Who wants to race Will Sheehey?

“There’s nobody in the country who can run as far and as long as I can.”

— IU basketball player Will Sheehey

IU’s Will Sheehey

I love IU basketball. One of my favorite college memories is the campus mayhem after the 1987 national championship. (Among my least favorite: Being at the game in which coach Bob Knight infamously threw that chair across the gym floor.)

Still, the more I hear about Sheehey shattering top-ranked IU’s longtime record in its V02 fitness test, the more questions I have.

News-Sentinel sportswriter Pete DiPrimio has written that to do the test, “you get on a treadmill and basically sprint as hard as you can for as long as you can” — which is the same description I’ve found in other sports stories I’ve googled.

Pete and other sportswriters have reported that according to IU coach Tom Crean, the all-time record broke by Sheehey was set by former guard Jim Thomas, who played at IU 1979-83. Thomas lasted 13 minutes on the treadmill. Current IU guard Jordan Hulls set the “modern standard” of 12:56 before Sheehey came along and bested it by more than a minute: 14:06.

What hasn’t been reported, at least as far as I can tell, is how fast he was running.

I don’t pretend to grasp how a typical V02 test, in which oxygen-burning capabilities are measured, works. You can learn more about those here. But from everything I’ve read about the IU test, if the comparison point is how long players can go, then presumably they program the treadmill to a uniform speed. So how fast are we talking?

Is Sheehey, in fact, running at some incredible pace that would put the IU track team to shame? Or is he merely, as is more likely the case, the most fit basketball player IU’s had in a generation or two?

I asked Pete, who didn’t know and directed me to IU Sports Info director J.D. Campbell. If Campbell or one of his underlings ever gets back to me, I’ll post an update on this. Inquiring runners want to know. (Or this one does, anyway!)

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6 Responses to Who wants to race Will Sheehey?

  1. Mark Wood says:

    I, too, want to know. I need to see what my new goal is!

    • tischcaylor says:

      You astound me — it seems like you are getting faster the older you get. (I can see that a followup interview is in order here, but I’ll give you time to get all moved in before I pester you about that.)

  2. I saw Bobby throw that chair, too!

    • tischcaylor says:

      How weird — back in the days before we even knew each other. Are you still running? And why is it so hard for me to leave comments on YOUR blog? I HATE the little roadblocks that make it just a bit trickier to cross the blogger-wordpress divide…. it doesn’t take much to derail my good intentions!

  3. Mitch Harper says:

    I was also present that game.
    I didn’t see him throw the chair but I saw it skittering across.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Well, Assembly Hall got pretty darn quiet when that happened, didn’t it? That’s a moment that will live in IU infamy. I saw they replayed it yet again during last night’s IU-Purdue game. Funny how long ago that seems now…

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