INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Ask any college basketball player and they will tell you that it takes a lot of hard work and preparation to make it to the Final Four and play for a National Championship. That is especially true during off-season and Butler's Shelvin Mack is making the most of his opportunities to improve prior to his junior season.
Mack is participating in the Indy Pro Am Summer League at IUPUI hosted by Carlos Knox. "I think it's a great opportunity to play in the league," said Mack "you can challenge yourself out here during the off-season."
The Indy Pro Am Summer League is an NCAA and NBA sanctioned league. High School, college, NBA, and European players are able to play in this league. Some local names on the rosters include; Butler's Mack and Matt Howard, former North Central standout and Indiana Mr. Basketball Jason Gardner, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, and former Lawrence North standout and current Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley.
While not every player is available for each night of action, there are more than enough quality players on hand to help guys stay in shape and improve on their skills.
Watch an Indy Pro Am Summer Leaguge Preview on Fox 59
"We've got some great players in the league," said Mack "It's great chance to come out here and play against different competition."
One of the biggest adjustments Mack has to make this off-season is getting used to being in the spotlight. Mack was a key part in Butler's Cinderella run to the National Championship game.
"I've got to get used to it for this year coming up," said Mack. "Everyone is going to be paying attention to us for playing at Butler and playing for the National Championship."
Not only is Mack getting used to the spotlight on the court but as well as out in public.
"It's a lot different now than it used to be," said Mack "I went to the airport and a few more people noticed me and in Chicago a few people noticed me."
The league is sponsored in part by St. Vincent Sports Performance and Admission is free.
Jeremiah Johnson's Opening Night OBSERVATIONS:
The Indy Pro Am Summer league is back and better than ever for year number two. The names on the rosters jump off the screen to local basketball fans. Even though we didn't see George Hill, Eric Gordon, or Josh McRoberts on Tuesday, I'm guessing the big names will be on hand for at least some of the games.
While many fans are likely interested in being able to get up close and personal to some NBA stars, on opening night I was most impressed by the performance of someone who has yet to play a college game. Butler's incoming freshman Kyhle Marshall was one of those guys I had to look down at the roster a couple of times and ask myself, "Who is that guy?" He and Mack teamed up together to help lead the PURPLE team to an 88-83 victory in the first game of the summer season.
Marshall is long, athletic, and stronger than he looks. Marshall and Chrishawn Hopkins might be the most athletic tandem to come into Butler since, well, Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward, although Marshall and Hopkins are probably more gifted athletically than Shelvin and Gordon were two years ago.
Lesson to be learned from the opening night of the Indy Pro Am Summer League. The future is STILL bright for the Butler Bulldogs.