Sampson wants White to be meaner

At his press conference today, Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson revealed that he’d like his star player, D.J. White, to play with more of an edge.

I’ll post my whole story — which includes updates on Mike White, Ben Allen and Lance Stemler, too — later.

But suffice to say, Sampson is waiting for White to show him something. White leads the team in scoring and rebounding but he hasn’t really put the Hoosiers on his back yet. And maybe it’s not even that….he just hasn’t gone out with the “swagger” Sampson wants. He’s seems too unsure for a guy with so much talent.

Unfortunately, D.J. could not answer his coach’s critique today. None of the players were made available to the media.

I know this probably sounds like me complaining, and I don’t mean it like that. I just think it’s not fair to not allow the kid to say something if he wants to. And I also think it’s just silly: the fans who pay all the money to make this program what it is deserve to hear from the kids who are playing on the team. That’s part of the drama that all sports fans follow. It’s not just about the games…it’s about a team forming and coming together and struggling and, if all goes well, coming out stronger. Only by allowing the players to tell their stories can the fans really know what is going on with the Indiana team they love so much.


  1. I think media/journalist whining about not getting access to players is a bigger problem. The team\player speaks for themselves on the court. Write about that, period.

    Fans watch the game, we see what Sampson is saying and telling media minded professionals within any held press conference.

    Reporting on basketball for a major university is not a license to hold player self help forums via press conferences.

    I believe this is a coach who has a true vision for getting the most out of his players to help the team he is held accountable for.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. I agree with Jack’s viewpoint completely about the role of the media’s contact with players. I believe it is the coach’s decision on when and which players are able to communicate with the media. Fans know that the players need some privacy, too, with their hectic academic and athletic schedules.

  3. Like I originally said, I know many people believe the media is “whining” about access. I obviously don’t agree.

    Let me just say this: If Muhammad Ali were boxing now he’d have 18 media advisors controlling every move he makes. As a result, the world would be deprived of a truly intriguing character, one whose force outside the athletic arena was greater than inside it. He would have become a walking advertisement, too concerned with his image and the money it could make him to ever speak out against a war he disagreed with.

    I just think that’s sad.

    I think Indiana’s basketball players are smart, interesting people. And I would have liked to have been able to hear D.J. White discuss his thoughts. Has he ever been told to be meaner before? Does he agree with the assessment? Does he think a truly great player needs to have that attitude? The guy played summer camp ball with Michael Jordan, he of the most swagger ever. I just think that would have been a great discussion to have with D.J. White.

  4. I agree with Chris. I don’t think that IU basketball needs to be as open as it was under Coach Davis but it shouldn’t be a completely closed system, either. Sampson does make some players available on occasion, so it isn’t as if he’s shut all access down. Hopefully DJ will be available for comments and questions soon.

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