News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 21, 2011

FROM THE PRESS BOX: Season dies down, but ISU’s plate not empty

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With coaching changes having mostly sorted themselves out and with recruiting having just entered its quiet period today, college basketball has settled into its more relaxed offseason mode.

But it doesn’t mean things are uneventful on Indiana State’s front.

College visits are still permissible by NCAA law during the quiet period, and ISU will have some potential recruits making their way to Terre Haute. Scheduling is an on-going project, and the Sycamores already in the fold need to work to get better and/or get healthy.

The Sycamores have a little of all of the above, starting with health of swingman Dwayne Lathan and forward Koang Doluony. Both players will have surgery today. Lathan on his broken humerus bone in his left arm, Doluony on his bum right shoulder.

Lathan had a near clean break during an open-gym fall one week ago. Lathan was driving the lane — by accounts of players I’ve talked to since, he was trying to dunk — and he was bumped in mid-air. Lathan couldn’t brace his fall properly, got his left arm stuck him and it bore the full brunt of the hard fall.

The photos of Lathan’s X-rays, posted on his Twitter account, are not for the feint of heart. The break makes it look as if Lathan has a long bayonet attached to the stub end of his upper arm above where the break took place.

“Plates and screws are being put into his arm,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said on Wednesday. “Both he and Koang will be out quite a while.”

Efforts to reach Lathan on Wednesday were not successful.

Doluony said his surgery will repair a ligament tear in his shoulder that effectively deep-sixed his sophomore season. Doluony could never recapture the effectiveness he showed during the second half of his freshman season. He’s hoping surgery will put him back to where he was production-wise.

“I have a tear in there and [surgery] will put it together again. I’ll be in brace for a month, then I’ll be doing rehab. It’s looking like about four months,” Doluony said. “When I found out the news, I was crushed, but I think it’s going to be huge for me personally. That injury set me back so much, I was never able to get into a rhythm.”

Dolouny will have a partner of sorts in rehabbing as Lathan will be recovering with him. No one knows for sure, yet, but Lathan’s recovery time isn’t anticipated to be quite as long as Doluony’s will be.

“It sucks that he had to get hurt with such a severe injury and it helps that we’re both getting surgery at the same time,” Doluony said.

Meanwhile, ISU is still trying to complete its 2011 schedule. ISU anticipates that it will open its season with a home game against Eastern Illinois. The Sycamores and Panthers have not played since the 2006 season. It would be part of a possible doubleheader with the women’s team as they are scheduled to play in the Preseason WNIT.

ISU will also play a home-and-home series with Louisiana-Monroe. It will give Lathan a chance to play in front of his family. Lathan’s hometown of Chatham, La., is 30 miles away from Monroe.

ISU is still deciding whether to return its BracketBusters game with Morehead State this year or in the 2012-13 season. If ISU made its return to Morehead State next year, it would create a home-away schedule imbalance similar to the 2011 season.

As of now, ISU will play host to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Ball State. The Sycamores will travel to Buffalo and Boise State. ISU will also play in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Sycamores are working on getting at least two more dates, including a possible away game against a power conference school.

n The NFL … do you care? — First there was the ballyhooed and always overhyped schedule announcement on Tuesday. In the next 10 days will come the onslaught of draft coverage for a season that might not materialize.

The NFL continues to march on undaunted, apparently hoping the public won’t notice that it’s trying to strangle the golden goose with its lockout of the NFL Players Association.

Do you care about anything NFL-related at the moment? I don’t.

Until the NFL and NFLPA come to an agreement, my personal interest in NFL news is on blast. Why should I spend one minute investing my time in all things NFL when it all might amount to absolutely nothing?

As it is, much of the NFL’s offseason news is over-reported and shoved down our throats in the best of times. I guess I can turn in my football man card, but NFL’s offseason organized team activities — or OTAs, as everyone who follows the NFL claims every functioning homosapien should know — have never moved me much. Nor do geeky mock drafts.

Call me crazy, but I prefer actual games. None of which might happen this fall.

All I know is that the NFL owners need to bargain in good faith and settle this non-dispute dispute, but it won’t happen, because greed is in the ascendant amongst NFL owners. Despite the fact there’s absolutely no reason for the NFL owners to be pleading poverty.

The upshot is that I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. If there’s no deal and the 2011 season is lost, the Packers remain eternal world champions. I like the sound of that.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Please check out Golden’s Down In The Valley blog at blogs.tribstar.com/downinthevalley.