and has spent the last 20 years as IU's team orthopedic surgeon. From father to son and from former to current Hoosier, Ahlfeld has taken a lot of his elder's advice to heart.
"My dad, having played here, told me to just enjoy every day I have in this program," Ahlfeld said. "You never know when something could happen and you might never play basketball again. He told me to have fun, but also to enjoy all of the tradition and fanfare of IU basketball. Even when I was growing up, my dad told me to always work your butt off and do whatever you can to help the team be successful. Above all else, my father has instilled in me the importance of working hard and having a good attitude."
The chance to follow in his father's footsteps and to pursue his life-long dream are opportunities Ahlfeld cherishes.
"I grew up an IU fan," Ahlfeld said. "It's always been a dream of mine to wear the Cream and Crimson and play basketball here.
There is nowhere else I would rather play or be than at Indiana, especially this year. This year is going to be really special. I am so appreciative of Coach Sampson and this program for giving me the opportunity to continue to be a part of this tradition. To represent a program like Indiana's is an incredible feeling."
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