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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Sycamores signing locals should boost interest

Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008, at 12:35 PM

College basketball coaches around the country are likely more excited about Nov. 12 than Christmas. If you're the head man at a hoops program, than the second week of November is quite a lot like being a high school girl and waiting to find out if you've gotten invited to the prom.

Around the country, undoubtedly, coaching staffs anxiously waited by fax machines to find out if they were officially chosen by the kids they'd been courting for years. Anxious moments indeed considering your job could be in the hands of a 17-18 year old teenager, whose decision could change like a bird in flight.

Locally, it's good to see that coach Kevin McKenna has put an emphasis on recruiting the area talent and keeping Wabash Valley players close to home. Just as important as having the talented youngsters on the court is the invaluable attention that is brought on the program.

Nothing puts fannies in the seats like having some local kids on the team and you can't tell me that the ISU staff doesn't know that as well.

For the record, Terre Haute South's Jake Odum is one of those Sycamore commitments along with Rockville's RJ Mahurin. Both players have led their high school programs to a resurgence and hope to do the same for ISU next season.

Odum is a 6'2 point guard that showed a flair for the athletic during his junior year with the Braves.

While his scoring numbers aren't huge, his leadership ability is unquestioned along with the intangibles that go along with hooping it up in the rugged MIC Conference.

The South senior averaged 14 ppg. last season while grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game and averaging 7.5 assists. Even more amazing is that he is the first player to sign to play with ISU since 1993 saw Jim Cruse play there.

Mahurin is a 6'7 forward that was an Honorable Mention All-State player last season and was an Indiana Junior All-Star.

Currently he's 118 points away from becoming the Rox all-time leading scorer and has 1,404 points coming into the year.

The class of 2009 has proved quite talented for such a small school and has been a boon for the Sycamores.

Besides Mahurin, Steven Ball also announced that he will play sports for the Sycamores next season.

Ball will join the baseball team next year after a 2008 junior season during which he was named to the All-State First Team.

He had a .442 batting average with 42 hits in 92 at-bats and drove home 60 runs while scoring 39 times. He was a 93 percent fielder and smacked 13 home runs. On the mound he was 7-3 with a 3.57 ERA and struck out 89 batters in just 53 innings.

On the football field, Matt King has led the Rox to an unbeaten season and a regional showdown with fellow unbeaten, Linton on Friday.

King will also be a Sycamore next season after throwing for nearly 2,600 yards in an All-State junior year that concluded with a narrow loss to Sheridan in the state finals. This season all he's done is throw 46 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. He's averaged 233.4 ypg. and thrown for 2,801 yards already and could make it into the top-25 for all-time single season passing with another 383 yards.

So good news for Valley sports fans who'll get to continue watching some of the best the area has to offer for years to come wearing Sycamore blue and white.

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