TERRE HAUTE — The first time Harry Marshall entered Hulman Center as an Indiana State basketball player in 2006, he was a walk-on.
Marshall’s last act in an ISU uniform at Hulman Center? A walk-off.
Marshall’s 33-foot bomb at the buzzer gave ISU a dramatic 75-72 overtime victory over Missouri State on Saturday. ISU will avoid the play-in round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the first time since 2001 as a result.
In a storybook finish for the Sycamores, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate player to hit the biggest shot for ISU’s program since the salad days of 2000 and 2001. Simply because no player has come as far as Marshall has to make himself the heart and soul of the Sycamores.
His recruitment to ISU, if you want to call it that, was almost an afterthought. After a solid career at Owen Valley High School, Marshall received no Division I offers and was invited by then-coach Royce Waltman to come to ISU as a walk-on. He came to the team in near obscurity in the summer of 2006.
In 2006 when he arrived, his teammates probably had to ask him who he was. In 2010, every eye on the Sycamore bench was trained on him and depending on him to come through on Saturday.
And he delivered.
“It’s a great feeling having that ball in my hands, to have 14 other guys looking at me and they trust to me to do my thing and to have the coaches believe in me.
“It’s a great feeling. I’ve never really thought I’d be in this situation, but whenever it comes up, I’m prepared for it and I think that’s what I do best,” Marshall said.
Not to argue with Marshall on his big day, but hitting tough shots is one of the things he does well, but perhaps the thing he does best is instill the Sycamores with toughness he has exuded from day one as a Sycamore.
Marshall got the ultimate compliment from Missouri State coach Cuonzo Martin, a very tough player in his own right when he played at Purdue.
“He’s a tough, tough guy. A true competitor. A guy I’d love to have in the trenches with me. He’s a battler, he’s a winner, he’s a fighter. He’s just as good as any guard in this league,” Martin said.
He had no choice but to be tough. Walk-ons have to earn every bit of what they can get. Forget about playing time, they have to scrap for meaningful practice time. Marshall could have been stuck among the white-shirted reserves and ran the scout team for an entire career and no one would have thought twice about it. Instead, he went to work to make a name for himself.
“I just wanted to play my freshman year. I wanted to prove to it to the people back home, the people that passed me by and prove it to myself that I can play at this level. With the coaching change and the offense changing, the coaches believed in me and it snowballed my confidence. Once I saw I could do things at this level, it’s all about confidence and people trusted in me. I didn’t want to let them down,” Marshall said.
Marshall has let down a few times. He was academically ineligible for part of his junior year and was suspended twice this season. Instead of letting any one of those potentially career-ending hiccups become the tombstone for his career, they became a footnote because he worked hard to minimize the damage he did to himself. Because of that, those setbacks will be mostly forgotten.
What won’t be forgotten was how hard he plays. Sometimes he bounced down with the floor with such intensity you’d think he was trying to dent the Hulman Center hardwood with his own dribbles.
The indelible image of Marshall are those hyper-kinetic Tasmanian Devil-style drives to the basket where it seemed as if every muscle in his body is flexed to the breaking point to get to the basket and convert yet another circus layup, a shot that would be ill-advised for almost anyone else, but which worked time and again because Marshall willed himself to make it work.
He has the numbers to validate his hard work. He is the first 1,000-point scorer in school history that came to ISU as a walk-on. He is on the fence to become ISU’s first All-MVC First Team selection since 2001. The one thing that might hold him back was missing five games due to his stress fracture injury. Of course, Marshall was supposed to miss seven games minimum, but he worked through that obstacle too.
“A guy comes here as a walk-on and works so hard to turn himself into a 1,000-point-plus scorer and to play as hard as he does. He brings a lot of things to the table and I’m proud of him,” ISU coach Kevin McKenna said.
Then there’s Saturday’s game-winner. A jubilant Marshall took off on a dead sprint and ran half the length of Hulman Center before his teammates caught up to him and mobbed him. A lot of long-time, frustrated ISU fans would probably have loved to run along with him.
