TERRE HAUTE — Basketball season is upon us again, and it’s time to take a look at where former Wabash Valley standouts will be competing this winter.
A thorough examination of all college Web sites in Indiana and Illinois, plus others known to have local talent outside the bi-state area, shows a total of 14 area graduates coaching in college and 42 players competing collegiately.
Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South each has eight graduates either coaching or player to lead the area schools.
Most of the coaches are in the same location as last year, with the only exceptions being Terre Haute North grad Clint Weddle switching from Indianapolis to Indiana State, South Vermillion’s Lou Gudino moving from Louisiana Tech to Indiana State and former local resident Mike Roberts being promoted on Ben Braun’s staff to assistant coach for the California Bears.
Marshall native Jeff Strohm, a finalist for the Indiana State job last spring who has been an assistant coach at Western Kentucky the past two seasons, left WKU this summer to pursue other career goals.
“Jeff will be moving on to pursue his career goals of being a head coach or working at a higher level of basketball, possibly the NBA,” said WKU Coach Darrin Horn.
Of the players, 27 are men and 15 are women. Eight of the players toil at the NCAA Division I level, while four play NCAA Division II, nine play in NCAA Division III, 12 play for junior colleges and nine play for either NAIA or other small-school division programs.
Several players are returning to the court after a year away.
Included in that group are:
• Robinson’s Tyson Schnitker, the former Indiana State standout who will be completing his eligibility this year at Southern Indiana.
• North’s Andre Dickson, who has not played for a few seasons but is resurrecting his career at Lindenwood.
• North’s Dan O’Leary, who sat out last season but is returning to action for Hanover.
• South’s Brooke Daugherty, who played briefly for Danville Area CC before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
• South’s J.T. Hatfield, who graduated in 2005 and is making his collegiate debut for Olney Central.
• South’s Travis Davis, who was injured last year but returns for his sophomore season at Illinois Central.
As always, several players who previously competed have ended their careers despite having eligibility remaining.
The most prominent of those is North Vermillion grad Allison Hughes, who has decided to forego her senior season at St. Joseph’s.
Hughes was the leading scorer for the Pumas last year at 17.5 points per game, and was the fifth-leading scorer in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
A Dean’s List student in business administration, Hughes plans to resume her playing career next winter.
“I’m going to finish out the year at Saint Joe and get my undergraduate degree,” she said recently. “Next year, I will be looking to use my last year of eligibility at a school that I have not yet determined [while pursuing a master’s degree].”
Allison’s older sister, Ashley Hughes, graduated from St. Joseph’s in 2006 after an excellent playing career there, and spent last season as an assistant coach for the Pumas under Amy Siegel (now an Indiana State assistant). Ashley is now a student at Rose-Hulman pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.
As always, please send any additions or corrections to the list accompanying this column to the e-mail address provided below.
• • •
• Morgan starts coaching career — Former North Vermillion and DePauw University softball player Annie Morgan has been named graduate assistant coach at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisc.
Morgan was a member of DePauw’s NCAA Central Regional Championship team that ended up finishing fifth overall at the Division III World Series last spring. She was mainly a utility player that specialized in base running.
“Annie is knowledgeable and likes the strategy side of the game,” said Lakeland Coach Chad Buchmann. “Her championship experiences will help her make coaching adjustments, as well as help our program reach our goal of making the NCAA tournament.”
Morgan earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from DePauw with an emphasis in sport and exercise science. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in theology.
• Graves in nation’s top 50 — Butler senior guard A.J. Graves of White River Valley has been named to the Preseason Top 50 Candidates list for the 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award, the nation’s most coveted college basketball honor.
Graves was named to the Wooden Award Midseason All-America team, featuring the Top 30 candidates for the Wooden Award, a year ago. He finished the season as Butler’s leading scorer, while helping the Bulldogs to a school-record 29-7 campaign, a championship in the NIT Season Tip-Off, a co-championship in the Horizon League and a berth in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
The 6-1 guard averaged 16.9 points in 2006-07 and finished second in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.948). He was named MVP of the NIT Season Tip-Off, after leading Butler to consecutive victories over Notre Dame, Indiana, No. 22 Tennessee and No. 23 Gonzaga, and he earned honorable mention All-America recognition. He also was named a first team Academic All-American.
Last month, Graves was named Horizon League preseason Player of the Year.
On Thursday night, Graves had a team-high19 points as Butler defeated St. Joseph’s 75-50 in an exhibition contest.
• USI No. 10 — The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team received its second preseason ranking of the fall when the Division II Bulletin placed the Screaming Eagles in its Top 25 at number 10.
The Screaming Eagles, who were ranked seventh last week by the Sporting News 2007-08 College Basketball Magazine, have been ranked in the preseason each year since 1993-94 and have been a preseason fifth or better 11 times in the last 14 seasons.
Besides Schnitker, the only other local product with the Screaming Eagles is sophomore guard Brent Owen of Chrisman.
