TERRE HAUTE — Jake Kelly is coming home … to become a Sycamore.
Kelly, whose childhood was spent in Vigo County and Marshall, Ill., made a verbal commitment to transfer to Indiana State from the University of Iowa.
Kelly’s transfer to ISU was a widely anticipated move after he was released from his Iowa scholarship last week and after he expressed a desire to play closer to home, but Kelly himself didn’t confirm it until a Tuesday telephone interview with the Tribune-Star.
“Coming home … that’s the main reason for me leaving Iowa. I had some good things going at Iowa. I hate to leave the Big Ten, I was making some good progress there, but some things are more important, like being around your family and friends,” said Kelly in a Tuesday telephone interview. “Plus, I’m excited about the ISU program. I feel I’m a good fit with the coaches and they fit my personality.”
The lure of coming home was irresistible for Kelly, who experienced the tragedy of losing his mother — Julia Kelly — in a June 7, 2008 plane crash just off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Julia Kelly had moved to Iowa from Carmel to be with Jake Kelly while he played for the Hawkeyes. Jake Kelly had moved to Carmel from Marshall, Ill., with his mother, and he played the final two years of his high school career at Carmel High School.
Kelly played at Marshall — which is just over the Illinois state line, 15 miles from the ISU campus — from 2003-05 before he transferred to Carmel.
Kelly’s father — Bob Kelly, who lives in Terre Haute — told the Tribune-Star last week that Jake Kelly intended to transfer to ISU, but hadn’t had any contact with the coaching staff.
Once released from his Iowa scholarship, things fell into line for the Sycamores in short order. Current ISU assistant coach Greg Lansing was on then-Iowa coach Steve Alford’s staff when the Hawkeyes began to show interest in Kelly during his Marshall and Carmel careers.
“I’m real excited to be closer to home. I think we’ll get Hulman Center packed again because we’re going to be a good team, we’re going to be playing at a high level and I think we can contend for the NCAA Tournament. All of that excites me about coming to ISU,” Kelly said.
As per NCAA rules, ISU coaches are not allowed to comment on Kelly until he signs his letter of intent. Men’s basketball signing day is April 15.
Kelly still has many friends in the area, including Logan and Lucas Eitel, also former Marshall players who will play at ISU next year as walk-ons. Kelly attended Marshall’s super-sectional and IHSA Class 2A state semifinal games during the Lions’ recent third-place run in the Illinois state boys basketball playoffs.
“I was really happy for [Marshall] coach [Tom] Brannan, he deserved that type of success. He’s always in the gym, as a sixth grader he welcomed me into the open gyms and he made me better,” Kelly said.
What Kelly does not yet know is when he’ll be playing for the Sycamores. Normally, Kelly would have to sit out a year after transferring from one Division I program to another, but given his family circumstance, Kelly will file for a hardship exemption to gain eligibility to play next season.
The hardship process has already begun, but Kelly does not yet have a timeframe as to when he’ll get a decision from the NCAA.
“I have to write a formal letter to the NCAA and then it goes from there,” Kelly said. “They need to make sure it’s truly a hardship case and make sure I’m not trying to pull a fast one, just so I can go to a better program. Given my situation, I’m confident the NCAA will approve it.”
Kelly, who is 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, averaged 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Iowa last season as he was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection.
Kelly came into his own late in the season, winning Big Ten Player of the Week twice in a three-week span in late February and March. Kelly won the honor on Feb. 23 after he had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds against Michigan on Feb. 22.
He won the honor again on March 9 after he averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in games against Ohio State and Penn State. He had a career-high 11 rebounds against Ohio State and a career-high 11 assists against Penn State.
He also notched a career-high 23 points against Northwestern on Feb. 28. Nine of his career individual highs at Iowa occurred in games played after Feb. 28, 2009. Not included in that was a 20-point, five-rebound, four-assist effort against current Final Four participant Michigan State on Feb. 25.
The potential arrival of Kelly — which has been rumored for at least a month among ISU diehards as well as fans around both Marshall and Terre Haute — has sent Sycamore fans into a fever pitch. No player has transferred into the ISU program with the weight of expectation Kelly will have in at least a decade, probably not since Steve Hart, a Terre Haute native, transferred from Indiana in the mid 1990s.
Kelly anticipates the pressure and feels playing in the Big Ten for two years will help him cope with it.
“The Big Ten has quite a bit of pressure and so does playing in Iowa. There’s no professional teams in Iowa, so pretty much everyone follows the Hawkeyes. You’re a big fish in small pond up here, so I don’t think it’ll be much different at ISU, except for the fact I’ll have a lot family and friends to support me along the way.”
Kelly joins a guard-heavy roster at ISU, which was 11-21 last season, but finished the year by winning seven of its last nine games. Starting guards Harry Marshall, Rashad Reed and Jordan Printy will all be back next year, along with Aaron Carter and Louisiana Tech transfer Dwayne Lathan, who will be eligible next season after sitting out a year. Incoming freshman Jake Odum — as well as the Eitel twins — also join a crowded backcourt.
