TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State swingman Khristian Smith was a fixture at Sycamore basketball events during the 2011-12 season.
Smith was ever-present at practices and games. He always had a smile on his face. It was evident he was happy to be a Sycamore.
The positivity that Smith projects is just how the affable freshman from Indianapolis is. But on another level, the smile was just there trying to fool the public.
Deep down inside, the 2011-12 season was torturous for the former Indianapolis Pike standout. Smith did not academically qualify to be eligible last season. His grades were good enough to enroll at Indiana State, but not good enough to qualify through the NCAA clearinghouse.
As a result, he had to sit last season out and get his grades to a level where he could be eligible for the 2012-13 campaign.
That meant, for the first time since he was 4, Smith would play no organized basketball for an entire season.
“I appreciate the game a whole lot more now. I’ve played basketball since I was 4. Having a year taken away? That was real hard, especially coming into college. I expected to come in right away, but it didn’t work out,” Smith said.
The path to ISU was circuitous for Smith, but mainly, it was frustrating. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound swingman initially committed to Cincinnati. However, Smith did not academically qualify upon leaving Pike.
He elected to attend a year of prep school at Maine Central Institute (and was MVP on Maine Central’s tournament championship team) to get himself in good stead academically with the NCAA’s standards. But it didn’t happen there either.
Smith decommitted from Cincinnati and committed to ISU in November 2010. Smith was not able to academically qualify for the 2011-12 season and sat out last season as a grayshirt.
“He’s been though an awful lot. He didn’t qualify out of high school. He went to prep school and didn’t quite make it. He took the ACT and SAT tests multiple times, but it just didn’t happen,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Lansing said that the will was there for Smith to get his grades in order, but he never had the support system to get over the hump. Lansing said it’s a common problem as players are often ignorant that the poor grades they receive as underclassmen in high school can and will come back to bite them when college offers get serious.
“We have great academic support here and he needed it. Young guys [in high school] don’t realize that those grades count when you’re a freshman and a sophomore. If they’re falling through the cracks then, you have a lot to overcome. These guys in high school need great guidance starting when they’re freshman,” Lansing noted.
Smith could have left ISU and enrolled in a junior college, but he elected to stick it out. It wasn’t easy. Smith could not participate in any official team activities.
“My basketball court was the classroom. I knew I had to get in, study real hard and do everything I had to do,” Smith said.
Though Smith could only watch, Lansing lauded him for projecting the right attitude.
“He was around the guys, but he couldn’t do anything with the team. The only thing he could do is work with [strength coach Dave] McManus,” Lansing noted. “He couldn’t do anything, but the funny thing was he was a great teammate last year. He supported them and pulled for them, but to be stripped of something you love so much was tough for him.”
Smith bonded with ISU’s 2011-12 redshirt freshmen — Devonte Brown and Brandon Burnett — as well as Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop. All had to sit out last year.
But they could practice and Smith could not. He did his best to learn via observation.
“I saw the little things that people do. You’re able to see little gaps you can take advantage of. I watched Devonte [Brown] and Brandon [Burnett] struggle a little at the beginning and now I’m a little unsure now with it being my first time out there,” Smith said.
If Smith is unsure, he’s done a good job of hiding it. As ISU practices ahead of its exhibition trip to the Bahamas on Aug. 12, Smith has been impressive and as athletic as advertised. Smith has a nice touch on his outside shot and is quick to get to the basket. Defensively, he made one unfortunate ISU shooter pay for a weak shot during Thursday’s practice when he swatted it onto the adjacent court.
“He’s tough. He’s a tough guy. He had a rough year last year. I think it builds fire. I think it’s like the guys who sit out and redshirt for a year. You get that itch for the game. He’s a talent no one really knows about in the league. I think he’s going to surprise some people,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
Since Smith arrived, its been whispered among those close to the Sycamore program what kind of potential he could have. Smith acknowledged how hungry he is to finally get to play and knows there’s anticipation about his potential.
But he’s also matured through his long wait. There were no bold statements about what he thinks he can do as his ISU career is finally upon him.
“There’s a lot of anxiousness to get out on the court. We’re all anxious. This is a new team with a whole new focus. We have something to prove. Everyone has had my name written on things and I haven’t done anything. I’m just trying to work hard to prove myself,” Smith said.
• Rhett Smith suffers finger injury — On the first play of ISU’s Thursday practice, freshman forward Rhett Smith suffered a dislocation of his pinky.
Khristian Smith also suffered a toe injury near the end of Thursday’s practice, but it was not believed to be serious.
• ISU completes nonconference schedule — The last two dates on ISU’s nonconference slate have been filled. The Sycamores will play host to Winthrop on Nov. 13 and Division II Truman State on Nov. 17.
ISU will play five nonconference home games in 2012-13, including February’s BracketBusters game.
After sitting out season, Khristian Smith is ready to play
TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State swingman Khristian Smith was a fixture at Sycamore basketball events during the 2011-12 season.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida
Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
“The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Oh snap: Reed's 18-game hitting streak falls in No. 20 UK's loss at No. 16 IU
No. 16 Indiana mounted two-run rallies in the first and fourth innings and the Hoosiers ended the hitting streak of Terre Haute native A.J. Reed at 18 games to post a 7-2 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Despite going hitless, Reed remains the NCAA leader in home runs (8) and RBI (28) for a potent Wildcats’ offense.
Kentucky (13-4) dropped its first game with the Hoosiers in the last four meetings, with the meeting marking the first time in modern UK history (2003-present) that the two teams faced off as top-20 foes.
Munn named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Indiana State leads the Missouri Valley with six of the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards after Anna Munn earned the recognition Tuesday for the 2013-14 season.
Munn joins Kourtney Mennen (2003), Melanie Boeglin (2006), Laura Rudolphi (2007) and Kelsey Luna (2009 and 2010) as winners of the award, which began in 2002.
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers
No one on Indiana State’s men’s basketball needed to say a word about the Sycamores’ 83-69 loss to Wichita State in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best
It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.
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.
- More College Headlines
- METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida