Bloomington – Bobby Capobianco's numbers are a little bit down from a year ago, and the IU-bound recruit couldn't be happier.
The 6'8", 230-pound Loveland (Ohio) forward is averaging 16.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season, down from his the 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks he put up as a junior. His season got off to a bit of a slow start after he underwent surgery on his toe in the off-season and missed the season opener, and his numbers remain slightly off last year's pace despite the fact he's back to 100 percent.
But that comes as no surprise to Capobianco.
"My role is so much different this year compared to last year," Capobianco said Tuesday. "I knew it was going to be that way and I'm happy with it. Last year we'd lose some games where I'd be scoring 25 points, and I'm not having to do that this year."
He's not having to do it because there's a lot more balance on this year's Loveland team, which topped McNicholas H.S. 66-50 Tuesday night behind 18 points and 12 rebounds from Capobianco. The win was the 10th straight for Loveland, which has been led by Capobianco but has also been able to count on players such as forward Brian Wozniak (8.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and guard Chris Stahl (9.2 ppg) for solid contributions on a game-by-game basis.
"We've got some guys who have stepped up this year so I haven't had to do as much," Capobianco said after Tuesday night's game. "I'm happy with it – I'd much rather have a 10-game winning streak. I'm way too much of a team guy to let (a slight drop in his statistics) bother me."
While Loveland hasn't lost a game in more than a month and a half, Capobianco is well aware of the struggles his future team is having in Bloomington. Coach Tom Crean's team's eight-game losing streak has coincided with Loveland's run of success, and he admits he even hears about it on occasion when his high school team plays on the road.
"We'll be playing a road game and the fans from other teams will chant ‘IU sucks', but that's okay," Capobianco said. "We knew there were going to be some tough times right now."
Capobianco is a member of the six-man recruiting class that is expected to step in next season and quick right the Hoosiers' ship. It's probably overly optimistic to expect IU's talented '09 recruiting class to immediately have the Hoosiers competing for a Big Ten championship, but Capobianco is confident that better days aren't far off.
"I'm not going to say we're just going to come in and win a national championship or roll through the Big Ten because I've never played college basketball before," Capobianco said. "But I think we can start to get things turned back around. I think as a group we'll be young, but we've got a really good basketball IQ and a good grasp of the game and I think we can make a big difference."
Capobianco won't officially join the team until next fall, but he plans to be in town for Sunday's game against Minnesota. He said he's told IU assistant coach Tim Buckley that he planned to make it to town for games on about five occasions only to have those plans dashed by a hastily scheduled Loveland basketball practice. But he says he's excited to finally be able to make it for Sunday's match-up and he's even more excited to return for good in the fall.
"I feel like I have a chance to come in and bring energy and effort and do some things to make a big impact right away," Capobianco said. "I can't wait to get there."
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