Preseason IU basketball conversation with Tamar Bates

Indiana sophomore guard Tamar Bates enters his second IU season with a clear mind and his goals in front of him. Although the former five-star recruit dealt with life-changing events throughout his freshman season, he believes all that adversity will allow him to flourish in year two.

In a lengthy conversation Thursday with Bates at IU basketball media day, he discussed how the birth of his daughter has pushed him to be better, where he draws his confidence and swagger from despite some freshman struggles, what he’s been working on this offseason to be more consistent, and much more.

Below are a few excerpts from Bates’ roundtable session:

On how comfortable he is now entering his second year at IU

“It’s just basketball, whether you want to really accept it or not. But it’s like, when you first come here, you kind of try to prove yourself a little bit, but I don’t have that feeling anymore. It’s just like I ‘m gonna go out there and do what we need to do because that’s what it’s about. Obviously we’re on the biggest stage in college basketball — one of them at least — but it’s just about going out there and executing the game . So there’s not really too much like, ‘Oh, don’t mess up or don’t do that.’ It was just a lot of, I would just say like overthinking. That’s kind of out the window now. It’s just like, okay, let’s go. Let’s get to it.”

On what he’s learned most about himself over the last year

“That I can handle anything that comes my way. No task is too large for me to tackle, especially with the army I have behind me in my family and my teammates. So, no matter what does come my way — which everything’s not gonna be easy this year either, there’s gonna be some more stuff that happens that I don’t expect, that nobody expects. So it’s just about how I handle it, because I do have a certain set of experiences. I can kind of attack everything the right way, and how I’m supposed to be.”

On potentially playing more point guard this season

“I mean, yeah, if it presents itself then I’ll be able to handle that. But I mean, it’s more so from a development standpoint, just whether it’s at the next level or it is here and I have a chance to play the point guard position. But it’s really just about staying ready so I don’t have to get ready. Just keeping my skills sharp, making decisions, leading the team, playing out the pick-and-roll. Just how to initiate and all kinds of stuff that it takes to be not just a point guard, but just a lead guard, like any lead guard. So that’s really what it was, continuing to learn. And that’s the biggest thing for me, just continuing to learn, picking up on new things that have just expanded my game.

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