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This is the fourth of four Indiana basketball reports this afternoon from Chris Korman. It comes from a conversation today with Tom Pritchard.
Few ties to the Kelvin Sampson era in Indiana basketball remain.Tom Pritchard, a freshman forward on Tom Creanâ€™s first team, is one of them.
He committed to Indiana last September, before the university revealed that Sampson had committed more NCAA violations.
Pritchard signed with the Hoosiers in November anyway, and he and one other Sampson recruit, guard Matt Roth, honored their letters of intent.
Through four weeks of conditioning and individual workouts, Pritchard has observed a difference in the IU program he plays for from the one he originally signed up for.
â€œI think the main difference is probably intensity and work ethic,â€ he said Thursday in his first meeting of the season with local media. â€œObviously coach Sampson, I liked him a lot because I came here for coach Sampson but he wasnâ€™t really as intense a coach as coach Crean is. Coach Crean will definitely get on you and pull the best out of you.â€
Pritchard spoke prior to what he expected would be a full-squad workout led by Crean.
He also expected it to be lively.
â€œHeâ€™s running around, telling everybody what to do, making sure you get it right,â€ Pritchard said of Creanâ€™s coaching style. â€œIf you donâ€™t get it right on the fist try, heâ€™ll teach you but you have to be coachable and remember what he says. If you donâ€™t do that heâ€™ll get on you for that a little bit.â€
At 6-foot-8, Pritchard is one of two players currently practicing with the squad who stands taller than 6-6. He and 7-0 Tijan Jobe are the inside presence for the Hoosiers and have worked against each other extensively. Kyle Taber, the teamâ€™s lone returning scholarship player and only other legitimate big man, has not practiced as he recovers from knee surgery.
â€œTaberâ€™s on the side rooting us on and telling us what to do,â€ Pritchard said. â€œHeâ€™s a senior, so heâ€™s got to tell us what to do because we donâ€™t know.
Pritchard has worked in the first weeks of his college career to develop his mid-range game. In high school at St. Edwardâ€™s (Lakewood, Ohio), he was primarily a post player. In Creanâ€™s system, heâ€™ll be asked to move around the floor.
â€œIn college, obviously, Iâ€™m not going to be the biggest guy out there,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve definitely been working on my jump shot. Also, dribbling and attacking the basket.â€
Playing against Jobe has taught Pritchard that he wonâ€™t be successful trying fade away jumpers against Big Ten defenders. And while Pritchard admits that the Hoosiers get â€œpretty not-tall-at-all, pretty quickâ€ after he and Jobe, he also believes IU will be â€œable to out-muscle a couple of teamsâ€ in the Big Ten and said â€œif we have to use our finesse, weâ€™ll use it.â€
Pritchard actually dropped weight over the summer after weighing 268 pounds when he arrived, a fact strength and condition coach Jeff Watkinson â€œdidnâ€™t really appreciate.â€ Since then itâ€™s been salads and the elliptical machine for Pritchard.
On some days, heâ€™s jealous of what his roommate, Roth, gets to eat.
But he says they rarely ever discuss the fact that almost all of the people who lured them here are gone.
â€œItâ€™s definitely a big change to go from a lot of guys you saw on your visit to pretty much just two guys, Brett (Finkelmeier) and Kyle (Taber),â€ he said. â€œI think itâ€™s a good change. I think coach Crean will bring this program back to the top.â€
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