• DACC No. 11 — Linton native Mike Carpenter improved a struggling Danville Area Community College men’s basketball program to a 14-17 record last year, and the Jaguars have earned a No. 11 pre-season ranking in the NJCAA Division II pre-season poll.
“We play a style that hasn’t been seen here before. It’s an athletic, up-tempo exciting brand of ball,” Carpenter told the Danville Commercial-News. “We’re going to push the ball and play above the rim. We feature several long and quick players who can excel at multiple positions on the court. It’s a style similar to Kansas, Florida and North Carolina.”
Among the returnees for DACC are South Putnam’s Ronnie Williams and first-team pre-season All-America selection Marcus Thomas.
Thomas holds school records for three-pointers in a season (79) and three-point field goal percentage in a season at 47.8 percent.
“We’re ready to get going. There hasn’t been a winning season here since 2000,” Carpenter said. “We have good quality players who are good students and hard working young men. It has the potential to be a very rewarding year.”
• Conrady, Mocs to battle IU — Indiana’s men’s basketball team will open the regular season on Nov. 12 by playing Chattanooga, a team which made the NCAA tournament two years ago.
Terre Haute South grad David Conrady, who led the Braves to the semistate finals in 1982, is the associate head coach for the Mocs.
• Kelly scores 10 for Hawkeyes — Former Marshall High School standout Jake Kelly, a freshman at Iowa, scored in double figures in his first collegiate game on Thursday.
Kelly scored 10 points in 16 minutes as Iowa beat Division III Simpson College 56-30 in an exhibition game. Kelly hit 2 of 3 shots from the field, both 3-pointers, and also went 4 for 4 at the free throw line. He also had one rebound.
Iowa has just 11 players on its roster this year due to several defections after former coach Steve Alford took the New Mexico job.
• Trendelman paces St. Joe’s — The St. Joseph’s volleyball team lost both matches on its final road trip of the season recently, falling by identical 3-0 scores to Northern Kentucky and Bellarmine.
Joy Trendelman of Terre Haute South had a team-high 18 kills for the weekend.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter who now teaches at Northview High School. He can be reached at email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE — Basketball season is upon us again, and it’s time to take a look at where former Wabash Valley standouts will be competing this winter.
- College Report
College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record
Two Wabash Valley products have helped the Ball State softball team get off to a 12-2 start, including five straight wins last weekend to capture the Louisville Slugger Invitational at Arizona State.
College Report: Valley pair square off in softball pitching duel
Administrators and coaches long ago scheduled the East Tennessee State and Indiana University softball teams to both compete in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta last weekend. Little could they have realized, however, that a Sunday afternoon pitching matchup between the two teams would pair two successful, blonde, and versatile performers from western Indiana in a head-to-head clash.
College report: Versatile Vicars set to help VU baseball program
Chris Barney knew what qualities he wanted as he was searching this winter for a new assistant baseball coach at Vincennes University. He wanted someone familiar with his program and his coaching style, someone from the Wabash Valley area who understood the state’s high school and American Legion programs, someone who had played several different positions in the field and also someone who had made a successful transition from junior college to Division I baseball. It didn’t take him long to realize that Cole Vicars was his man.
College report: Terre Haute pair Berry, Comer to boost Sycamores’ lines
While many people have varying opinions on the most important position on a football team, most old-school gridiron veterans would consider strong line play as a necessity for anything else to work — kind of like pitching in baseball and guard play in basketball.
College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors
Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court. Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.
College Report: Mahurins playing major role for Indiana Wesleyan
R.J. Mahurin, a senior at Indiana Wesleyan, was selected as the Crossroads League’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the period of Nov. 24-30.
The fifth-year senior from Rockville led Indiana Wesleyan, then ranked No. 2 in NAIA Division II, to an 88-82 win over No. 9 Bethel last month in the Crossroads League opener.
Mahurin scored 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field, including 7 of 10 from 3 point range. He also recorded seven rebounds and two assists while knocking down both free throws in the contest.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former WRC football standouts playing key roles for No. 1 Mount Union
It’s a huge jump from the Wabash River Conference, one of the smallest leagues that plays high school football in Indiana, to Division III national powerhouse.
But two Wabash Valley standouts have made that leap and are significant contributors for top-ranked and defending national champion Mount Union (Ohio).
College Report: North grad enjoying sophomore season at Virginia Tech
A.J. Hughes had an admittedly up and down freshman season as the punter for Virginia Tech’s football team, but the sophomore from Terre Haute North High School has elevated his game like one of his long, hanging left-footed punts.
Hughes ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in punting with a 44.8-yard average per punt, a 4.7 increase over last year and a lofty number that ranks him ninth nationally.
College Report: South graduate becomes Wabash College swim coach
Brent Noble’s climb up the collegiate swimming coaches has taken another big step, after the Terre Haute South grad was recently named the new head swimming and diving coach at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.
Noble joins the Wabash program after serving for a year as the women’s head swimming coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
College Report: People with Valley ties getting up-close look at top-ranked Crimson Tide
Trivia question: What do Trent Miles, A.J. Hughes and Johnny Manziel have in common?
