Terre Haute, IN – In less than a week, Indiana State will be holding the university’s graduation ceremonies, which signals the end of 2015-16 and the beginning of 2016-17.
With that come summer workouts to prepare for the men’s basketball season that will kick off in the fall.
The Sycamores will feature a familiar looking team, despite losing two key contributors in Devonte Brown and Khristian Smith, as well as two reserves (Brandon Burnett and Grant Prusator).
After a disappointing season on the hardwood, Indiana State has their sights set on getting back to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference, but will have to have guys step up with the scoring punch of Brown and Smith no longer available.
Brenton Scott, Brandon Murphy, Niels Bunschoten, Matt Van Scyoc, Emondre Rickman and Everett Clemons will be the core that can provide the main scoring for head coach Greg Lansing in 2016-17, with Scott and Murphy getting better in both seasons under Lansing, while the latter four were able to put up solid numbers in their first season in Terre Haute.
To get where they want to go, the six core players will need some help from the young returnees, as well as the newest additions to the team.
Bronson Kessinger and Trey Knight III will get their shot at earning a rotational spot in the lineup after sitting out the 2015-16 season as redshirts, while LaQuarious Paige will look to add a spark to the Sycamores in his second season in the blue and white and big man T.J. Bell could provide some depth to the frontcourt after sitting out the year due to injury.
Demonte Ojinnaka and Donovan Franklin will also be given an opportunity to make an impact on the Sycamores roster after transferring to Indiana State from the junior college ranks.
The losses of Brown, Burnett and Smith to graduation and Prusator transferring may seem insurmountable when thinking of trying to replace their point totals, but next year’s team could arguably be deeper than it was in 2015-16, which allows Lansing to spread the scoring around to various players.
Not only does the depth of the Sycamores benefit them in their search to regain their position atop the conference, several of the MVC’s top tier schools are losing key players, weakens rosters.
Wichita State will see Ron Baker, Evan Wessel and Fred Van Vleet depart, while Matt Bohannon, Paul Jesperson and Wes Washpun leave Northern Iowa and D.J. Balentine graduates from Evansville.
With the losses of some of the top players in the MVC and added depth to Lansing’s roster, the Sycamores have a good chance of getting back to the coveted top spot in the conference.