News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

December 14, 2013

Sycamores facing old friend today

ISU matches wits against UMKC and former assistant Richardson

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing has never been shy in his sentimentality towards his former colleagues and friends in the college basketball world, but that trait only goes so far.

At 3 p.m. today, Lansing will face his friend Kareem Richardson — currently in his first year as coach at Missouri-Kansas City — and Lansing made it plain where he stands on facing buddies in the business.

“A lot of people in our business are like, ‘I don’t like to play my friends.’ I love it. I have a lot of good friends in the business. You want to play someone who’s good and I want to beat their butt. Every one of them,” Lansing said.

Lansing had a smile on his face when he said it and it’s clear that’s he’s looking forward to matching wits with Richardson, who was an ISU assistant coach from 1999-2002.

“Kareem was tough, tough, tough as a player [at Evansville]. Kareem’s been around great coaches and he’s a good guy,’’ Lansing said.

“He’s a hard worker. He’s a good friend. I get a big kick out of guys like Kareem and Rick Ray [former ISU assistant and current Mississippi State coach] getting head coaching jobs so I can be supporters of them.”

Partly because of their friendship, Lansing and Richardson agreed to play a home-and-home series as the Kangeroos will return the game to Hulman Center next year.

“Greg’s a good friend of mine. We’re cut from the same cloth. We’re both motion-type of guys. We have the discipline of scouting and game preparation. We have a lot of commonality,” Richardson said.

Richardson has fond memories of his time in Terre Haute as it was his first Division I coaching job. He replaced Lansing on Royce Waltman’s staff in 1999 when Lansing left for Iowa. Richardson was an assistant on ISU’s tournament teams in 2000 and 2001.

“Having the opportunity to work for — in my opinion — one of the best coaching and basketball minds in coach Waltman really laid the foundation of organization, discipline, game preparation and recruiting base. A lot of where I am today is in large part due to ISU and coach Waltman,” Richardson said.

Richardson later moved on to Wright State (2003), Evansville (2004-07), UMKC (2008), Drake (2009-11), Xavier (2012) and joined Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville last season.

Richardson had already been hired at UMKC when the Cardinals won the national championship.

As most assistants who become a head coach do, Richardson has melded the philosophies of all of his former head coaches, including Waltman and Pitino.

“The defensive principles are very similar. I like the fast pace, I like the pressing. I wanted to work some of the intracacies of the press into the man defense,” Richardson said.

The Kangeroos (2-6) have played a difficult schedule. UMKC has lost to Louisville, Creighton and Iowa State. UMKC is led by freshman guard Martez Harrison, who averages 17.1 points.

“We’re still in the infant stages of building our brand and our program. We have five returning guys, but it’s whole new system for them. So they’re trying to adapt to that,” Richardson said.

ISU (6-2) will be playing a road game on the back of exam week. Per usual during exams, the practices were light, but Lansing is hoping the team can build on some of the good things it did in a win at Eastern Illinois last Saturday.

“We didn’t play terrific, but we played hard and our defense was better,” Lansing said. “This is a tough time for a student-athlete, but when it’s over you hope it’s a rewarding thing for them.”

The game is a homecoming for ISU guard Dawon Cummings. The senior played at Kansas City’s Hogan Prep High School.

n Municipal Auditorium — UMKC plays its home games at Kansas City’s historic Municipal Auditorium … hallowed ground for the Sycamores.

ISU won its 1950 NAIA title in the 78-year-old gym. ISU participated in 12 NAIB/NAIA tournaments in the facility from the 1940s to the 1960s.

ISU would’ve played there in a 13th tournament in 1947 had then-coach John Wooden not taken a brave stance against segregation. Clarence Walker, an African-American player, was a Sycamore, but the NAIB had a policy that banned black players. Wooden refused the invitation to the tournament. A year later, the NAIB integrated the tournament and ISU finished as runner-up.

Lansing has his own personal moment in the gym — which has also hosted Final Four’s and the NBA’s Kansas City Kings. It was renovated in 2007.

“I’m excited about it. I actually shot Knights of Columbus free throws at a Kansas City Kings game there as a little kid. I love old basketball facilities like that,” Lansing said.

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