TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State assistant coach Terry Parker hasn’t had too much time to make a first impression.
Officially hired in late April, but identified as Dave Ragland’s replacement on Greg Lansing’s staff long before that, there haven’t been many team activities for Parker to take part in since he joined ISU’s staff from Utah Valley.
That changed on Thursday, when ISU had one of its permitted summer practice sessions at ISU Arena.
Parker was kinetic. It was best demonstrated when Laquarious Paige got into a stance to defend Brenton Scott. Parker ran the sideline, stood behind Scott, and showed Paige exactly how his stance was supposed to look.
Parker has a plan to get acclimated even further. With a young ISU roster that included seven players that have never played a minute in anger, Parker fits right in as yet another newbie.
“I’m trying to find my way and find my niche. I just want to be a friend to the guys and bring energy to practice. I want to be positive. I think its been a great start,” Parker said.
Parker, an Atlanta native, came to ISU from Dick Hunsaker’s staff at Utah Valley. Parker spent two seasons there, but there’s an ISU tie in his background from his playing days at Louisiana Tech.
When Parker was a guard for the Bulldogs, ISU associate head coach Lou Gudino was on staff there. Gudino lauded Parker’s work ethic and coachability and he knew Parker wanted to become a coach some day. They stayed in touch after each moved on from Louisiana Tech.
“He was always honest and he cared about me as a player and as a person. His influence made me want to become a coach,” Parker said.
Parker’s tie to Gudino makes sense given the approach Lansing took to the hire.
“The most important thing for me in the hire was making sure Lou and Marcus [Belcher] were happy about it and that this was the guy they wanted. It’s those three working together a lot. I kind of wanted them to make the hire and we couldn’t have got a better guy,” Lansing said.
So far, Parker, or “T.P.” as he’s affectionately known, has been a popular choice among the Sycamores.
“We definitely miss Rags, but I wouldn’t want anyone but coach Parker. He picks up a lot of energy with us on and off the floor,” ISU forward Khristian Smith said.
n Old Spice revisited — Lansing confirmed that ISU has been invited to participate in the Old Spice Classic and will do so in 2016. ISU’s participation hasn’t been officially announced, but a contract was signed.
ISU went 2-1 at the Old Spice Classic in November 2011. The Sycamores beat Texas Tech and Fairfield and lost a close game to Minnesota in the semifinals. The tournament was notable for Jake Odum’s lone career triple-double against Fairfield. The triple-double came when Odum was at the height of his plantar fasciitis woes he suffered throughout his sophomore season.
n Purdue off for this season — ISU released a portion of its nonconference schedule this week. One notable omission was Purdue.
More than a year ago, Lansing and Purdue coach Matt Painter had agreed in principle to a two-for-one series that was to begin in 2014-15. Purdue guard Bryson Scott and Indiana State guard Brenton Scott are twin brothers and the series would have allowed the pair to face off for the majority of their careers.
But even as early as last season — when the makeup of ISU’s schedule became apparent with strong games against Saint Louis, Butler, Illinois and either Memphis or Baylor — the Purdue series was discussed internally as expendable. This was before Brenton Scott’s arrest last March when he initially claimed to be his twin brother.
Ultimately, the demise of the matchup came down to not being able to match available dates.
“We couldn’t find the date to work for either of us. They needed four days for the tournament they’re in and it took too much from us. We had to secure dates for Saint Louis and Butler and we had to play at Iona [a BracketBusters return game]. We tried, but it just didn’t work,” Lansing said.
Lansing said he was confident ISU and Purdue would make another arrangement in the future, but also noted that, “our schedule is hard enough as it is.”
Lansing would not rule out the possibility of adding a buy game to the schedule. It’s not a certainty, and nothing imminent is in the works, but Lansing said he likes to keep his options open. If a buy game didn’t materialize, ISU would likely add a Division II home game to the schedule.
n Burnett healing — ISU forward Brandon Burnett had surgery on his right pinkie in late April. Burnett did some light shooting and nothing else during the Sycamores’ practice on Thursday.
Burnett has his pinkie and his ring finger bandaged. The injury is expected to be fully healed by the fall.
ISU nonconference schedule to date
Friday, Nov. 14 at IUPUI
Tuesday, Nov. 18 Saint Louis
Saturday, Nov. 22 Austin Peay*
Monday, Nov. 24 Brown*
Nov. 28 or 29 Illinois#
Nov. 29 or 30 Memphis or Baylor#
Wednesday, Dec. 3 Butler
Saturday, Dec. 6 at Ball State
Saturday, Dec. 13 at Iona
Saturday, Dec. 20 Eastern Illinois
Sunday, Dec. 28 Missouri-Kansas City
* Home games played as part of Las Vegas Invitational
# Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas