TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State swingman Khristian Smith was a fixture at Sycamore basketball events during the 2011-12 season.
Smith was ever-present at practices and games. He always had a smile on his face. It was evident he was happy to be a Sycamore.
The positivity that Smith projects is just how the affable freshman from Indianapolis is. But on another level, the smile was just there trying to fool the public.
Deep down inside, the 2011-12 season was torturous for the former Indianapolis Pike standout. Smith did not academically qualify to be eligible last season. His grades were good enough to enroll at Indiana State, but not good enough to qualify through the NCAA clearinghouse.
As a result, he had to sit last season out and get his grades to a level where he could be eligible for the 2012-13 campaign.
That meant, for the first time since he was 4, Smith would play no organized basketball for an entire season.
“I appreciate the game a whole lot more now. I’ve played basketball since I was 4. Having a year taken away? That was real hard, especially coming into college. I expected to come in right away, but it didn’t work out,” Smith said.
The path to ISU was circuitous for Smith, but mainly, it was frustrating. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound swingman initially committed to Cincinnati. However, Smith did not academically qualify upon leaving Pike.
He elected to attend a year of prep school at Maine Central Institute (and was MVP on Maine Central’s tournament championship team) to get himself in good stead academically with the NCAA’s standards. But it didn’t happen there either.
Smith decommitted from Cincinnati and committed to ISU in November 2010. Smith was not able to academically qualify for the 2011-12 season and sat out last season as a grayshirt.
“He’s been though an awful lot. He didn’t qualify out of high school. He went to prep school and didn’t quite make it. He took the ACT and SAT tests multiple times, but it just didn’t happen,” ISU coach Greg Lansing said.
Lansing said that the will was there for Smith to get his grades in order, but he never had the support system to get over the hump. Lansing said it’s a common problem as players are often ignorant that the poor grades they receive as underclassmen in high school can and will come back to bite them when college offers get serious.
“We have great academic support here and he needed it. Young guys [in high school] don’t realize that those grades count when you’re a freshman and a sophomore. If they’re falling through the cracks then, you have a lot to overcome. These guys in high school need great guidance starting when they’re freshman,” Lansing noted.
Smith could have left ISU and enrolled in a junior college, but he elected to stick it out. It wasn’t easy. Smith could not participate in any official team activities.
“My basketball court was the classroom. I knew I had to get in, study real hard and do everything I had to do,” Smith said.
Though Smith could only watch, Lansing lauded him for projecting the right attitude.
“He was around the guys, but he couldn’t do anything with the team. The only thing he could do is work with [strength coach Dave] McManus,” Lansing noted. “He couldn’t do anything, but the funny thing was he was a great teammate last year. He supported them and pulled for them, but to be stripped of something you love so much was tough for him.”
Smith bonded with ISU’s 2011-12 redshirt freshmen — Devonte Brown and Brandon Burnett — as well as Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop. All had to sit out last year.
But they could practice and Smith could not. He did his best to learn via observation.
“I saw the little things that people do. You’re able to see little gaps you can take advantage of. I watched Devonte [Brown] and Brandon [Burnett] struggle a little at the beginning and now I’m a little unsure now with it being my first time out there,” Smith said.
If Smith is unsure, he’s done a good job of hiding it. As ISU practices ahead of its exhibition trip to the Bahamas on Aug. 12, Smith has been impressive and as athletic as advertised. Smith has a nice touch on his outside shot and is quick to get to the basket. Defensively, he made one unfortunate ISU shooter pay for a weak shot during Thursday’s practice when he swatted it onto the adjacent court.
“He’s tough. He’s a tough guy. He had a rough year last year. I think it builds fire. I think it’s like the guys who sit out and redshirt for a year. You get that itch for the game. He’s a talent no one really knows about in the league. I think he’s going to surprise some people,” ISU point guard Jake Odum said.
Since Smith arrived, its been whispered among those close to the Sycamore program what kind of potential he could have. Smith acknowledged how hungry he is to finally get to play and knows there’s anticipation about his potential.
But he’s also matured through his long wait. There were no bold statements about what he thinks he can do as his ISU career is finally upon him.
“There’s a lot of anxiousness to get out on the court. We’re all anxious. This is a new team with a whole new focus. We have something to prove. Everyone has had my name written on things and I haven’t done anything. I’m just trying to work hard to prove myself,” Smith said.
• Rhett Smith suffers finger injury — On the first play of ISU’s Thursday practice, freshman forward Rhett Smith suffered a dislocation of his pinky.
Khristian Smith also suffered a toe injury near the end of Thursday’s practice, but it was not believed to be serious.
• ISU completes nonconference schedule — The last two dates on ISU’s nonconference slate have been filled. The Sycamores will play host to Winthrop on Nov. 13 and Division II Truman State on Nov. 17.
ISU will play five nonconference home games in 2012-13, including February’s BracketBusters game.
After sitting out season, Khristian Smith is ready to play
TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State swingman Khristian Smith was a fixture at Sycamore basketball events during the 2011-12 season.
Sycamores bow out of MVC Tournament
Indiana State’s baseball was out of pitching, and after a loss to Wichita State on Thursday, the Sycamores were out of second-chances too at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament. What the Sycamores weren’t out of was heart, guts and clutch performances from some unlikely sources. But in the end, Friday’s elimination game rematch against the Shockers was a sampling of ISU’s season overall — the Sycamores were out of luck.
Metro Sports: Chalk up No. 5 for Liz Evans
Senior Liz Evans capped the top career in Rose-Hulman athletics history with her fifth national championship and eighth All-American award at Wisconsin-La Crosse on Friday.
Four Indiana State athletes advance to NCAA outdoor track and field championships
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman have punched their tickets to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore., with their Friday efforts in the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
Wichita State shuts out ISU to force elimination-game rematch
Indiana State starting pitcher Greg Kuhlman did his best.
Actually, he did far better than he ever has previously in an ISU uniform, but while Kuhlman’s gutty pitching effort spoke volumes, ISU’s bats remained ominously silent.
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
Indiana State’s Wednesday morning wish list probably read something like this: a dominant complete game effort from starting pitcher Devin Moore, near-immaculate defense to support him, and a steady diet of clutch situational hitting from lineup spots one to nine.
Terre Haute's Mascari running 10,000 meters for chance to get to Hayward Field
Indiana State freshman and Terre Haute North graduate John Mascari is among the enormous group of Sycamores competing this weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary. The top 48 NCAA track and field competitors in each event on this half of the United States are narrowed down to 12 who will compete at the NCAA meet at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Manaea's shoulder causing him latest pain
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea has battled through so many aches and pains during the 2013 season that it can be hard to discern the serious pain from the pain he pitches through.
ISU's Negele answers call in big way in wake of Manaea injury
When Indiana State starting pitcher Sean Manaea slumped on the mound in obvious pain after he took his warm-up pitches, red flags raised for ISU’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament hopes.
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 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'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.
Metro Roundup: Indiana State’s Shakir Bell on Performance Awards watch list
College Football Performance Awards has announced its watch list for the 2013 CFPA FCS Running Back Award, and Indiana State’s Shakir Bell earned a spot on the list.
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.
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- Sycamores bow out of MVC Tournament