After Rose-Hulman stumbled out to a 2-5 start this men’s basketball season, it bounced back with three straight victories to even its record at 5-5.
Since then, coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers have lost tough games to Wabash (68-66 on Dec. 20) and Dominican (54-50 on Saturday). They’re now 5-7 heading into a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference home clash with Defiance on Wednesday. Shaw’s club could use another bounceback at this key point in the season and there’s a good chance it will turn to senior Lorenzo Rice to provide a spark.
After all, who else on Rose’s team knows more about bouncing back than Rice?
He’s only undergone four knee surgeries — three on his left and one on his right — in the past four years. All that cutting and probing in his knees caused him to consider a premature retirement from basketball.
Fortunately for the Engineers, Rice’s thoughts of quitting did not last long.
“There were times when I saw a little bit of doubt on his face,” Shaw recalled, “but it always went away pretty quickly.”
“I thought about that a lot,” Rice admitted recently.
“But I was always taught to stick through adversity because it makes you a stronger person.”
Recruited out of Grandview (Mo.) High School to be the next stud Rose-Hulman basketball player, the 6-foot-4 Rice averaged 7.7, 5.1 and 5.0 points per game respectively as a freshman, sophomore and junior. This season, he’s scoring 10.1 ppg after tallying a team-high 18 points against Dominican.
Those may not be studly numbers, but the effort Rice put forth to get them certainly deserves respect.
Rice had one surgery before his freshman season but was able to return to start 21 of 26 games.
“I’m happily surprised, but not shocked, that he is enjoying his senior season,” Shaw said. “When he was a freshman, he was already showing his knee problems. But he was on track to being an all-conference candidate and a conference Player of the Year contender.”
Rice went off that track, however, when he underwent another surgery in the spring of his freshman year.
Then he had two more surgeries as a sophomore. One was for a retorn meniscus in his left knee and the other was for tendinitis and loose cartilage in his right knee.
After rehabilitating again, Rice returned to basketball — again. Asked for an estimation, he said he’s at about 80-85 percent of the effectiveness he would have been at without the surgeries.
“It forced me to become a smarter player,” he admitted, “because I lost some of my athleticism.”
“He needs days off [from practice],” Shaw mentioned. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t be his best on game day. However, he won’t take himself off the floor. I have to take him out of practice. He gets frustrated with me, but he and the team understand why.”
Despite these countless inconveniences, friends never hear Rice complaining about “poor me.”
“I feel blessed to be back on the court and contributing,” said Rice, a chemical-engineering major who already has a post-graduation job lined up in Kansas City.
“Nobody deserves athletic success more than ‘Zo because he has paid more of a price to play college basketball than any player I’ve ever had,” Shaw stressed.
“With what he’s had to overcome health-wise, not many kids would have kept going. It has been extremely frustrating, but he has kept a positive attitude and maintained a commitment to playing college basketball.”
• • •
• Annual apologies — As usual when I and the rest of the Tribune-Star sports staff rank Wabash Valley stories for our Year in Review, we accidentally forget to include at least one worthwhile item.
We’re human, so please don’t think we purposely left out your favorite team’s accomplishments in our 2008 Year in Review that ran Dec. 28.
Among those which deserved recognition but didn’t in our latest Year in Review was the West Vigo baseball team reaching the Class 3A Jasper Semistate and finishing with a 22-6 record in June.
Coach Steve DeGroote’s Vikings, who blanked North Harrison 7-0 in the regional championship game, should have been included in the No. 1 story that was highlighted by Shakamak’s Class A state title and also mentioned semistate appearances by Terre Haute South (Class 4A) and Rockville (Class A).
Another significant story that somehow fell through the cracks Dec. 28 was Terre Haute North’s senior tennis duo of Drew Holcomb and Michael Eberle competing in the IHSAA boys doubles state finals at Park Tudor’s courts in Indianapolis.
Holcomb and Eberle finished fourth in the tournament that ended Oct. 25, compiling a 22-5 record for the season. For that, they deserved recognition in our Year in Review and they didn’t get it.
“We blew it” is not a good excuse, but it’s all we have. If you were a fan of either of these teams or any of the individuals involved, please accept our sincere apology.
And if we left out anything else, please let me know without screaming or TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at email@example.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
Even after multiple knee surgeries, Rice refuses to quit
After Rose-Hulman stumbled out to a 2-5 start this men’s basketball season, it bounced back with three straight victories to even its record at 5-5.
- Hughes News & Views
Hughes, News & Views: Pacers, 500, NFL on mind of curious columnist
One previous time, I believe, my annual May questions column ran one day late into June.
Can you forgive me for this being the second time?
With apologies out of the way, below are questions that have been taking up valuable space in my head lately.
