The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach they say. Even Indiana State center Christopher Agbo gets it.
When fellow first-year center Tre Williams arrived on the scene, Agbo — who is from Nigeria — cooked his fellow ISU newbie a meal.
"It's all about family," Agbo said. "I made him some rice and stew [a Nigerian dish]. It was really good."
Whether the culinary treat worked its wonders on Williams is between the pair of new Sycamores, but what ISU is hoping for is that it's new-look frontcourt cooks by the time the bullets start flying for real in November.
Williams and Agbo are a part of that new look. As ISU embarked on its first team activity on Tuesday at ISU Arena with its intended 2019-20 roster, those frontcourt players stood out as different from the recent vintage ISU frontcourts.
For one, there's more muscle, most of it possessed by Agbo. The Pearl River Community College transfer cast an imposing figure in the paint and clearly seemed most comfortable blocking out to get rebounds. He did that well, but he also showed a nice passing touch at times to create shots for teammates.
"I'm a big body. I can roll down the floor, get a rebound, block a shot and I can make some shots," Agbo said.
Lansing likens Agbo, 6-foot-8, 280 pounds, to former Sycamore Myles Walker, who was the muscle for Lansing's early teams at ISU.
"He's a hard-playing, rebounding, defending, athletic big. There won't be anyone heavier in the league and he doesn't have an ounce of body fat on him. Between him and Tre Williams? We have two guys who weigh more than anyone we had last year," Lansing said.
Williams — 6-7, 240 pounds — can also make his presence felt down low, but he will stretch the floor when it comes to his shot. Williams hit at least one 3-pointer during activity on Tuesday.
"I think I fit in very well. I can defend the three to the five and I can move my feet well. Being able to [make defenders] respect the floor with my jump shot is going to help a lot," Williams said.
Another newcomer to the frontcourt, Indiana All-Star Jake LaRavia, was present, but didn't take part in any practice action as he sat out for precautionary reasons. Freshman guard Jared Hankins also sat out for precautionary reasons.
It's not just the newcomers that give ISU's frontcourt a different look. Senior Bronson Kessinger is back after averging 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds against Missouri Valley Conference opponents.
"Having Bronson back is comforting. He's been here a while. He's a tough guy, a hard worker, very knowledgeable on how to play and how we do things. He'll be a great leader for all of the new guys," Lansing said.
Also back, and healthy, is power forward Blake Brinkmeyer. After playing five games early in the season, Brinkmeyer sat out the remainder of the 2018-19 season with a knee injury as he took a medical redshirt. Now that's he back and he knows he's going to play? He feels reinvigorated.
"Compared to last year, I have that extra knowledge. I didn't know what to expect last year. It was a kick in the behind for what you have coming up," said Brinkmeyer, referring to the first day of team activity. "It helps a lot to know I'll play. I thought I would be last year, but the knee acted up. At this point? I know I'll stay healthy, so it makes it a lot more exciting for me."
If all works out, ISU's frontcourt will have more options than it did a year ago.
The question for ISU's frontcourt is how the players will be implemented going forward. The logjam on the roster is in the backcourt where veterans Jordan Barnes and Tyreke Key hold sway, Cooper Neese and Christian Williams will play their first full seasons at ISU, De'Avion Washington tries to improve upon his freshman season, Cam Bacote is eligible after sitting out a season and Hankins tries to find his way as a true freshman. ISU is equipped to play four-guard basketball, which is all the rage in college basketball at present.
So where does that leave the frontcourt players? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, they're happy to try to make their mark in the early days of practice.
"I think we're going to be great. We're going to make everyone that's guarding us tired and we'll keep attacking everybody," Williams said. "We make each other better by pushing each other."
• Schedule — Lansing confirmed that ISU will play at Dayton, most likely on Nov. 9. The contract with Louisville, a game to be played a few days later, has not yet been finalized, but it is expected to be.
ISU will also host Chicago State, and likely, Missouri-St. Louis at Hulman Center. ISU is still seeking to fill one more home date the week before Christmas. Hulman Center is not available for home games until after Thanksgiving due to renovations.
So far, ISU's home schedule consists of North Dakota State, Chicago State, Missouri-St. Louis (likely) and one more home date to be filled. The road slate consists of trips to Dayton, Louisville (likely) and Wright State. Neutral site games include a likely game against Ball State at Banker's Life Fieldhouse and ISU's three games in November's Junkanoo Jam in Bimini. The Sycamores will play Duquesne, Loyola Marymount and Air Force from Nov. 21-24.