News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

February 28, 2014

Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?

ISU point guard has made huge impact on program

TERRE HAUTE — If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.

Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.

As good as the book has been, all books are judged, in large part, but how they end. The final chapter is often remembered more than any other. That’s the crossroads that Odum is at right now.

Odum, along with fellow seniors Lucas Eitel, Manny Arop and Dawon Cummings, will be feted in Senior Day ceremonies on Saturday after ISU’s 1 p.m. game at Hulman Center against Northern Iowa.

By any measure, Odum — who along with Eitel is a fifth-year senior — deserves a day in the sun, a day of appreciation, and a thank you from ISU fans.

Prior to Odum’s arrival, a successful season for ISU was considered to be avoidance of the Missouri Valley Conference play-in round, something done just once in the previous nine seasons before Odum began playing. Now it’s considered a near-formality.

“He’s had so much impact it’s hard to imagine Indiana State basketball without Jake Odum,” Lucas Eitel said.

But as times have changed, so have expectations. Even though ISU is in second place in the MVC, destined for its best finish since 2000, and even though ISU has reached the 20-win mark in the regular season earlier than any since the 1979 season, there’s a cloud of doubt hanging over the Sycamores.

For the third season in a row, ISU is finishing poorly. It hasn’t yet been as pronounced as the 2013 season, when ISU lost seven of its last nine, but the anxiety is real. ISU’s 77-59 loss to Illinois State created the first losing streak of the season. And while the skid is at a modest two games, the underlying causes have been evident for much longer.

The overriding fear is that as good as the Odum era has been for ISU, it could end with a legacy of close, but no cigar. The promise of the 2011 NCAA Tournament run, when Odum was a freshman with his entire career ahead of him, has given way to the fear of another year that might fall short of ISU’s potential.

The NCAA Tournament was the goal and it remains so, but even a postseason tournament victory or two would ease the sting of falling short of the NCAA Tournament.  ISU has not won a postseason tournament game in the Odum era, with losses in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, CBI in 2012 and NIT in 2013.

Odum himself rarely worries about his last chapter, or any other chapter, for that matter. He isn’t into navel-gazing his career. He leaves that to others.

But he knows the clock is ticking, and in the wake of an embarrassing loss on Wednesday at Redbird Arena, he expressed some frustration.

“We have to take a look in the mirror. Our team chemistry fell a little bit in the last couple of games. It happens like that when you’re not winning. It’s tough,” Odum said. “I have to be one of the glue guys to keep it together.”

The angst-ridden here and now of the Sycamores’ season, and the final chapter yet to be written about Odum, is juxtaposed against a career that stacks up with the very best in ISU’s history.

History is often used in a joking manner regarding Odum. He entered the ISU picture in 2008 as he flew under the radar of the state’s recruiting experts whilst starring at Terre Haute South. Initially recruited as a walk-on, ISU soon thought better of that.

“He committed to come as a walk-on for a year and then be a scholarship player for four years, but we got smart and gave him that scholarship that initial year,” said ISU coach Greg Lansing, an assistant coach on then-coach Kevin McKenna’s staff at the time.

Along with fellow walk-ons Lucas Eitel, Logan Eitel and R.J. Mahurin, he worked on ball-handling drills (all four dribbled the ball up the floor together during practices) during McKenna’s final season as ISU coach.

Among Odum’s teammates during his redshirt season are long-gone Sycamores like Rashad Reed, Brant Leitnaker and Josh Crawford. The joke goes that Odum was once teammates with Larry Bird.

“I had someone at our Monday luncheon ask if it was truly going to be Jake’s last regular season game because it seems like he’s been there for six, seven or eight years,” Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. “He fits into the category, as an opponent, for how well he’s played, because of his ability to impact his team in terms of where they finish and how they do.”

He earned his first career start in his third career game against Eastern Kentucky in Chicago on Nov. 14, 2010, but his impact was first felt in a game at Oral Roberts a week later where he made several key plays in a 74-69 road victory. From there, he was cemented as a team leader and helped ISU unexpectedly contend for the MVC title in 2011.

After co-leading the MVC at the midway point of the conference season, ISU fell to third place, but a spirited MVC Tournament run put ISU in the NCAA Tournament where it lost to Syracuse.

The team’s high’s haven’t been quite so lofty since, but despite a penchant for late-season struggles, in the overview, ISU’s program has been in far better shape than it was prior to Odum’s arrival.

“I was here, as an assistant, when our reputation around the state wasn’t very good, that’s school and basketball program. Now that’s completely transformed and I think it has a lot to do with the basketball program and Jake Odum,” Lansing said.

That’s reflected in his numbers:

— He’s played more games (129) and has had more consecutive starts (125) than any player in ISU history.

— Odum has converted 565 career free throws, best in school history, suceeeding long-time record-holder Larry Bird.

— Odum has 581 career assists, second-best in school history. Odum is the only player in MVC history with 500 made free throws and 500 assists.

— He has 199 steals, fourth-best in school history. Odum has 1,495 points, seventh-best in team history.

— ISU has never won fewer than 18 games in any of his four active seasons. ISU had never had a run four seasons or more of 18-plus wins in school history until now.

“He’s certainly had a tremendous impact on what they’ve accomplished in his tenure there. Any great player is judged on his ability to make those around him better. I’m not sure anyone around the league has done it as well as he has,” Evansville coach Marty Simmons said.

He did it all while playing hurt for much of his career. Plantar fasciitis wreaked havoc on his sophomore season. Knee problems have hampered his current season. Those are just the major pains. He’s had too many other “minor” ailments to contend with as well.

Odum goes about his business in a manner that would likely have made him a fan favorite regardless of his status as one of Terre Haute’s native sons. Odum has gained attention for his unique bearded look, one Lansing once likened to “Dwight Schrute’s cousin” from the TV show The Office.

