TERRE HAUTE — Jake Kelly is coming home … to become a Sycamore.
Kelly, whose childhood was spent in Vigo County and Marshall, Ill., made a verbal commitment to transfer to Indiana State from the University of Iowa.
Kelly’s transfer to ISU was a widely anticipated move after he was released from his Iowa scholarship last week and after he expressed a desire to play closer to home, but Kelly himself didn’t confirm it until a Tuesday telephone interview with the Tribune-Star.
“Coming home … that’s the main reason for me leaving Iowa. I had some good things going at Iowa. I hate to leave the Big Ten, I was making some good progress there, but some things are more important, like being around your family and friends,” said Kelly in a Tuesday telephone interview. “Plus, I’m excited about the ISU program. I feel I’m a good fit with the coaches and they fit my personality.”
The lure of coming home was irresistible for Kelly, who experienced the tragedy of losing his mother — Julia Kelly — in a June 7, 2008 plane crash just off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Julia Kelly had moved to Iowa from Carmel to be with Jake Kelly while he played for the Hawkeyes. Jake Kelly had moved to Carmel from Marshall, Ill., with his mother, and he played the final two years of his high school career at Carmel High School.
Kelly played at Marshall — which is just over the Illinois state line, 15 miles from the ISU campus — from 2003-05 before he transferred to Carmel.
Kelly’s father — Bob Kelly, who lives in Terre Haute — told the Tribune-Star last week that Jake Kelly intended to transfer to ISU, but hadn’t had any contact with the coaching staff.
Once released from his Iowa scholarship, things fell into line for the Sycamores in short order. Current ISU assistant coach Greg Lansing was on then-Iowa coach Steve Alford’s staff when the Hawkeyes began to show interest in Kelly during his Marshall and Carmel careers.
“I’m real excited to be closer to home. I think we’ll get Hulman Center packed again because we’re going to be a good team, we’re going to be playing at a high level and I think we can contend for the NCAA Tournament. All of that excites me about coming to ISU,” Kelly said.
As per NCAA rules, ISU coaches are not allowed to comment on Kelly until he signs his letter of intent. Men’s basketball signing day is April 15.
Kelly still has many friends in the area, including Logan and Lucas Eitel, also former Marshall players who will play at ISU next year as walk-ons. Kelly attended Marshall’s super-sectional and IHSA Class 2A state semifinal games during the Lions’ recent third-place run in the Illinois state boys basketball playoffs.
“I was really happy for [Marshall] coach [Tom] Brannan, he deserved that type of success. He’s always in the gym, as a sixth grader he welcomed me into the open gyms and he made me better,” Kelly said.
What Kelly does not yet know is when he’ll be playing for the Sycamores. Normally, Kelly would have to sit out a year after transferring from one Division I program to another, but given his family circumstance, Kelly will file for a hardship exemption to gain eligibility to play next season.
The hardship process has already begun, but Kelly does not yet have a timeframe as to when he’ll get a decision from the NCAA.
“I have to write a formal letter to the NCAA and then it goes from there,” Kelly said. “They need to make sure it’s truly a hardship case and make sure I’m not trying to pull a fast one, just so I can go to a better program. Given my situation, I’m confident the NCAA will approve it.”
Kelly, who is 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, averaged 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Iowa last season as he was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection.
Kelly came into his own late in the season, winning Big Ten Player of the Week twice in a three-week span in late February and March. Kelly won the honor on Feb. 23 after he had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds against Michigan on Feb. 22.
He won the honor again on March 9 after he averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in games against Ohio State and Penn State. He had a career-high 11 rebounds against Ohio State and a career-high 11 assists against Penn State.
He also notched a career-high 23 points against Northwestern on Feb. 28. Nine of his career individual highs at Iowa occurred in games played after Feb. 28, 2009. Not included in that was a 20-point, five-rebound, four-assist effort against current Final Four participant Michigan State on Feb. 25.
