Couldn't agree more. Berman is one of the top 10 (wait...let's double check ESPN's roster...), top 5 talents ESPN has. In fact, I propose a White House petition to bring back, back, back, back, back the Berman/Jackson NFL Primetime.
Indiana State Sycamores (Last Year: 20-14, 12-6 in MVC)
2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Myles Walker (Sr)/Jake Kitchell (Fr)/Justin Gant (Fr)
F: Carl Richard (Sr)/R.J. Mahurin (So)/Koang Doluony (Jr)
G/F: Jordan Printy (Sr)/Brandon Burnett (Fr)
SG: Dwayne Lathan (Sr)/Devonte Brown (Fr)/Logan Eitel (So)/Lucas Eitel (So)
PG: Jake Odum (So)/Steve McWhorter (So)
Gone: G/F-Jake Kelly, SG-Aaron Carter, F/C-Isiah Martin
In his first season as head coach, Greg Lansing led the Indiana State Sycamores to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade. With most of their key contributors returning, Larry Bird's alma mater should be in the thick of the Missouri Valley Conference race.
Balance was the best weapon Indiana State had last season as five guys averaged between 8-11 points. Eleven players saw quality minutes throughout last season and with nine of those guys back, the Sycamores boast an experienced roster.
Former Louisiana Tech transfer Dwayne Lathan was the team's leading scorer last season despite averaging 10.9 points per game. He is sneaky athletic and a physical shooting guard who is not a true threat from downtown. His likely fellow starter on the wing can light it up deep though. Jordan Printy hit 47.7% of his triple tries.
Freshmen Brandon Burnett and Devonte Brown figure to earn the top reserve roles on the wing, although twin brothers Logan and Lucas Eitel will compete for some minutes as well. Gonzaga transfer Mangisto Arop will sit out this season but is able to practice with the team.
All-MVC Freshman and Defensive Team member Jake Odum is back to run the point. He can do a little bit of everything on the floor and at 6-4, has great size for a one. Odum will once again be backed up by Racine, Wisconsin-native Steve McWhorter, who is coming off a solid freshman season.
Senior Carl Richard (6-5) does not have the typical size of a power forward but did lead the team in rebounding last season. R.J. Mahurin is a three-point threat off the bench while Koang Duluony is a lengthy forward who adds even more depth up front.
Myles Walker retains his role as the starting center, bringing some needed physicality to an undersized starting five. Redshirt freshman Jake Kitchell is the tallest Sycamore at 6-10, but offers more versatility for a big man. Justin Gant needs to add some strength but does bring length and athleticism to the frontcourt.
Indiana State will not sneak up on anybody this season. They should contend for the MVC Championship along with Wichita State and Creighton. The Missouri Valley has gotten two bids into the tournament recently, but as always, the safest bet for the Sycamores is to win the conference tourney and earn the league's automatic bid.
Player to Watch: Jake Odum, PG
As a redshirt freshman, Odum showed great poise in running the point for Indiana State. With a year under his belt, look for Odum to assume even more of a leadership role on the floor. He may not be a great outside shooter, but uses his length to be a pest on the defensive end and a solid rebounder.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/18 vs. Ball State
11/24 vs. Texas Tech (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Minnesota/DePaul (Old Spice Classic)
11/27 vs. Arizona State, Dayton, Wake Forest, Fairfield (Old Spice Classic)