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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Hoosiers begin workouts

New assistant coach brings new approach to pre-season workouts

New men's basketball assistant coach Ben McDonald, his fellow assistants and head coach Mike Davis expect only a handful of developments from their team before practice officially begins Oct. 13: game-speed workouts, proper technique and confidence.\nMcDonald, who arrived in Bloomington Sunday and led the team's first group workouts Tuesday, has seen only 120 minutes' worth of the 2000-2001 Hoosiers. Already, he said he's impressed. \nSome Hoosiers said they are enjoying the new approach.\n"The new workout is a lot more basketball-oriented," said junior Kyle Hornsby. "In the past, I've noticed we've done a lot of basketball stuff, but it was a lot of conditioning also. This is conditioning, but it has a lot more basketball. It's as hard as you want to make it. You push yourself, and (the coaches) will push you, too."\nHornsby practiced with the second of three four-member groups Tuesday, with each group practicing for about 40 minutes. NCAA rules allow only two hours of practice time per week, per player and limit groups to no more than four. IU will continue group workouts three times a week, with McDonald leading the way. \nMcDonald, who became IU's third assistant coach Tuesday, pushed the three groups through rebounding, shooting and conditioning drills. His role involves running individual workouts, much the same routine of former IU assistant Dan Panaggio, who left IU in June to join the Portland Trail Blazers.\n"I just got in here today, but I was impressed," McDonald said. "Especially with the last group of (Tom) Coverdale, Dane Fife and Donald Perry. I think I'm really going to like working with them."\nCoverdale, a junior, and Fife, a senior, helped usher in two of IU's four-member freshmen class: Perry, a 6-foot-2 point guard, and Mark Johnson, a walk-on guard. \nHornsby, a junior, joined sophomores A.J. Moye and Mike Roberts and freshman Sean Kline. McDonald said one 40-minute session was not enough to judge the talent of IU's freshmen class, but indicated he was impressed with IU's nine returnees, especially a pair of Hoosiers McDonald had seen play only on film before Tuesday.\n"I like Hornsby's work ethic," McDonald said. "Even if things aren't going real well, it seems like he's going really hard. Not just for me, but for himself. Coverdale really impressed me and didn't seem to throw the ball away a lot."\nBut McDonald, a former NBA forward, said he won't spend too much time with Coverdale and Hornsby this season. Jim Thomas, another assistant, who was hired in July, will handle the guards, and McDonald will spend the majority of the year developing the Hoosiers' post players. \nTuesday's first group, all inside players -- sophomores Jared Jeffries and George Leach, junior Jeff Newton and senior Jarrad Odle -- looked tired following its workout. \n"We want to get better and do the small things," Jeffries said. "We're fine-tuning."\nDavis said Jeffries has added about 10 pounds to his 6-foot-9 frame, pushing him over the 220-mark. Davis also said Leach has added about 20 pounds. IU's weight-lifting program has been encouraging, Davis said, and called last year's Hoosiers the "weakest in the Big Ten."\nJeffries, IU's leading returning scorer and rebounder, spent part of the summer playing basketball with Indiana Pacers Jonathan Bender and Al Harrington and said he's certain one of his frontcourt mates will fill Kirk Haston's All-Big Ten shoes. Davis said the play of Newton, a junior, and Leach, a sophomore, will determine how successful the team is. \nBut, Davis, Thomas and McDonald said they aren't looking that far ahead yet. For now, it's back to squeaking shoes and sweaty shorts. McDonald, his own shirt soaked with sweat following the workouts, said he's happy with his debut.\n"I worked out with a few guys about three weeks ago, and they really enjoyed it," McDonald said. "They were tired, their legs were heavy at the end, they were huffing and puffing, but they know that's what they need. They're going to need to be in great shape. We're trying to help them."\nMay not in first-day workouts\nWalk-on freshman Scott May Jr. didn't take part in Tuesday's workouts. May, a guard, participated in weight-lifting, but is still going through several physical check-ups that are keeping him from practicing, an IU official said. May is the son of former IU All-American Scott May and the brother of IU recruit and Bloomington High School North standout Sean May.\nDavis not 'back' in action\nDavis, who injured his back in a game of basketball with his son, Mike Davis Jr., was limited in his practice participation Tuesday. Davis strolled the sidelines, but allowed his assistants to do much of the hands-on coaching. Davis said he hopes the back problems don't interfere with his coaching this season. The soreness also limited Davis in an after-practice "workout" session with his youngest son, Antoine. After Antoine rolled a pass Davis' way, Davis reminded his son that the injured back stopped him from bending down to pick up the ball.

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