Lessons learned

Keith DeWitt’s getting hurt may be what USI’s basketball team needed early in the season. His disappearance with that knee injury after scoring 25 points in the Eagles’ season-opening win over Kentucky State has forced others on the team to play better.

“Keith was like our bail-out person the beginning of the season,” said point guard Lawrence Thomas, and he’s right on about that. In the exhibition game against Evansville and even in that opening contest, there was a tendency among USI’s players to step back and let — or even watch — DeWitt take over. Can’t say that I blame them, though. His aggressiveness sucked all the air out of the opposing team’s defense, which suddenly had to collapse on him out of self-preservation. He would literally rise above it all, dunking, rebounding, slapping the ball to teammates.

He’s supposed to return for next weekend’s Fern Valley Hotel Classic at Bellarmine University in Louisville. So far, the Eagles are averaging 75.7 points over the three games DeWitt has not played. Taylor Wischmeier has averaged 17.3 points during that period while Aaron Nelson, who replaced DeWitt, has averaged 13.7 — and 9.0 rebounds.

“If we get good without Keith,” said Thomas, “we could be dangerous.”

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