TERRE HAUTE — The men’s college basketball season is in full swing, and several Wabash Valley area players are having outstanding seasons.
All five Division I players are now in the starting lineup for their respective teams, since Terre Haute North’s Wendell Mardis moved into the first five for Alabama State two games ago.
Nate Blank’s Gardner-Webb squad has not maintained its early-season success and has fallen off to a 5-8 record, while former area resident Jake Kelly has been one of Iowa’s top players this year.
A.J. Graves of White River Valley has had another stellar season, hitting a 35-footer on Friday night to lead the No. 16-ranked Butler Bulldogs over Southern Illinois, while Terre Haute South’s Armon Bassett was expected to return to action Saturday for No. 14 Indiana after a three-game suspension.
Here are some other highlights:
• Iowa’s Kelly, a freshman guard, moved into the starting lineup in Iowa’s last five games and led the team in assists three times. He scored a career-high 19 points in a win at Northern Iowa, hitting 6-13 field goal attempts and 3-5 treys while collecting two steals.
Kelly had six assists against Louisiana-Monroe and four assists in the win over Eastern Illinois. At Iowa State, he contributed 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Kelly is averaging 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game and ranks among Big Ten leaders in 3-point field goal percentage (50 percent).
• Terre Haute South grad Anthony McNeal of Brescia College won the NAIA Division I Independent Basketball Player of the Week honors for the week ending Dec. 10.
McNeal, a junior swingman, averaged 26.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in a 1-1 week for the Bearcats last week, scoring a season-high 28 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in 45 minutes against Indiana-Southeast, coming back with a 25-point, five rebound outing against Pikeville.
McNeal is second on the Brescia squad in scoring at 19.7 per game, shooting .523 from the field, .400 from 3-point range and .732 from the free throw line.
• Northview grad Heath Chamberlain helped Marian College to win the team’s own holiday tournament in December with a big game against Davenport in a 53-50 semifinal win.
Chamberlain had team highs of nine points and five rebounds, including two key baskets late in the game and a huge defensive stop on the last possession of the game, to pace Marian.
The Knights then defeated IU-Southeast 67-73 in the championship game.
In women’s college hoops news:
• More on Whitted, Martin — Comments from IUPUI Coach Shanna Hart were not received in time for the Dec. 16 College Report, but Hart was very complimentary of the Northview sophomore.
“Julia showed us glimpses of what she could do towards the end of last season, but this year, she has been dominant on several occasions,” Hart said. “Julia does a very good job of getting in position to score. She knows how to properly post-up and knows the angles for her layups and bank shots.”
Hart foresees continued success for Whitted.
“Julia has the potential to be one of, if not the top, player in our conference when her eligibility is over,” Hart added. “With her combination of size and strength, she presents talents that very few people in our conference possess.
“When she plays to her potential, like she did against Marshall and Cleveland State, it can take our team to a completely different level.”
Terre Haute North’s Molly Martin, meanwhile, made the all-tournament team each of the past two weekends in helping Hanover College take a 7-3 record into the New Year.
Hanover hosted and won the fifth annual Eleanore Moyer tournament Dec. 15-16. Martin had 15 points and eight rebounds in a 70-58 first-round win over Spalding, then added 12 points in an 80-76 win over Denison in the championship game.
Last weekend, Martin scored a career-high 25 points and added 14 rebounds as Hanover beat North Park 61-54 in the first round of the Host Holiday Classic at Holland, Mich.
Hope, the host school ranked No. 1 in the nation in NAIA, routed Hanover 88-49 in the finals. Martin had seven points and five rebounds for the Panthers.
In football news:
• Wabash football happenings – The Wabash College football team saw its outstanding season end in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs with a 47-7 loss at Wisconsin-Whitewater, which eventually cruised to the national championship.
That game ended the Wabash careers of former Terre Haute North standouts Mike Russell and Jared Lange, and also was the last game at Wabash for Coach Chris Creighton. Creighton left the Little Giants last week to accept the head coaching position at Drake.
North senior placekicker Drew Oehler will be the only returning Valley player next year for Wabash.
North Central all-state running back Michael Woodsmall had been considering Wabash, but said Friday he now places DePauw, St. Joseph’s and Indianapolis at the top of his list after Creighton’s departure.
• Siverly honored — McKendree University senior Mike Siverly of Casey-Westfield) has been named to the American Football Coaches Association-NAIA All-America team.
Siverly, who was a four-year starter along the Bearcats’ offensive line, was one of 25 players selected to the squad. The AFCA-NAIA All-America team is chosen by members of the AFCA-NAIA All-America Selection Committee. That body is comprised of three head coaches from each of the AFCA’s nine districts.
“This is a great honor for Mike,” said McKendree head football coach Carl Poelker. “He has been a consistent performer for us throughout his four-year career, and has been our best lineman throughout that period. Mike has been a starter since his freshman season and has been a big reason our running game has been so successful. He started his first three seasons then moved to guard this year. Mike continued to perform at a high level even after making the transition.”
A two-time All-Conference selection in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League, Siverly has graded out as the Bearcats’ top lineman in each of the past two seasons. During his four-year career, Siverly helped lead McKendree to 28 victories and a pair of NAIA Football Championship Series appearances.
McKendree finished the 2007 season with a record of 6-4.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE — The men’s college basketball season is in full swing, and several Wabash Valley area players are having outstanding seasons.
- College Report
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.
COLLEGE REPORT: Shoemaker OBP leads Chisox farmhands
Former Indiana State, Olney Central and Northview baseball standout Brady Shoemaker opened a lot of eyes last summer in the Chicago White Sox farm system, earning him a spot on a mlb.com blog team that highlighted the team’s outstanding minor leaguers at each position.
COLLEGE REPORT: Boeglin has plenty of ISU memories, but not all are related to basketball
Melanie Boeglin, an All-American who played on the women’s basketball team at Indiana State from 2002-2006, will be inducted into the 21st class of the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday.
COLLEGE REPORT: North grad leading DePauw volleyball in winning streak
DePauw’s volleyball team has won seven straight matches entering this weekend’s DePauw Invitational, including four straight wins last weekend to capture the Rose-Hulman invitational title.
COLLEGE REPORT: Engle moving up football coaching ranks
Michael Engle graduated from DePauw University in the spring of 2011 with a degree in political science and future plans to advance his studies in law school.
Being a coach’s son and a competitive athlete by nature, Engle has put those plans on hold for now.
COLLEGE REPORT: From Terre Haute South to Division I competition to coaching careers
Adriane Wunderlich and Katelyn Bishop both turned stellar high school careers at Terre Haute South into Division I collegiate careers at Indiana State and Southern California, respectively.
COLLEGE REPORT: Former prep athletes getting ready for fall college season
An impressive total of at least 122 Wabash Valley athletes and coaches will be competing collegiately for the first time during the upcoming school year or have changed schools to continue their careers.
- More College Report Headlines
- COLLEGE REPORT: Former WRC football standouts playing key roles for No. 1 Mount Union