Ivan the Terrific
Ivan Kartelo, playing his best basketball
Ivan Kartelo made his presence known inside against Clemson in the 76-64 victory on Wednesday.
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Ivan the Terrific
Kartelo playing his best basketball
Dec. 4, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ivan Kartelo is literally making big strides for Purdue's 20th-ranked men's basketball team.
Standing 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds, Kartelo came off the bench Wednesday night in Mackey Arena to help spark the Boilermakers to a 76-64 victory over Clemson in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge contest.
The Split, Croatia, native scored a career-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action. He also hit a career-best 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Through five games, he is averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and is a sizzling 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
Kartelo also was instrumental in Purdue's defensive success against Clemson, deflecting passes and dominating play in the lane.
"He's making an improvement," said coach Gene Keady following the game. "He's starting to come around. He's aggressive on the boards.
"He's starting to rebound and making good passes like we know he can do. He's starting to score and, finally, he got into double figures like we felt he could do all year."
Kartelo transferred to Purdue in 2001-02 after spending two seasons playing at Notre Dame. Because of NCAA rules, he sat out his first season before returning to action last year.
During that time period, Kartelo struggled with an elbow injury. It slowed his overall progress until recently.
"This is the first time he's been healthy in two years," Keady said. "It takes a while to get confidence. We are happy with his progress, but we would like to see him be stronger with the ball and not let people knock it out of his hands.
His play against Clemson boosted his confidence level. Kartelo said his health status is improved, and he continues to work hard to keep his body weight down to build his stamina.
"I began working out hard after the Texas game in the NCAA tournament last year," the senior sociology major said. "I'm more mobile and putting less stress on my body.
"How I've been playing in games is the way I play in practice. I'm happy with what I'm doing right now. Definitely, I have places I need to improve. My scoring needs to pick up."
Kartelo appeared in 27 games last season, starting 13 of the 16 Big Ten regular-season games. He averaged 13.6 minutes per game.
"I feel great now," he said. "It is good to be heavy and strong because people find it hard to move you out. At the the same time, being big you get more tired. You can't run as hard."
While he knows his playing has improved, he likes the fact that he comes off the bench rather than getting the opening call.
"To be honest, I like to come off the bench," he said. "I like to just get a picture of the court and see what is going on. I can see what the opponent is doing, and when you get in, the other guy is a little bit more tired."
As Kartelo continues to make strides in the paint, the 5-0 Boilermakers look forward to great things.
"I have gotten stronger since I first came here. I'm basically trying to improve defense and rebounding each game. We can only get better as a team."