TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Twelve days after hitting the game-winning shot versus Utah State, Sycamores’ senior T.J. Bell is leaving Indiana State’s basketball program, per head coach Greg Lansing.
“T.J. Bell is stepping away from Indiana State basketball for personal reasons,” stated Lansing via press release. “We want to thank him for all the hard work and contributions he has made over his career with the Sycamores.”
Bell, who was coming off a ruptured Achilles which sidelined him for the entirety of last season, solidified a spot in Indiana State’s rotation at the AdvoCare Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
At ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, the Charleston, Illinois, native averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds per game, which included a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds) versus nationally-ranked Iowa State.
Bell started the final five games of his Indiana State career and had a career-high 17 points versus Northern Illinois on November 30. He sank the game-winner versus Utah State in the following contest.
“He is a good student that has already graduated and always represented himself and our program very well,” Lansing said. “T.J. is a wonderful person that will be successful in whatever he chooses. There are a lot of sacrifices that go into being a student-athlete and it can be extremely difficult at times. We wish T.J. nothing but the very best.”
With Bell’s departure (6.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG), a key piece in the Sycamores’ front-court is now missing. Junior Brandon Murphy will likely return to the starting lineup at center. Murphy (4.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG) started the first five games of the season, not to mention assumed the center duties last year when Bell was out with injury.
An underclassman will also be required to step up for the Sycamores. Likely candidates include senior Niels Bunschoten (4.1 PPG), sophomore Emondre Rickman (1.8 PPG), and freshman Bronson Kessinger (1.8 PPG).
Indiana State finishes up non-conference play with a visit to in-state rival Valparaiso and a home matchup versus Eastern Illinois. The Sycamores are 5-5 this season.
– P. Wesner