“Harry will have that shot in his back pocket for life. Making a shot like that on Senior Day with what we had on the line? People saw it, he’s going to be able to tell his grandkids about it when he’s old and not playing,” McKenna said.
No Sycamore deserved that moment in the sun more than Marshall did. From day one, he earned it.
Todd Golden is sports editor of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Golden’s blog at blogs.tribstar.com/downinthevalley.
TERRE HAUTE — The first time Harry Marshall entered Hulman Center as an Indiana State basketball player in 2006, he was a walk-on.
- From the Press Box
From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out
The Great Alaska Shootout is not going to provide the Great RPI Bump that Indiana State’s participation in last year’s Diamond Head Classic provided.
From the Press Box: Damage is done for ISU football
As a parent and a professional, there’s a bit of advice I’ve tried to pass along that I’ve found to be true.
No matter what you happen to be doing — whether it be job performance or just your own personal behavior — you can do the right thing for a period of time, even the vast majority of the time, but all it takes is one slip and the goodwill you’ve built up can be gone in one fell swoop.
TODD GOLDEN: Munn, Odum want to make paper accomplishment a real one
When it comes to Missouri Valley Conference Media Day, it has historically been a kick in the gut for Indiana State's basketball teams.
But not this year. For the first time since formal MVC preseason polls began in the mid-1980s, the Sycamores rule the MVC roost.
TODD GOLDEN: Colts fans paid Manning ultimate tribute
Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis was many things — the return of a beloved prodigal son, a battle of Colts’ No. 1-draft-pick quarterbacks and last, but not least, the visit from one of the AFC’s last reminaing undefeated teams — but most of all, it could have been a battle for the Colts’ fans soul.
From The Press Box: ISU in top 2 of top-heavy MVC
Change doesn’t often come to Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Until this season, it had endured with the same 10 members since the mid-1990s. But the reality of conference realignment finally hit the MVC where it lived last spring as Creighton departed for the new Big East Conference. The MVC responded by adding Loyola University.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sycamores shocked by 1-5 start to season
It was a play that not only symbolized Indiana State’s 17-14 loss at South Dakota on Saturday, but perhaps the Sycamores’ entire season.
Down three with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, ISU faced third-and-9 from its own 39. ISU ran Shakir Bell to the left and the senior standout had daylight.
From The Press Box: An avoidable loss
It couldn’t last forever.
From The Press Box: Colts dodge bullets ... it's what they do
Just a few minutes into the second quarter, it seemed Colts fans could kick back and enjoy a Sunday on Easy Street.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State proves plenty in 20-14 loss at Purdue
No moral victories?
Bull. Its always been bull and it will always be bull. The Sycamores proved again that moral victories are very real, and can be very rewarding.
All they needed to do to prove it was to look at the stunned faces of the Purdue faithful at Ross-Ade Stadium in the Sycamores’ near-miss 20-14 loss to Purdue.
From the Press Box: Stipends? No. Off-field income? Oh yeah, bring it on
The war flags have been raised. The trumpets have sounded.
With the Johnny Manziel autograph hullabaloo and the ongoing Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA for using his likeness as background, many have rallied to the battle standard of stipends as a means of compensating NCAA athletes who are allegedly being exploited for income by their universities.
This rally cry has a particular resonance among those in my profession, many of whom dislike the current system, and who detest the NCAA with a virulent passion.
TODD GOLDEN: Golf ... the beast within?
Like many sports fans, my interest in professional golf is confined to the four major tournaments. Many prefer the Masters, some like the back-to-roots British Open, but I’ve always liked the U.S. Open the best.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13
When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)
TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet
If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress
It all happened so fast in June 2010.
One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.
McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.
MVC can't wait on Crieghton to move forward
Will they go or not? That’s been the question that the Missouri Valley Conference and Creighton have been faced with since rumors of the Bluejays’ potential exit went public in December.