Maybe nothing right now, but after Saturday they will all have played against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide already this season.
Manziel has no known local ties, but was involved in the most-hyped game of the year last month as Texas A&M fell just short in a late comeback against Alabama.
Hughes, a sophomore punter for Virginia Tech from Terre Haute North, did his part in the Hokies’ 35-10 season–opening loss to the Tide.
Turner hoping to prove himself in junior college
Jeffrey Turner hopes a couple of years at junior college will do for his basketball career what it did for Derek Shouse.
COLLEGE REPORT: Watson, Seliger move on in strength and conditioning careers
Three members of the Indiana State athletics strength and conditioning staff, including two from Terre Haute, have advanced their careers and moved on to other opportunities.
Daniel Watson, former graduate assistant from Terre Haute North, has been hired by Rocky Mountain College to serve an assistant football coach and the head strength and conditioning coach.
Matt Seliger, also a former graduate assistant and North Patriot, has been hired by Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas, to serve as an intern.
Longtime Butler assistant stays loyal to new job
Matthew Graves waited patiently for nine years as a member of the Butler men’s basketball staff for his chance to be a head coach.
COLLEGE REPORT: Several Valley standouts busy with baseball
Several of the Wabash Valley area standouts now in college baseball are busy with summer league teams.
COLLEGE REPORT: Kentucky baseball star Reed earns All-SEC
Kentucky sophomore baseball standout A.J. Reed of Terre Haute South Vigo High School earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in voting by the league coaches for the recently completed season.
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
Catching up as the school year winds down
Odds and ends from here and there as the school year quickly winds down. For starters, high jumper Nick Jaeger of Terre Haute South was named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s male track & field newcomer of the year:
College Report: Lively earned collegiate upgrade with strong play
Hillary Lively signed to play Division II basketball at Maryville (Mo.) during her senior year at North Vermillion, but those plans changed and she would up at nearby Danville Area Community College — where she recently concluded an outstanding two-year career.
Lively was impressive enough to earn a Division I scholarship to Southeast Missouri State of the Ohio Valley Conference, and both her future and past college coaches think she will continue to succeed there.
“She fits what we need,” SEMO coach Ty Margenthaler said. “She has college experience, she is strong and physical and plays well around the basket and moves well.
“Her strength, rebounding and touch around the basket will be a big help. On the defensive end, she’ll be able to guard a true center.”
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley prep athletes getting ready for next level
The NCAA “regular” signing period begins Wednesday for all sports except football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
COLLEGE REPORT: Conferences honor Valley softball players
Several Wabash Valley area college softball players have been honored by their respective conferences for outstanding play this spring.
COLLEGE REPORT: Jake Newton makes big impact for Lincoln Trail College
Jake Newton had a long time between playing in competitive basketball games, a span of about 18 months, and used the frustration from that long dry spell to produce a stellar freshman season for Lincoln Trail College this winter.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed earns SEC Player of the Week honors
After belting three home runs during a five games last week, Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.
COLLEGE REPORT: Spring newcomers making marks
Several freshman baseball and softball NCAA Division I players from the Wabash Valley have already made immediate impacts at their new schools, while others are waiting for their turns to shine.
COLLEGE REPORT: A.J. Reed named third-team preseason baseball All-American
Two-way sophomore standout A.J. Reed was one of three University of Kentucky players named third-team preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
COLLEGE REPORT: Sponsler honored after big week for Wabash men's hoops
Wabash College freshman Ross Sponsler of Terre Haute North was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 6.
COLLEGE REPORT: North grad Hughes finds success after facing preseason adversity
A.J. Hughes knew he was in for a battle as he competed with three other walk-on punters in the preseason for the lone starting job on the Virginia Tech football team.
Etling, Meggs enjoying great year
It’s been a great year so far with more to come for a pair of longtime friends and St. Patrick’s School classmates.
Former Terre Haute resident Jack Meggs quarterbacked the Bellevue Wolverines football team to the Washington Class 3A state championship this fall, culminating with a 35-3 win over Sammamish Eastside Catholic — Bellevue’s fifth straight crown.
Danny Etling, meanwhile, has completed graduation requirements at Terre Haute South and is preparing for an upcoming high school all-star game and his first college classes in a couple of weeks.
COLLEGE REPORT: Valley’s women’s college hoops players start strong
Several women’s college basketball players from the Wabash Valley have gotten off to good starts this season on the hardwood. Highlights:
COLLEGE REPORT: Mayhew, Mascari provide fall highlights
Several dozen Wabash Valley athletes enjoyed successful fall seasons collegiately in cross country and tennis this year.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former North teammates start strong in college
Former Terre Haute North teammates Ross Sponsler and Matt O’Leary made their college basketball debuts last week and had outstanding initial performances.
- More College Report Headlines
- College report: Valley softball pair help Ball State start off with 12-2 record