posted 8 years ago
BLOOMINGTON - Good news, Indiana basketball fans. Not everyone is picking the Hoosiers to finish last in the Big Ten.
USA Today, for instance, puts IU at No. 10, just ahead of perennial doormat Northwestern.
This is no surprise considering the Hoosiers will field basically a brand-new roster full of freshmen and junior-college transfers in the aftermath of sanctions over alleged recruiting violations by former coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff.
“A lot of people are throwing us in the dirt right now,” junior-college transfer Devan Dumes said. “It doesn't bother me. I really feel like we'll spark something that will be great for Indiana basketball tradition.”
For now, greatness is reserved for the six-player Class of 2009 that ranks third nationally by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service.
That won't help the Hoosiers this season. The only player with Big Ten experience is former walk-on Kyle Taber, who averaged 1.3 points last season. No matter, said Dumes during Wednesday's media event at Assembly Hall.
“It's not that weird. We'll have fun. It will be the start of something special.”
The preseason trashing provides motivation, and that's not a bad thing, Taber said.
“We'll do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen,” he said about last-place predictions. “We're planning on that not happening.”
Those plans include walk-ons. IU already has five on the team, and it could be six or seven after coaches are done with tryouts. Thirty prospects showed up for Tuesday's tryout session. Coach Tom Crean said there will be one more tryout by the end of the month.