A hero is needed for Indiana State basketball, and Larry Bird is available.

The Larry Bird-led 1979 national runner-up squad is bringing back memories of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champions.

Josh Schertz has fogged up goggles. The Indiana State Sycamores’ coach is recounting an exciting victory over the Bradley Braves during a postgame news conference at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana. It’s strange that the coach is wearing goggles. The general vibe that has grown up around this basketball team is almost charming.

After an intense overtime game in a boisterous arena, Schertz is sitting in front of the customarily small group of media people, and he has a pair of fan giveaway goggles on his round face. Like thousands of Indiana State supporters in the building earlier that evening, he is paying tribute to College Jokić, also known as Cream Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Blurred, or whatever moniker you like for his unlikely star center with a Play-Doh body and poor vision. Furthermore, Schertz’s blasted goggles are fogging up.

The 48-year-old coach’s vision was flawed in only one area: in 2021, he saw a vibrant opportunity at Indiana State, while others saw a long-dormant program; on the recruiting trail, he saw a big man who would flourish in his skill-centric style, while others saw a paunchy non-athlete; he saw a cast of fearless shooters and slashers, while others saw spare parts; and finally, he saw a place where players could run, gun, swish, and splash.

 

 

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