Ready to run
Transition offense will be on display Friday against St. Joseph's
By Andy Romey
IU coach Mike Davis has long said he wants to construct a transition game, but he just hasn't had the tools to build it. In years past, preseason plans to pick up the pace have generally been foiled as the season unraveled.\nBut this year, he has reason to believe otherwise. Davis' blueprint for a high-tempo offense finally has its pieces in place, and the show is set to begin at 8 p.m. tonight against Saint Joseph's College (Ind.) in Assembly Hall.\n"You play according to your personnel, and our personnel is athletic and fast, so we're really going to try to push the ball up the court," Davis said. "Before we really didn't have the pieces to go up and down the court because the minutes were so limited with our personnel, and now we have backup guys who could start."\nA key addition to this year's personnel comes to the Hoosiers from Georgia Perimeter Junior College. Junior guard Earl Calloway is expected to provide an important piece to the transition puzzle -- speed.\n"He's quick as lightning," sophomore forward D.J. White said. "He can push the ball up and down the court. That's what we're trying to do this year."\nCalloway joins a guard pool rich with capable ball handlers. Senior guard Lewis Monroe is the named starter after proving himself for three seasons at Auburn, including a 12 point, no turnover performance against eventual champion Syracuse in the 2003 Sweet 16. Senior Marshall Strickland will start at off-guard but spent the past two seasons playing at the point. \n"I think (having so many potential point guards) helps our transition game a ton," Strickland said. "One guy doesn't always have to come back and get the ball."\nBut the guards won't be the only instrumental pieces to the running game. The offense all starts with the big guys rebounding and concludes with them underneath the basket at the other end.\n"We've got to rebound the ball first, not be too lazy and get the ball up the court quick," Davis said. "You don't need to run and shoot that jump shot, you need to run and try to get it inside."\nStrickland said he is confident in his frontcourt's transition ability.\n"Marco (Killingsworth) can really run the floor ... D.J. (White), he's starting to learn from Marco, actually," Strickland said. "The way Marco gets up and down the floor first is better than any big guy in the Big Ten."\nKillingsworth and White aren't the only big men capable of running. Freshman forward Cem Dinc, at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds ran the 100-meter dash in 10.8 seconds. And freshman Ben Allen has been described as a wingman in a center's disguise.\n"Ben is like Dirk (Nowitzki). He's 6'10", and you can't block his shots," Killingsworth said. "He should lead our team in three-point percentage." \nThe running game, however, doesn't come without cost.\n"They condition the hell out of us," Killingsworth said. "They always emphasize, 'DJ get down the court, DJ get down the court, Marco run under the post.' Every time I get a rebound, I hear (Davis') voice."\nDavis said his squad is currently in the developmental stages of the transition offense, labeling what's going on now as "just trying to push the ball." He still remains realistic in his endeavor.\n"Everybody wants to run in October, but when November and December roll around, you start playing against other people and all of a sudden running's not your thing," he said. "We want to run, but we don't want to run crazy and wild"
Like what you are reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.