It doesn't take long for Steve Forbes to realize on a daily basis how much his life has been altered over the past 16 months. The IPFW redshirt junior center is a different person – at least physically – than he was when he arrived in Fort Wayne during the summer of 2012.
The same could be said for his teammate, redshirt freshman center Brent Calhoun.
Both IPFW front court players have spent the past year transforming their bodies, as well as their basketball games, and the results will soon be on exhibit to behold.
“I feel great,” Forbes said. “Everything is easier. Getting up in the morning is easier.”
Forbes, Calhoun and the rest of their Mastodon mates spent a recent Friday afternoon going through a rigorous weight-room session under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Kevin Rudolphi, and that was after a basketball practice.
The two big men weren't limited in what stations they did or how hard they pushed themselves. Both players sat out last season, in essence, because they weren't physically prepared to contribute to the level that IPFW coach Tony Jasick desired. But after a year-plus of “eating lots of salads,” according to Forbes (6-foot-9, 299 pounds), counting calories (but learning the importance of a good breakfast) and busting it in the gym and weight room, Calhoun (6-foot-9, 282 pounds) has dropped almost 30 pounds and Forbes nearly 40.
“It's been hard,” Calhoun said of his journey. “I've had lots of help from my teammates, especially (Forbes).”
The two front court players will battle with senior forward Mike Kibiloski, as well as sophomore Joe Reed, for playing time this year, which they couldn't have legitimately done a year ago.
During last season, as Jasick took his team on the road for Summit League games, the coach brought Forbes and Calhoun along for the ride, but it wasn't a joy ride. The two served on the scout team for workouts and Rudolphi gave them extra work to continue their slow, but sure, downward progress on the scales.
“You have two separate calendars,” Jasick explained. “You have a calendar for your team, but (Forbes, Calhoun, and redshirt freshman guard Will Dunn) had their own separate calendars, in regards to strength and conditioning and individual workouts.”
Both Calhoun and Forbes have battled injuries earlier in their careers due to the excessive weight being carried. However, both are healthy and ready to make an impact this season. They run faster, they jump higher, and they are able to play harder and for longer amounts of time.
“Both of those guys defensively, can help us put more pressure on the ball,” Jasick said, “because they take up so much space, if you do get beat off the ball, because they are so big and so massive, they can really affect the game around the goal.
“And once we get into the half-court, we're really going to try and incorporate them and try to pound it (inside). I do think that they can be a match-up nightmare.
“You've got to make a decision with Steve, and Brent's getting there too. Are you going to double-team them or play them one-on-one? I promise you, it's not going to be fun to have to guard those guys every single trip down the floor.”
Mastodons picked sixth
IPFW was selected to finish sixth in the Summit League men's basketball preseason poll on Thursday.
The lone individual Mastodon recognized was senior forward Luis Jacobo, who was named to the preseason second team after averaging 11 points and four boards per game a year ago.
North Dakota State was picked to finish first in the poll, trailed by Denver, South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Omaha.