TERRE HAUTE —
When Lewis University comes to Hulman Center tonight for Indiana State’s only men’s basketball exhibition game, the script will be familiar. All of the Sycamores will get a chance to play and be given some minutes to show what they can do.
The difference this season is what might be gained out of those minutes.
With center Mike Samuels out with a broken foot — very possibly for the season — exhibition minutes could prove crucial to some of ISU’s young players to show that maybe they can be a bigger part of the rotation than was originally thought … or a lesser part of the rotation if things go wrong.
And it’s not just inside. ISU’s young guards and forwards are also vying for time in the season rotation. Lewis is the only chance to show what they can do in a game atmosphere.
“It’s about whose going to help us? There’s minutes wide-open. It’s going to be competitive in there. If somebody wants minutes, they’re there to grab,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said. “It’s another day to get better. It’s a chance to play a good Division II opponent.”
Lansing would not say whether any of the Sycamores are being considered to sit out a season as a redshirt. Injuries have complicated that equation, especially inside. Sophomore center Jake Kitchell, in particular, has been dogged by a groin injury. He didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday.
Lansing also declined comment as to whether ISU had anything to build upon or focus on after last Saturday’s scrimmage against Saint Louis. By NCAA rule, the scrimmage was not open to the public or media, and also by NCAA rule, Lansing is not allowed to comment in detail on what happened.
What Lansing did say is that everything ISU has done in preseason practice has been a building block to the next practice, scrimmage, or in this case, exhibition game. Lansing has always been a proponent of film study and he noted that this team is inclined to learn better in that manner.
“A lot of guys are visual learners. And tape doesn’t lie. A guy may think he was doing a little better than he was and he’s like, ‘Wow, that was really how I was doing.’ Our guys and staff have done a tremendous job of watching tape and seeing if they can learn better that way,” Lansing said.
As for the game itself, it’s the usual exhibition fare.
“We have to worry about us. We have to play with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, be unselfish and compete on the defensive end. We want to give the guys a feel for what it’s like to be in a game atmosphere,” said Lansing, who is friends with Lewis coach Scott Trost.
Romeoville, Ill.-based Lewis has played one exhibition game already. The Flyers lost 79-47 at Illinois last Saturday. The Fighting Illini scored 26 of the game’s first 30 points. Guard Ryan Jackson scored 17 to lead Lewis.
Lewis — picked fifth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason poll — has two Indiana players. Bicknell’s Richard Gugliotta, who played at North Knox, is a sophomore guard. Greenwood’s David Heckman, who played at Roncalli, is a freshman forward.