TERRE HAUTE —
There is a significant amount of buzz entering Indiana State’s 2013-14 men’s basketball season.
A less kind way to define buzz is to call it noise.
The noise comes from fans, alumni, the media ... even the Sycamores themselves at times. Some of the noise sings ISU’s praises, some raises doubt, but either way the way noise is ever-present.
In a fascinating 18-15 2013 season, the Sycamores learned that they have to take care of themselves and not worry about the noise.
“We think about that a lot. Coach [Greg Lansing] is always saying that what other people think doesn’t matter and we have to take every game at a time. We want to keep the same routine, we want focus to be an every-day thing instead of looking too far down the road,” guard Dawon Cummings said.
ISU’s players have tried to figure out the lessons of their 2013 season since it ended in the National Invitational Tournament at Iowa in March. For the most part, it was a positive campaign with wins over nationally heralded Mississippi, Miami, Wichita State and Creighton. Unfortunately, ISU’s seven losses in its last nine games kept the Sycamores from reaching their full potential.
“We had good preparation, but we psyched ourselves sometimes thinking that we were too good or that we weren’t good enough. We need to focus on our preparation this year more than anything,” guard Devonte Brown said.
Point guard Jake Odum stressed game-to-game focus. Like many of his teammates, the lesson taken from the high highs and the low lows of 2013 was that the team took its eye off the ball in that department. Odum also believes maintaining an even emotional keel is something that can be learned too.
“We can’t forget about some of the good times we had last year and some of the bad times. Say we go on a streak and win a few games in a row. We can’t forget how the season ended. If we lose a few in a row, we can’t let that bring us down,” Odum said.
ISU — which seeks its fifth straight winning season — has pieces to be excellent and the stars are seemingly aligned in the MVC to help the Sycamores realize lofty goals.
ISU has more players back (nine) than any other MVC team. ISU has scoring threats at all five of its starting positions. Moreover, the departure of Creighton from the MVC cleared the field for a new contender to emerge to challenge Wichita State. No team is better placed than the Sycamores to do it.
“I think we’re as deep and as talented as we’ve been since I’ve been here. We have good upperclassmen, but talented underclassmen,” Lansing said.
Odum (13.6 ppg, 4.6 assists) is back for his final go-around in a Sycamore uniform and he stirs the drink. Odum has always been an excellent distributor as well as a clutch shot-maker. What he strives to do in his senior season is to strike the right balance between when to give and when to take.
“I need to understand when I need to score, when I need to pass, and its tough to find that even with all of the minutes I’ve played,” Odum said. “It might be at a certain four-minute point of the game where I need to shoot or where I need to pass. It’s tough to find that medium and understand the time to take over.”
Some of Odum’s best moments have come in late-game situations — he hit the game-winning shot to beat Miami a year ago — and he wants that mentality to come to the fore at other points of the game.
“The one thing I do know is I want the ball at the end of the game. It’s what I look forward to. It’s what I live for. I want to take the last-minute-of-the-game mentality into early parts of the game,” Odum said.
The rest of ISU’s projected starting lineup all played significant minutes last season. Shooting guard Cummings (6.4), swingman Khristian Smith (5.1) and forward Manny Arop (12 ppg) are all seeking improvement in their second year of ISU action.
Forward Justin Gant (7.5) seeks consistency. It’s no accident that when ISU was at its best in 2013, it was when Gant was locked in.
“Through the first half of conference last year, Justin was at an all-conference level, but he was like a lot of guys where he hadn’t played that many minutes and games and he ran out of gas a little bit,” Lansing said. “Justin has come so far. He’s maturing, getting stronger, getting tougher. He’s a huge key for how good we can be. If he can take it to another level, our team can take it to another level.”
ISU has enviable depth. Sophomore guard Brown (3.8) proved to be a two-tool player off the bench a year ago with his defense and driving ability. Senior guard Lucas Eitel (4.1) is experienced and can get hot from 3-point range. Junior center Jake Kitchell (2.7) had his moments last season and gives ISU bulk in the paint.
Two newcomers in the paint — freshman T.J. Bell and junior college transfer Demetrius Moore — are being counted on to help. Sophomore swingman Brandon Burnett (1.7) should see more action this season and can become a solid scorer if he can get his shot to fall consistently.
True freshmen Brenton Scott and Alex Etherington could be redshirted. If not, both will find playing time hard to come by.
ISU’s schedule will challenge the Sycamores. There are just four home nonconference games with difficult trips to Belmont, Notre Dame and Saint Louis. ISU plays in the Great Alaska Shootout with a solid mid-major field, including Tulsa and Harvard.
TERRE HAUTE —
There is a significant amount of buzz entering Indiana State’s 2013-14 men’s basketball season.
Immense power: A leaner A.J. Reed making play as elite prospect
Reed took his talents to Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference in 2011 and hasn’t looked back in the baseball sense. After a standout career at Terre Haute South — he was Indiana’s Player of the Year in 2011 — area fans had an idea of the wind Kentucky was sowing when it coaxed Reed to Lexington, Ky.
METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational
Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.
ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series
The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman
Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.
Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola
Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.
Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond
The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.
ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win
Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.
Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game
The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.
Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep
Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State
Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
“We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.
ISU football set for first spring scrimmage
Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
“We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”
METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis
Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped
Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.
Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard
Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength
During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.
Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year
Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program
Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball
The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5
The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
Dedicated to helping others
It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
ISU baseball shows mental toughness in win over Illinois State
When the pressure’s on, there’s nothing a coach likes more than to see his team double down on their approach and grit out a positive result.
Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores
Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.
Woods softball team wins 4th straight
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball team swept Grace College with a pair of wins in its home opener Wednesday.
Devoted brothers: Mahurins relish chance to team up and win NAIA title
It wasn’t a great year for NCAA basketball in the Hoosier state outside of Indiana State’s 23-victory season.
But a team in NAIA Division II with eight Indiana natives — and coached by former Valparaiso point guard Greg Tonagel, an Indiana All-Star for his hometown of LaPorte — brought home a national basketball championship.
Tonagel, the scrappy point guard who played alongside Bryce Drew for that magical Valpo team, created more March hoops memories with the help of Rockville brothers R.J. and Lane Mahurin.
- More College Headlines
- Immense power: A leaner A.J. Reed making play as elite prospect