Kelly expects to play both point guard and shooting guard at ISU, but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Honestly, I just want to fit in and win games, I don’t want to make this about me. Just because I’m coming from a Big Ten program, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s a team thing and I want to fit in to get us where we need to be at,” Kelly said.
“Honestly, I see a lot of talent on this team and it showed at the end of last season. The style is more up-tempo than Iowa and I think that fits me better. I think the NCAA Tournament is a reachable goal,” he added.
Kelly had good things to say about Iowa coach Todd Lickliter and stressed that his departure had nothing to do with the second-year Iowa coach. Kelly is one of four Hawkeyes that are transferring out of Iowa City after the Hawkeyes were 15-17 last season.
“Me and coach Lick got along real well. I’ve been really appreciative of the things he taught me. He turned me into one of the Big Ten’s best players, I can’t thank him enough for that,” Kelly said.
Kelly — who will claim the last remaining scholarship currently available at ISU — is the first Big Ten player to transfer to ISU since Terence Avery came from Northwestern in 1998.
TERRE HAUTE — Jake Kelly is coming home … to become a Sycamore.
ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
Indiana State women add five transfers, including experienced D-I point guard
Indiana State coach Teri Moren believes the addition of five more newcomers to the program — in addition to the five who had already joined the program earlier this calendar year — will provide her coaching staff the athleticism and depth it needs to play a successful, up-tempo brand of basketball next season.
Metro roundup: Woods softball takes seventh in national tournament
The St. Mary-of-the-Woods softball team finished seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournament on Tuesday at Firestone Stadium.
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ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
Johnson, Lyke win MVC titles for ISU
Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson and Maurice Lyke were both crowned Missouri Valley Conference champions on Saturday during the MVC Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
Metro roundup: RHIT’s Evans sets Div. III record in high jump
For the third time this season, Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans topped the NCAA Division III all-time national record in the outdoor high jump Friday night.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
Indiana State produced two champions during the opening day of action in the Missouri Valley Conference track and field championships Friday at Drake. Freshman John Mascari, a Terre Haute native, won the men’s 10,000-meter race and Nicole Hope won the women’s pole vault for the second time in three seasons.
ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
The will is there for the Sycamores to pull out of their worst slump of the season, but the results are not. The suffering continued on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field as Eastern Illinois defeated ISU 5-3.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU men's track picked first in MVC Championships, women second
The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
That may change this year, but the Sycamores will face some stiff competition in their quest for the championships.
North grad Welker helps Whitson earn first NCAA bid as coach
Eastern Kentucky girls golf coach Mike Whitson, an alumnus of his employer, enjoyed his stay in Terre Haute as coach of Indiana State, where he started the women’s golf program.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman wins HCAC all-sports trophy
Rose-Hulman has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophy for the fifth time in the past six year, the league announced Monday.
Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman tennis falls in HCAC semifinal
Rose-Hulman’s hot streak in men’s tennis came to an end Saturday in the semifinal round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at the West Indy Racquet Club.
Manaea fights off bad hip, wet weather to toss four innings
Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
ISU track enjoys big night at IU's Billy Hayes Invitational
The Indiana State Sycamores either won or finished as the top collegian in 12 events, led by the record-breaking performance of senior Brandon Pounds at the 2013 Billy Hayes Invitational Friday at Indiana University.
Pounds broke his own school record to win the men’s hammer throw.
Lansing looking for more home games for next fall
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is looking for a few good games.
Home games that is.
The Sycamores have filled in most of the blanks in their nonconference schedule, but as ever, ISU coach Greg Lansing would like to visit the friendly confines of Hulman Center a bit more often.
Secret weapon: Kelsey Rosselli finishing Woods career with a bang
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, reporting game results to the Tribune-Star after a win or a loss is not always a high priority.
So when one of its athletes enjoys an outstanding season, like senior Kelsey Rosselli is doing for the Pomeroys’ softball team in 2013, media publicity doesn’t always follow.
In fact, her efforts almost seem like a government secret.
Rosselli’s name might sound familiar to longtime Terre Haute softball followers because she was a standout for North High School, from where she graduated in 2009.
Since then, she’s helped The Woods finish runner-up in three straight U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national tournaments in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
ISU baseball gets back into rhythm with victory
Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
Metro roundup: ISU hands out spring awards
The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose baseball wins another thriller
Rose-Hulman earned its third victory in its last at-bat in the last five days with a 6-5 win over Franklin in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
ISU relay teams enjoy strong day at Drake Relays
It was a day for the relay teams to shine at the 104th Drake Relays Saturday as four of the five Indiana State relay teams that competed ran times that put the team among the top five in school history for their respective events.
Indiana State baseball series canceled
Heavy rain from Thursday through Saturday has forced Indiana State and Tennessee Martin to cancel their three-game weekend baseball series in northwest Tennessee.
Metro roundup; Five Wabash Valley players on Terre Haute Rex team
The Terre Haute Rex will look to three-peat as Prospect League Western Division champions with a roster that includes a quartet of Wabash Valley players. Indiana State University standouts Tyler Wampler and Josh Dove will reunite with former Little League and high school rivals Cody Gardner (Wright State), Tim Johnson (Vincennes) and Bryan Nacke (Vincennes) for the summer season.
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