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.
- Local Interest
Post 346 rebounds to win Terre Haute Invitational
It’s an interesting dance that Wayne Newton Post 346 and Evansville Pate Post 265 have developed in American Legion baseball’s Terre Haute Invitational, and the last waltz was saved for the host team Sunday.
METRO ROUNDUP: Wayne Newton 2-1 on young season
Wayne Newton Post 346 improved to 2-1 in American Legion baseball with a late 8-3 victory over Effingham on Thursday night.
Craig Peters was winning pitcher for Post 346 and T.J. Decker and Cody Thornton led a 16-hit attack with three hits each.
Rex looking to return to pitching dominance Sunday against Springfield
During a 7-1 start and franchise-best seven-game winning streak, Terre Haute Rex pitching was the catalyst. Through eight games, the Rex led the Prospect League with an earned-run average of 1.11.
Even after giving up 10 runs Friday night in a 10-6 loss to the Quincy Gems, the Rex (7-2) are still the league leader in ERA at 2.09.
FROM TERRE HAUTE TO THE MAJOR LEAGUES: Former Scamore hurlers doing well in White Sox system
Brian Omogrosso was promoted to Chicago and appeared in 11 games. The big right-hander compiled a 5.14 earned-run average in 14 innings of relief. He struck out 14 and walked seven.
- COLLEGE REPORT: Wabash College All-American relay team has TH flavor
PREP ROUNDUP: Rockville wins baseball sectional
Rockville won its own Class A sectional in high school baseball Tuesday, defeating Covington 10-4 in the rain-delayed championship game.
RAMBLIN’ RECK: Each lead change made Indy a thrill
The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 and will be remembered as one of the best races in recent history.
It won’t be memorable for a close finish but rather for a record 68 lead changes and 14 different drivers taking their turn at the front of the pack.
West Vigo back on top of Class 3A baseball sectional
West Vigo won its sectional with a 6-4 victory over South Vermillion on a rainy night at Dick Ballinger Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's Evans honored as Great Lakes' top athlete
Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans earned her fifth career NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Field Athlete of the Year honor, according to results released Wednesday by the U.S. Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association.
Terry enjoys strong year with Wildcats, and still enjoying suiting up to play
South Vermillion’s Tim Terry is the longest tenured coach in Wabash Valley high school baseball as his Wildcats are set to begin sectional play Thursday against Owen Valley.
But on the Yankees, a 35-and-over team in the Terre Haute Men’s Senior Baseball League, Terry is “just a youngster” if you ask Larry Roesch, his 68-year-old teammate on the Volkers Group Yankees.
Softball sectionals up for grabs
All three Vigo County high schools and Northview appear to have a realistic chance of winning sectional championships in softball this week.
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: Rose-Hulman baseball to play DePauw on Thursday after Tuesday's rain
The Rose-Hulman baseball team has rescheduled its non-conference game with DePauw to Thursday night.
The start time remains 7 p.m. for the single nine-inning game that was originally scheduled for today. Tuesday’s scheduled Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at Anderson was moved to Sunday because of rain.
Vigo County Youth Soccer Association to host Indiana Soccer Cup Games
The Vigo County Youth Soccer Association will welcome more than 7,000 people to its Springhill Drive facility through two tournaments in the next five weeks.
METRO ROUNDUP: North, South well-represented on All-Star teams
Two Terre Haute schools, two Terre Haute coaches and four Terre Haute All-Stars.
When it comes to the 21st Annual North-South All-Star Classic on April14 at Rose-Hulman, it would be hard to discern any North-South bias.
Wabash baseball tops Rose-Hulman
Wabash College scored two runs in the third inning and two in the fifth to top Rose-Hulman 4-1 in non-conference baseball Wednesday afternoon.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman swimmer places 17th in NCAA championships
Rose-Hulman freshman Orion Martin missed honorable-mention All-America honors by just one position at the NCAA Division III swimming national championships Friday.
Rose-Hulman swimmers flying to nationals
Rose-Hulman swimmers John Craig Huster and Orion Martin have qualified for the Division III national meet in the 100 butterfly
Metro Sports: Anderson, Smith earn all-state honors
Nicole Anderson and Rhagan Smith have earned girls basketball all-state honors.
Mid-West Archery, Whitetail Deer Expo Jan. 12
Wintertime blues getting you down? Hunting season over, lose that cabin fever and come visit us at the Mid-West Archery and Whitetail Deer Expo. Vendors will have on display quality hand made crafts, ATVs, new trucks, log cabin, taxidermy and many other must see vendors.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman to offer video webcasts
Rose-Hulman has partnered with Stretch Internet to provide free video webcasts for the remainder of its 2012-13 basketball season, beginning with the men’s game against Anderson at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
METRO ROUNDUP: USAC releases 2013 Action Track dates
U.S. Auto Club early race schedules have been released for next year, including dates at the Terre Haute Action Track and other tracks in the area.
County hears ambulance contract proposals
Representatives of three Vigo County fire departments want to change language in a contract before any company is selected as the county’s 911 emergency care provider.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU signs golfer from Florida
A four-time county champion who won 41 of her 42 high school golf matches has signed her national letter-of-intent to attend Indiana State, beginning with the fall 2013 semester, according to Indiana State women’s coach Greg Towne.
Website repair means hunters should buy licenses now to hunt this weekend
Buying a hunting license early is generally a wise idea, but it’s essential for those who have yet to buy a license and want to hunt upland game species such as pheasant, quail and rabbit this weekend.
Vigo County Jail Log: Oct. 31, 2012
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.
RESTAURANT INSPECTONS: Oct. 29, 2012
METRO ROUNDUP: Honey Creek wins boys tennis county title
Honey Creek won the team championship in the Vigo County middle school tennis tournament Saturday morning at Sarah Scott and Rea Park courts.
PREP ROUNDUP: VanSchoyck runs for IHSAA-record 511 yards
North Central running back Chase VanSchoyck broke the Indiana High School Athletic Association rushing record with a 511-yard performance as the Thunderbirds defeated host Riverton Parke 67-0 in football Friday.
Metro roundup: Rose announces Hall of Fame selections
Rose-Hulman announced this week that it will induct five new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 6 in the Sports and Recreation Center.
Zack Johnson (1998), Jennifer (Krause) Lawrence (2002), James McTaggart (1895), Rob Nichols (1999) and David Yeager (1968) will be added to the shrine prior to the football matchup with Bluffton University.
- More Local Interest Headlines
- Post 346 rebounds to win Terre Haute Invitational