His flair has dazzled, especially in the pre-injury phase of his career, when his repertoire of off-balance and no-look passes had defenses flummoxed. He’s become as well-known as any ISU player has in opposing MVC arenas for many years and is grudgingly respected by many enemy fans.

“He’s got enough flair to his game where fans outside of Indiana State are attracted to, and enjoy, watching him play. You just don’t like being on the other side of it,” Jacobson said. “They know that Jake is going to do something to impact the outcome and that outcome is usually going to go Indiana State’s way because of how he plays. That’s one of the best things you can say about him or any player.”

One of the best things a player can also do is finish on top. Ever-focused on the task at hand, Odum wants to make sure the last chapter in his Sycamores book is written right.

No one wants an unhappy ending.

“We have to sit down as a group and figure out what direction we’re going in. We don’t have much time, but we’ll figure it out, we have a solid group of guys. We have to stick together,” Odum said.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Indiana State University
  • Degano2.jpg Bullpen mates: Three relievers coming on strong down stretch for Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex pitching staff ranks fifth among the 12 teams in the Prospect League in earned-run average this season and first in the league with only four home runs allowed all summer. But the Rex pitchers might be the best in the league the past two weeks as the team has had two shutouts and two games with one run allowed in the past week.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prettyman wants ISU to be prepared for potential NCAA changes

    Against a rising tide of media, public and institutional sentiment that would suggest otherwise, Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman believes that the current model of college athletics still works.

    July 26, 2014

  • SPT 102613 UNDER TACKLE.jpg Can Sycamores bounce back from rough 2013 season?

    One week before Indiana State begins preseason practice, there really is only one fundamental question that the Sycamore program faces.
    Can it win again?

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors

    A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.

    July 23, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Truebytower.jpg Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth

    Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
    Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.

    July 23, 2014 11 Photos

  • Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco

    Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.

    July 18, 2014

  • MVC to shift women's basketball tournament to Moline, Ill.

    The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will move 90 miles farther from Terre Haute beginning in 2016, the league announced Thursday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Metro: ISU-IU football game to be on ESPNEWS

    Indiana University announced Wednesday that the season opening game between Indiana State and IU will be played at noon on Sept. 30.

    July 16, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • MVC Tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018

    Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.

    July 9, 2014

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • SPT062714dans gardner1.jpg Gardner staying sharp with Danville

    This summer with the Danville Dans is a big one for Terre Haute native Cody Gardner, who wants to play a part in keeping Indiana State baseball successful in 2015.
    The former Terre Haute North High School standout painfully sat and watched as a Division I transfer as ISU made its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 35-win regular season.

    July 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships

    Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

    June 27, 2014

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team

    No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg Jake Odum about to reach red letter date in his career

    Terre Haute’s Jake Odum made a name, a reputation and a wonderful career for himself during his four seasons at Indiana State. If nothing else were to happen in his basketball life, he’ll always be one of the Sycamores’ all-time best.
    Of course, Odum wants more. He wants to play in the NBA. Since ISU’s season concluded in late March, he’s been on a three-month quest to fulfill his dream.

    June 24, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Metro roundup: Odum to work out with Lakers

    Terre Haute native and former Indiana State guard Jake Odum will have two more workouts before next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Odum will work out with the Los Angeles Lakers today. Odum will have a second workout with the Orlando Magic next week before the draft.

    June 20, 2014 1 Story

  • ISU takes balanced approach with newcomer Tre Bennett

    Indiana State’s men’s basketball program recruited Tre Bennett to be its next starting point guard. Indiana State does not want to put too much pressure on Bennett in his first season.
    Those two sentences seem to be a contradiction. But ISU’s coaches and Bennett himself are hoping there’s a third way, a path where he can ease into a role as a contributor without the pressure, at least right off the bat, of being “the man.”

    June 18, 2014

  • SPT061214 ISUMBB parker.jpg New ISU coach Parker makes first impression

    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.

    June 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Greggmar Swift advances to NCAA hurdles final

    Greggmar Swift advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles to highlight Indiana State’s performances during day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.

    June 13, 2014

  • Katie_Wise_(Credit_Chris_Zoeller).jpeg ISU taking mix of veterans, underclassmen to NCAAs

    With three sophomores among Indiana State’s record number of entrants heading to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, the Sycamores are in position to have athletes competing for a national title for at least a couple more seasons.
    Katie Wise, in particular, has the potential to rack up multiple All-American accolades between now and the time she graduates in 2016.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pair of Sycamores selected in Major League Baseball draft

    Two Indiana State baseball players were chosen in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft Saturday.
    Senior shortstop Tyler Wampler, a 2010 graduate of West Vigo High School, went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round (519th overall) and junior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went to the San Diego Padres in the 27th round (807th overall).

    June 7, 2014

  • SPT041113lutz point.jpg Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts

    The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: Rex opener postponed to today

    The Terre Haute Rex grand opening has been pushed back to today due to Monday’s thunderstorms.

    June 2, 2014

  • SPT 053114 LANDON CURRY FLY.jpg ISU baseball can't find lifeline

    Indiana State ends NCAA regional with 0-2 mark as its season ends.

    May 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 053114 MITCH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone

    ISU coach Mitch Hannahs strikes pitch perfect no-excuse, no-apology tone.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 053014 KEAFFABER THROW.jpg Despite loss, ISU's Keaffaber draws praise

    Indiana State pitcher Ryan Keaffaber lost to Stanford in NCAA regional, but his effort was lauded.

    May 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT 053014 CURRY SCORE.jpg Stanford's Quantrill controls Sycamores

    ISU is beaten 8-1 by Stanford in NCAA Regional.

    May 30, 2014 3 Photos

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 28th Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010