Former Butler Basketball stars train at barn in Boone County amid pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS – The COVID-19 pandemic is posing many challenges for athletes, especially as gyms and training sites limit access and availability out of precaution.

Meanwhile, some of Indiana’s top basketball players are practicing together at a remote barn in Boone County under the direction of Rob Blackwell and Jason Smeathers, who have also trained former Butler standouts Gordon Hayward, Rotnei Clarke, Matt Howard, Roosevelt Jones, and Kameron Woods.

It has been two years since former dawgs Paul Jorgensen and Tyler Wideman have been teammates. Now, they are back to work at the barn.

“Being around these guys makes me feel like I’m back in school playing basketball,” Wideman said. “It’s just a very competitive vibe. Everybody wants to get better, so it makes it a lot easier coming in here to workout.”

Earlier this year, Jorgensen was playing for Palencia in Spain, and Wideman was competing for Ra’anana in Israel, when their professional seasons were cut short.

“I had ten games left in Spain. So, I had to come home early obviously,” Jorgensen said. “Quarantine for two weeks and just kind of been hanging for the next opportunity to come.”

Other former Bulldogs, like Anderson native Sean McDermott, are also staying ready at the barn.

McDermott’s final run with Butler was cut short this spring due to the pandemic. But, he is motivated by what could, or could not, transpire across basketball over the next year.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that feeling. I still watch One Shining Moment wishing that it happened,” McDermott said. “It’s a different time. Everybody is going through it. So, I don’t feel bad for myself. Everybody is having to experience this.”

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