Some are serious, some not so much. Most are sports-related, but don’t blame me if a few are not. After all, newspaper sportswriters don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports 24/7 (contrary to what my Lisa might tell you).
Here we go:
• How funny will the reaction of the national media be when the Indiana Pacers knock off the unbeatable Miami Heat tonight and Monday to take the series and head to an NBA Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs? Hint: Several ESPN “experts” will need to change their underwear next week.
Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston
Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
Former South players to play in Saylor benefit game
I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
Recent South swimmers Roach, Bray heading to DI nationals
I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
NCAA Division III basketball tournament returns to Rose-Hulman
The last time Rose-Hulman served as host for the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, its game was played inside an old World War II airplane hangar.
You “old-timers” should know the building I’m talking about and the matchup wasn’t really that long ago — March 6, 1997, to be exact.
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When I learned in February 2009 that a rare form of appendix cancer would devastate my life and cause me to miss work for several months, Mike Saylor was among the first to offer assistance.
Book review: Thumbs up for ‘Trophies and Tears’
Now might be too late for giving Christmas presents, but the book “Trophies and Tears: The Story of Evansville and the Aces” is a fascinating read for longtime Indiana basketball fans, particularly those older than 40.
Written by award-winning Kyle Keiderling of Henderson, Nev., and released in hardcover format in mid-December, the 480-page “Trophies and Tears” documents the rich tradition of the University of Evansville men’s basketball program through recent interviews and research of old yearbooks and newspaper/scrapbook clippings.
The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
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There’s plenty of tragedy in the world to bring us down if we let it, so let’s have a light-hearted column today — my annual Christmas gift requests for Santa Claus.
I already know one of my gift wishes is becoming less likely to happen. That would be for the Indianapolis Colts to face the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs.
Colts' loyalty tested by Manning, Broncos
We’re approaching the halfway point of the NFL season and so far it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle following two favorite teams — 1a.) the Indianapolis Colts and 1b.) Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos — but the new arrangement hasn’t caused me any loyalty conflicts yet.
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In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.
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I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.
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If Kylie Hutson were a cross-country runner, she’d be approaching the final stretch of her biggest race in about three weeks.
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Bryan Egli and Joe Puthoff, both Rose-Hulman basketball starters I covered in the late 1990s, took their degrees from the prestigious engineering institute and found successful careers in the Indianapolis area.
Egli, also a former West Vigo High School multi-sport standout, lives in Carmel and works for Thieneman Construction in Westfield. Puthoff lives in Indy and works for Rolls Royce Aircraft Engines.
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Today’s annual “Super Bowl odds column” feels special to me because I’ve been a diehard NFL fan since 1967 and next Sunday will be the first time the big game takes place in our great state of Indiana.
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Almost 10 years ago, February 2002 to be exact, the New England Patriots upset the high-powered St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, the Winter Olympics entertained spectators in Salt Lake City and Terre Haute South High School’s girls basketball team started its tournament run toward a Class 4A state title.
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Last week, I was all set to beg Santa Claus to give the Indianapolis Colts a certificate good for one NFL regular-season victory.
Then the 2011 Colts decided to play like the 2009 Colts and clobber the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for their first win of the season. So that present won’t be necessary.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: WTHI defends decision not to show Colts
When your favorite NFL team is threatening to finish 0-16, you have to figure a few fans will jump off the bandwagon.
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Jack Butcher, Howard Sharpe and Bill Stearman.
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Lori Wood, the Tribune-Star’s Indianapolis 500 correspondent since 2000, planned to visit a friend in California and take in the IndyCar Las Vegas 300 as a ticket-buying fan last weekend.
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Indiana State football alum Chris “Big C” Hicks will turn 58 Saturday and he knows exactly what he wants for his birthday.
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The Engineers have not endured a losing season since 2004. But they’ve opened this season at 0-2, causing Sokol to admit they’re desperate for a win.
“We’re all very hungry for a victory,” he said after practice Thursday. “We all want to taste victory really, really bad.”
Valley semipro football team reaches championship of IFL
The West Central Wildcats’ semipro football team from Terre Haute has been written about before in this column space over the last two years.
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When I heard the NFL lockout finally ended this week, I looked for someone affiliated with the Indianapolis Colts to get a reaction.
Amateur boxing card set for outdoors at Show-Me's
We all know what Show-Me’s sports bar is famous for around Terre Haute, right?
Chicken wings, of course.
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When I walked in Sweatbox Gym through the alley door Wednesday, I wondered if a time machine had taken me back to the 1950s, the glory days of boxing.
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Plagued by one injury after another after another, Kristen Seaton was ready to turn off the lights on her volleyball career.
In her mind, the party was over.
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