The potential arrival of Kelly — which has been rumored for at least a month among ISU diehards as well as fans around both Marshall and Terre Haute — has sent Sycamore fans into a fever pitch. No player has transferred into the ISU program with the weight of expectation Kelly will have in at least a decade, probably not since Steve Hart, a Terre Haute native, transferred from Indiana in the mid 1990s.
Kelly anticipates the pressure and feels playing in the Big Ten for two years will help him cope with it.
“The Big Ten has quite a bit of pressure and so does playing in Iowa. There’s no professional teams in Iowa, so pretty much everyone follows the Hawkeyes. You’re a big fish in small pond up here, so I don’t think it’ll be much different at ISU, except for the fact I’ll have a lot family and friends to support me along the way.”
Kelly joins a guard-heavy roster at ISU, which was 11-21 last season, but finished the year by winning seven of its last nine games. Starting guards Harry Marshall, Rashad Reed and Jordan Printy will all be back next year, along with Aaron Carter and Louisiana Tech transfer Dwayne Lathan, who will be eligible next season after sitting out a year. Incoming freshman Jake Odum — as well as the Eitel twins — also join a crowded backcourt.
Kelly expects to play both point guard and shooting guard at ISU, but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Honestly, I just want to fit in and win games, I don’t want to make this about me. Just because I’m coming from a Big Ten program, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s a team thing and I want to fit in to get us where we need to be at,” Kelly said.
“Honestly, I see a lot of talent on this team and it showed at the end of last season. The style is more up-tempo than Iowa and I think that fits me better. I think the NCAA Tournament is a reachable goal,” he added.
Kelly had good things to say about Iowa coach Todd Lickliter and stressed that his departure had nothing to do with the second-year Iowa coach. Kelly is one of four Hawkeyes that are transferring out of Iowa City after the Hawkeyes were 15-17 last season.
“Me and coach Lick got along real well. I’ve been really appreciative of the things he taught me. He turned me into one of the Big Ten’s best players, I can’t thank him enough for that,” Kelly said.
Kelly — who will claim the last remaining scholarship currently available at ISU — is the first Big Ten player to transfer to ISU since Terence Avery came from Northwestern in 1998.
TERRE HAUTE — Jake Kelly is coming home … to become a Sycamore.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan over Indiana
Glenn Robinson scored 20 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:10 to play, and Jordan Morgan had a double-double in his final home game to help No. 12 Michigan finish off its Big Ten championship season with an 84-80 victory over Indiana on Saturday night.
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year’s defeat in the last game of the regular season. In that game, Morgan’s tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Indiana State women move within one win from MVC title
Senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had 23 points to lead Indiana State to a 73-71 win at Drake on Thursday. The point guard led four Sycamores in double figures in the win.
Anna Munn, Jasmine Grier and Chelsea Small each chipped in 11 points as ISU shot 10-of-21 from 3-point range as a team.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
Rose-Hulman seniors lead Engineers into NCAA Division III Tournament
For Rose-Hulman’s six senior men’s basketball players, this weekend will mark the beginning of their third and final appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Having left Terre Haute by bus Thursday, Rose (22-5) will open the Division III four-team regional at Hope College in Holland, Mich., today against Wheaton College (19-8) at the unique time of 5:30 p.m.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers are coming off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular-season and tournament championships for the second consecutive year.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Nebraska completes sweep of Indiana
Indiana’s slim hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid are all but done, unless the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska never trailed Wednesday night, completing a season sweep of the Hoosiers with a 70-60 win. The loss ensures a losing conference record for IU (17-13, 7-10 Big Ten) while boosting the Huskers’ chances at an at-large berth.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program
Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.
Rose-Hulman wins third straight HCAC tournament crown
Tied with Hanover 26-26 at halftime of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship game Saturday night, host Rose-Hulman knew it had a couple of things in its favor.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?
If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.
Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.
VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home
Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.
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- FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge