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Bigger is badder for IU basketball freshmen

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Young Hoosiers building for big impact

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 1:13 am

BLOOMINGTON -- Sometimes a guy, when he's young and fit and blessed with single-digit body fat, just has to show off his pecs, abs, and biceps.

Sometimes.

So we offer Stanford Robinson, Indiana's 6-4, 193-pound freshman guard, who is reaping the benefits of Hoosier strength coach Je'Ney Jackson's workouts and doesn't mind letting the world see it.

“I definitely feel improvement,” Robinson said. “Sometimes I just touch my arms to see how big I got. If you ask Coach Jackson right now, I walk around with my shirt off all the time now, just because I feel like I'm that much bigger.”

Jackson then brings Robinson back down to earth.

“He always tells me to put my shirt back on because I still got a bird chest,” Robinson said with a laugh.

Robinson and the Hoosiers' five other freshmen -- Devin Davis, Collin Hartman, Noah Vonleh, Luke Fischer and Troy Williams -- are lifting weights as they've never lifted before. It isn't so they can show off their physiques.

“I definitely notice it on the court, because I'm starting to use my body a little bit more, finishing layups, attacking the rim, and it's just been helping me with my game,” Robinson said.

IU's return to national prominence -- last year it was ranked No. 1 for 10 weeks and won its first outright Big Ten title since 1993 -- is in part the result of a rigorous strength and conditioning program. The freshmen learned quickly how rigorous.

“You find out you're not in shape like you thought you were,” Williams said.

Vonleh said he rarely lifted weights in high school. Since arriving at IU at the start of the summer he's gained 25 pounds. He's listed at 6-10 and 240 pounds, and appears on the verge of a breakout debut season, which is what you'd expect from a guy ranked among the nation's top-10 players in the Class of 2013.

“Coach Jackson, he just knows how to get your body right,” Vonleh said. “We have training tables, so just eating well, that played a lot, just getting a lot of meals in, working hard and drinking protein.

“I definitely notice (the improvement) when playing in the post against bigger guys. Hanner (Mosquera-Perea) he's real strong. When Cody Zeller came up here in the summer, he was real strong. It was tough playing against him, but I just noticed I could finish a lot better through guys.

“I noticed that when I was the LeBron James Camp for the college players and the Amare Stoudemire Camp. A lot of guys I played high school basketball with and camps and stuff, they were like, 'Yeah, you got a lot bigger, a lot stronger.'”

For the record, when Vonleh said this, he was wearing a shirt.