FROM THE PRESSBOX: Can Sycamores reverse fortunes heading into MVC Tournament?
Mastery of a basketball season comes in many forms. Mostly, it comes in forms that involve avoidance of turnovers, anemic scoring and poor defense.
The mechanics of X-and-O success in basketball are obvious, but what’s often overlooked in building a successful campaign is managing the rhythm of the season, which is the hardest thing of all.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Accountability isn't Lansing's alone in ISU's recent struggles
Taking ownership has always been one of Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing’s strengths.
When ISU has lost games in his three seasons at the helm that it was expected to win, Lansing has always been willing to fall on the sword and take blame for it.
TODD GOLDEN: Indiana State has far more occasions to rise to
Rejoice, Indiana State basketball fans. The Sycamores’ 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State on Tuesday is worthy of celebration.
TODD GOLDEN: Big plays in last 10 minutes story of the season for Indiana State
You’d think I’d have learned by now.
It’s 20 games into Indiana State’s men’s basketball season and I still expect the Sycamores’ offense operate like a well-oiled machine from the opening tip.
Sycamores blossom on Hawaii trip
Quick quiz … what’s the state flower of Hawaii?
Don’t worry. I can’t just rattle state flowers off the top of my head. I had to look it up too, even though I’ve seen them all over the place in Honolulu.
I didn’t even know that Indiana’s state flower is the peony, which replaced the apparently unloved zinnia in the 1950s.
Hawaii’s flower, and they’re ubiquitous in Waikiki tourist shops and in actual flora on Oahu, is the yellow hibiscus.
The yellow hibiscus is big, bold and bright. I’ve never seen one blossom, but I imagine it has to be a beautiful sight.
What I have seen blossom — and it’s the only reason flowers would be brought up in my column — is the Indiana State basketball team at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
TODD GOLDEN: ISU needs to have its realignment head on a swivel
Have you ever driven past a cow pasture during a severe thunderstorm? If it’s really bad, the cows will congregate in a herd to protect themselves from the tumult.
TODD GOLDEN: ISU AD Prettyman keeps it close to the vest
Do you want to know who’s on the short list to become Indiana State's next football coach?
TODD GOLDEN: Trent Miles leaves Sycamores with giant legacy
To glean perspective on Trent Miles’ time as Indiana State’s football coach, I went back into the Tribune-Star’s archives to remind myself of what the football program was like when Miles arrived to rebuild it.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Scoreboard watching and the threat matrix for ISU
Indiana State football coach Trent Miles reaffirmed his belief Tuesday that a victory over Youngstown State on Saturday will propel the Sycamores into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the first time since 1984.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Twists and turns, but Luck passes eye test
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck made his much anticipated Lucas Oil Stadium debut Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Looking back and forward at ISU athletics
It started in State College, Pa., and ended in Eugene, Ore. Few Indiana State athletic seasons have spanned the nation in as many sports as 2011-12 did for the Sycamores’ athletic teams. And from coast-to-coast there was glory and heartbreak alike.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU progresses under Prettyman
He didn’t say a word, but it was as clear as Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman sat in the PK Park dugout and watched the Sycamores take batting practice prior to their NCAA Regional at Oregon last Thursday, he beamed with pride.
TODD GOLDEN: MVC pitching helped prepare Sycamores for regional
Nick Petree, Pierce Johnson, Ty Blach.
These aren’t just elite-level starting pitchers Indiana State’s baseball team faced this season. They comprise three of the last five pitchers the Sycamores faced period.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU baseball has pluses, minuses for tourney bid
Last Thursday, when Indiana State’s baseball jumped around in a celebratory dogpile after clinching the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship at Bob Warn Field, no one thought that a little over a week later, the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble would fly over Terre Haute.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Subtle switch has fostered MVC baseball parity
When Indiana State was crowned as the regular season baseball champion of the Missouri Valley Conference last Thursday, it marked the fifth different regular season champion the league has had since 2005.
- More From the Press Box Headlines
- From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out