INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Recently, the NBA Draft fulfilled the dreams of many talented and eager young men, ready to become professional athletes in the sport they love. While the chapter of being a student-athlete comes to an end for the new draftees, pages in the book still lay blank and ready to be filled by the accomplishments of 420,000 current members of 1,000 fine NCAA member institutions.
After a rough first go for the Butler Bulldogs in their inaugural Big East year, finishing 4-14 (14-17 overall), no one is more ready to write the future then the Bulldogs current senior leader, Alex Barlow. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with senior point guard Alex Barlow who, to no one’s surprise, was found in the Butler University HRC, drenched in sweat, working on his game. I figured all Dawgs would love to know what the summer holds for Alex and the team in general.
After a lengthy session of ball-handling and crafty dribble moves, and numerous 3-point hits from behind a folding chair deep on the court, I asked Barlow, “What aspects of your game are you working on this summer?”
“I’m just really trying to expand my offensive game, being able to shoot the ball off the dribble and on the move,” said Barlow. “I am trying to be more than just a spot-up shooter this year. I am working on taking more pressure off other guys, trying to be able to create a little more. Obviously getting Rose (Roosevelt Jones) back, that will help our ability to create as a team, but I feel as a point guard I should be able to create a little bit more and help others, help set up others.”
Roosevelt Jones has been a frequent visitor to the HRC this summer as well, running layup drills with assistant coach Terry Johnson. I wondered if Alex and teammates are ready to have the versatile Jones back for next season.
“Yeah, it is always great when you can add someone of his caliber, someone who can do all of thing he can do,” Barlow said. “He can defend, he can pass, he can rebound, he can really do everything on the court except shoot a jump shot (laughs), and to get someone of his caliber back, that is going to be a great addition. I know he has worked hard, I know he has been anxious having to sit out a year, so I think that he is going to have a big year.”
While no player wants to sit out with an injury, let alone an entire year and Butler’s inaugural year in the Big East, Jones has plenty to be excited about as the renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse are well underway with many new additions already completed. While the court might not be suitable for play quite yet, the student-athletes have been able to explore the new surroundings and cool off in the heat of summer.
“We have been able to work out in the weight room. It’s beautiful; it is definitely an upgrade from the previous weight room,” noted Barlow. “The new training room where the athletic training staff is based is beautiful. New ice bath, underwater treadmill, hot and cold tubs, yeah there is a lot upgrades that they have made there that are going to allow our staff to do more things than they did before, so I really think the renovations that I have seen so far have been awesome.”
Summer is time for late night fun and new adventures with friends. Alex is spending his time on campus this summer, and bonding with teammates is his ideal situation. With no parents to impose a curfew, Alex is free to shoot hoops all night under the BU sky.
“Yeah, I think it is a good time for us players to spend a lot of time together, get a lot of bonding, especially new freshman when they get here,” said Barlow. “But at the same time, it would be nice to go home some, but we get a week after the school year, coaches are pretty flexible about if you go home for a weekend, making up for any missed lifts, any open gyms, or anything like that, they are flexible. Most of us get to go home a decent amount really, other than Jackson (Aldridge), (laughs) that’s a long flight for him. But I enjoy being here, I enjoy the camaraderie, being with my teammates, at the same time I get to go home some too, it is kind of the best of both worlds.”
With no exciting team trips planned to Australia like last year, I asked Barlow what he was looking forward to the most this summer. No surprise that the senior leader and business major had one thing on his mind, the business of team basketball.
“Honestly, you know I am just looking forward to getting back as a team and getting actual practices in during the summer with our allotted time,” said Barlow. “It feels like so long ago since we practiced, since we played a competitive game. It’s been a lot of work just on your own, lots of work one-on-one with the coaches, a lot of lifting and a lot of open gyms, but we really haven’t had any full team practices, especially with the new guys, we got five of them. I think I am really looking forward to that a lot.”
In less serious fashion, Alex shared what is on his radar during his free, or rest time.
“I am going to the PGA Championship down at Valhalla (Golf Club)” said an enthusiastic Barlow. “They just said Tiger (Woods) is going to be back today so I am actually really looking forward to that. I have really gotten in to golf lately, just because I think it is a sport you can play for a while. When my basketball days are over it will give me something to be competitive with.”
Alex Barlow has already proven that walking onto a Division I NCAA basketball team is an easy feat. I can only imagine how far his drives will fly after walking on to the tee box. Three cheers to summer, Butler Bulldog basketball, and shooting under par.
Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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