2008-09 Indiana State Basketball Preview: #110
Indiana State Sycamores
Overall Rank: #110
Conference Rank: #6 Missouri Valley
2007-08: 15-16, 8-10, 7th
2007-08 postseason: none
There are plenty of questions that need to be answered at Indiana State, but the most important is regarding the point guard. More specifically, who is going to play the position? Harry Marshall is a solid slasher and a better rebounder than his 6-0 frame would indicate. But can he run the show consistently? We will find out. If not, Marshall will join Marico Stinson on the wing. Stinson is the long range shooter on the team and will do plenty of scoring inside the arc as well.
The point guard concerns stem from the graduation of Gabriel Moore. Not only did he average 4.5 assists per game during his senior campaign, but Moore led the team in points and steals. He was a great leader on the floor and was very effective at getting to the basket. Any single player is not going to do everything Moore did for the Sycamores. Making matters slightly worse is the transfer of Cole Holmstrom. Holmstrom was just a roleplayer last year, but he could have worked his way into the point guard discussion this year. Todd McCoy and Adam Arnold split starts last year and both are moving on. Neither were great scorers, but they would hit the glass hard and do the dirty work around the basket. Lamar Lee and Mike Yelovich will not be suiting up for ISU after seeing limited action in 2007-2008.
This is where the point guard situation gets interesting. Ideally, the team wants Marshall off the ball where he has proven to be effective. That leaves the point guard duties in the hands of incoming freshman Tyler Cutter and junior college transfer Rashad Reed. Cutter is a smart and tough floor leader, but he is a freshman and will need some time to develop. It is Reed who is shouldering the higher hopes right away. The transfer from Vincennes University is a solid defender, a capable floor leader and has the potential to be a pretty good scorer. Incoming freshman Carl Richard and redshirt freshman Jordan Printy will add depth on the wings. Richard is a good slasher and will help in the rebounding department, while Printy will do most of his damage from beyond the arc. The newcomers keep coming with forwards Keenan Barlow and Koang Doluony and center Josh Crawford. Crawford, a junior college transfer from Oxnard College in California, should immediately bolster the front line. At 6-11, he will alter shots and he can score in a variety of ways. Add 6-10 sophomore Brant Leitnaker, who missed all of last season with an injury, and suddenly the Sycamores have a big front line.
Who to Watch:
Yet, the newcomers in the frontcourt will likely be limited to coming off the bench this year. Jay Tunnell and Isiah Martin might not have the size of Crawford, but both are quality players who are ready to play a bigger role this season. Tunnell’s versatility makes him a difficult matchup. He led the team in rebounding last year, but he will not just hang out in the paint all the time. He can step outside and hit the jumper and that really stretches out the opposing defense. Tunnell will be an important and steady influence on this team, but will not likely explode onto the national radar with eye popping numbers, but Martin might. As a freshman last year, the 6-8 Martin tallied 5.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest. It is shot blocking skill that has folks in Terre Haute excited about the Chicago product. If he can manage to stay out of foul trouble, Martin will be a menace on the defensive end and, in time, could develop an offensive game to compliment it.
With that shot blocking and senior leadership in the frontcourt, Indiana State hopes some toughness will follow. That is what this team sorely lacked last year and it led to a dismal 2-13 record on the road…and that was with a senior point guard. If the point guard situation is not taken care of quickly and effectively, the road record might not be much better this time around. And that would put the Sycamores on the outside of a first-round bye in the conference tournament…yet again.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Rashad Reed, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Marico Stinson, Junior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Harry Marshall, Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Isiah Martin, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Jay Tunnell, Senior, Center, 7.9 points per game