Indiana State Sycamores
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #7 Missouri Valley
Indiana State Team Page
The bad news for Indiana State is that most of the players that led the Sycamores to the 2011 NCAA Tournament are gone. The good news is that same group that struggled mightily in 2011-2012 is gone. What is left is an inexperienced squad that will need some time to come together. The expectations last season were a little high for this squad, but they still managed to make a trip to the postseason. In a Missouri Valley Conference that is getting stronger once again, there will not be much margin for error, but Coach Greg Lansing can rely on point guard Jake Odum. Odum, a 6-4 junior, averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 assists last season. He is the catalyst of the offense and is a great player to build around.
2011-12 Record: 18-15, 8-10
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Greg Lansing
Coach Record: 38-29 at Indiana State, 38-29 overall
Much of the Sycamores disappointment in 2011-2012 was due to poor shooting and a general lack of offense. Dwayne Lathan led the squad with 12.2 points per game during his last season in Terre Haute. Lathan shot a mere 26.2 percent from beyond the arc, but at least he could attack the basket when his shot was not falling. Jordan Printy and Carl Richard, who were also usual starters, were extremely inconsistent from beyond the arc as well. Big man Myles Walker developed into a decent interior scorer, but not enough of one to open up the shooters. Steve McWhorter, who started 15 games, was a defensive specialist and only averaged 4.0 points in nearly 25 minutes per game. It is a tough group to lose and the Sycamores will certainly take a step back, but rebuilding will not be a horrible thing in this case.
But with so many players gone, Coach Lansing will have to do a lot of retooling to his roster. Eight new players will be suiting up for Indiana State this year. Manny Arop, a transfer from Gonzaga is the best of the bunch right now. The 6-6 junior had some quality outings for the Gonzaga during his two years with the Bulldogs and should develop into a big scoring threat with consistent playing time. Arop is a fine athlete who will also help on the glass. ISU has a couple more experienced players coming in from the junior college ranks. Dawon Cummings is a decent scoring guard who should help replace some of the shooters and, perhaps more importantly, take over for McWhorter as the defensive specialist, but with less of a liability on the other end of the floor. Mike Samuels will not put up big numbers, but he is a big 6-11, 265 pounder who can clog the paint. Incoming freshmen Rhett Smith and T.J. Bell will add some much needed frontcourt depth. On the perimeter Devonte Brown and Brandon Burnett will look for playing time after redshirting last season. Khristian Smith is an interesting prospect. At 6-6, he has great size for a guard and should immediately play a big role on this team. He is a scorer who can get to the basket and create his own shot and that is something this team really needs.
Who to Watch:
The newcomers will get plenty of opportunities to make an impact, but Indiana State does return some talent besides Odum. R.J. Mahurin, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell may not have seen too many minutes last season, but they should be expected to take the next step and increase their roles. Mahurin did start six games a year ago and averaged 7.2 points per game. When he was on the floor, he actually scored quite a bit. However, most of his offense comes from outside shooting and the Sycamores will need him to use his 6-8, 210 pound frame in the paint a little more often. Gant, a 6-8 center, came to town with some high expectations. He averaged less than ten minutes per game as a freshman, but a year in the system and the weight room should help him turn into a force on the defensive end. Kitchell is another big sophomore who can stretch out the defense with his shooting. Shooting from power forwards is all well and good, but if Odum leads the team in rebounding again, ISU will be in trouble.
There are some quality pieces available here, but it pretty much comes down to creating offense and knocking down shots. Odum can create shots and pretty much everybody on the team is capable of hitting shots, including junior Lucas Eitel who could turn into a great shooter off of the bench. Last year the shots were not falling and Indiana State’s offense quickly turned predictable. This year Coach Lansing may need to develop a backup plan or two and work the ball into the paint more often. But that will depend on one of the big men developing into consistent interior scorers. That will not happen overnight and this year could be another frustrating one for Indiana State fans, but with lower expectations and so many new faces, a trip to the CBI or CIT is not a bad thing.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Jake Odum, Junior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Dawon Cummings, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Manny Arop, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
R.J. Mahurin, Junior, Forward, 7.2 points per game
Jake Kitchell, Sophomore, Forward, 2.3 points per game