TERRE HAUTE —
They’re juniors officially, but seniors by proxy.
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team has no seniors on its 2012-13 roster. It has six juniors, but only three — Jake Odum, R.J. Mahurin and Lucas Eitel — have played a game for the Sycamores.
It means the experienced junior trio are two-year seniors of a sort. If it’s a thought that occurred to Odum, it’s one that took him aback.
“Don’t say that! Seniors? Wow!” Odum jested.
The truth is that Odum and his experienced teammates are well aware that the mantle of leadership falls upon them.
Fellow junior and Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop has spent a year in the program, but hasn’t played a game yet.
Junior college transfers Michael Samuels and Dawon Cummings are program newbies just as are ISU’s three true freshmen — Khristian Smith, Rhett Smith and
With the Sycamores having so many new players to depend on — redshirt freshmen Devonte Brown and Brandon Burnett will also debut — the process of assimilation is the first brick the juniors have laid as far as their own leadership is concerned.
“I just have to perform on the court and show these young guys what to do, that’s how I plan to handle [leadership]. I have to let them know that just because they might be tired during a summer workout, everybody’s going through it,” Odum said.
The new NCAA summer workout rules — coaches are allowed to participate in two-hour-per-week chunks over eight weeks with the players — have helped the experienced players refine their own brand of leadership. Instead of trying to become leaders in the informal and often unorganized open-gym format of the past, their leadership can be forged in a more formal setting with supervision from the coaching staff.
ISU will get an additional 10 formal practices in preparation for its exhibition trip to the Bahamas in August.
“I like it a lot. It’s better when you have coaches in the gym, rather than working out on your own. They can teach you more and help you with your shooting form, things like that. The extra practices are going to help a lot, especially since we have so many new guys,” Odum said.
Mahurin, who along with Odum and Eitel spent one season as a redshirt, has been impressed with the work ethic of the new players. He mentioned that Rhett Smith already has the team-best bench lift.
“They’re really smart basketball players and we have a lot of athleticism. They work hard and they’re going to surprise people with how hard they work. You almost can’t tell they’re coming in from high school,” said Mahurin, who will get married to his long-time sweetheart a week before ISU embarks for the Bahamas.
Though the Sycamores and coach Greg Lansing have all remarked on the positive progress the team has made so far, it is just the summer, when hope springs eternal for all basketball teams.
Odum knows that what the Sycamores accomplish through their summer workouts must have some meaning once the season schedule rolls around.
“Toughness is going to be key with some of these freshmen. They haven’t played any games here before. It’s something I have to show these guys,” Odum said.
The toughness Odum seeks from his teammates is something he had tested himself during a trying 2011-12 campaign.
He entered the season with back spasms he suffered with during the run-up to the season. Shortly after the season began, he developed plantar fasciitis, but played through it. Odum also suffered with shin splints.
“The season was frustrating. It was such a day-by-day thing. One day I could feel great and the next day, you’d feel terrible,” Odum said. “It’s basketball and athletics. Every single person on the floor has something wrong with them at one point or another. [Playing through it] tests your mental capacity as to how you can perform [with an injury].”
After a month of rest, Odum is optimistic his aches and pains are behind him.
“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m healthy, it’s the first time I’ve been healthy for the whole summer. It’s just good for the program and my health especially,” Odum said.
It wasn’t just injuries that tested ISU’s juniors-to-be in 2012. Though ISU finished with a winning record for the third straight year and a berth in the postseason, it was a letdown. ISU was eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference after having been picked a contender in third.
While the four seniors from that group moved on (though former center Myles Walker is still a Sycamore … on the football team), the juniors were left to learn the lessons from what didn’t go right last season and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We learned from last year about handling situations and handling each other. I love all of the guys from last year, but something didn’t click right,” Mahurin said.
“I’ve been taking the off-season to figure out what it was. We had talent, we all liked each other, we just didn’t finish. That’s something we’re stressing a lot — finishing plays and not coming up short on anything,” he added.
Finishing strong was an emphasis of a team workout last Thursday. To wit, on an open drive to the basket, sophomore Justin Gant was urged to dunk the ball, not just lay it up.
Lansing feels the juniors are being heard by their teammates. If their ears remain open, he’s confident the Sycamores can achieve big things in the two years the juniors have left to lead.
“The new guys are listening and getting as much as they can out of it. It’s nice to know, in a year, we’ll have the same time. If we can keep these guys together and continue to improve, it could be an interesting couple of years,” Lansing said.
TERRE HAUTE —
They’re juniors officially, but seniors by proxy.
- Indiana State University
ISU women have sights set on MVC tournament title
With a win today in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals, Indiana State will secure its fourth 20-win season in women’s basketball since 1981-82.
Getting to that point has been like competing in one of those urban adventure races with obstacles, mud pits and scavenger hunts. In other words, it hasn’t been permeated with style and grace. But the Sycamores stuck with it and got the job done.
At least so far.
Abdul-Qaadir named league’s top newcomer
Indiana State senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is ready to keep her college basketball career rolling.
The transfer from Memphis was eligible right away because she had finished her bachelor’s degree upon arrival in Terre Haute.
Swift, Theisen vie for NCAA indoor honors
Indiana State seniors Greggmar Swift and Mary Theisen are within striking distance of winning an NCAA title this weekend at the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships.
Sophomore sprinter Katie Wise is ranked 13th going into the meet in the 60-meter dash and has her sights on an All-American finish.
ISU’s Abdul-Qaadir, Munn All-MVC selections
Senior guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Anna Munn have both been named to Missouri Valley Conference All-Conference teams, announced by the league on Wednesday. Abdul-Qaadir earned a spot on the first-team while Munn was named honorable mention.
Metro sports: ‘Lucky Lou’ strikes again on golf course
Retired Public Service Indiana employee Lou Mundell, a lifelong resident of Terre Haute, posted the fifth hole-in-one of his life Tuesday afternoon at the Harder Hall Country Club golf course in his winter home of Sebring.
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.
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.
Reliever leads comeback in ISU's 11th straight win
It could have been just a mop-up role for Josh Dove on Sunday at Bob Warn Field, but the Indiana State relief pitcher wasn’t thinking that way.
ISU fans cheer their team from afar
Indiana State University basketball fans eagerly supported their team Sunday, even from a distance, as they watched the Sycamores battle in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game being played in St. Louis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Odum, Smith, Arop recognized by MVC
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum doesn’t play baseball, but he did go 4-for-4 in his Sycamore career.
His 4-for-4 performance came in regards to his All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Odum has been named to the all-MVC team in each of his four seasons, and for the second time in a year, Odum was named to the MVC’s first team.
Teammate Khristian Smith also received a major individual honor. Smith, a sophomore, earned the MVC’s Sixth Man Award. Senior Manny Arop also was named as an All-MVC honorable-mention selection.
ISU’s Odum earns first-team All-MVC honors
ST. LOUIS —Indiana State guard Jake Odum earned a spot on the 2014 All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which was announced today as the Sycamores prepare for this week’s MVC men’s basketball tournament.
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.
Senior Day Success
Indiana State shot just 35 percent from the field Sunday in Hulman Center compared with 46 percent for the visiting Bradley women, but that was almost a good thing.
ISU teams sweep titles in indoor track
Indiana State’s track teams swept the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Sunday at Northern Iowa, the men leading all the way and the women surviving a three-way battle.
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- ISU women have sights set on MVC tournament title