The irony of the situation is not lost on the Washburn Ichabods basketball team – their two latest additions just happen to be football players. Fletcher Terrell and Mike Odupitan of the Washburn football squad have now joined the ranks of the basketball team.
“We were in need of players. We lost five scholarship kids from September, and we knew Mike had talked about playing basketball after his career was over,” said Bob Chipman, head coach. “Unfortunately, he had to get his knee scoped, so that slowed him down. Jeremy Cunningham, one of our assistants, mentioned Fletch.”
Coming in partway through the season is tough enough, but adding in the never-played-college-basketball-before factor, contribution almost seems like a daunting task.
“It usually takes guys in our program a year to get comfortable with the offense and defense,” said Chipman.
But for Terrell, contribution is more than knowing just the ins and outs of the offense and defense. His contribution starts with his competitive spirit.
“I’m not expecting a lot from myself because I haven’t [played organized basketball] in so long,” said Terrell. “But one thing I have instilled in me is I’m a competitor. I love to compete, it doesn’t matter what it is. Whether it’s football, basketball, Monopoly or card games, it doesn’t matter. I love to win.”
With Terrell’s competitive energy, getting after it on the defensive end of the floor is no problem.
“As a player, I bring intensity on the defensive end of the ball,” said Terrell. “That’s what I’ve been good at all my life, since I’ve been little I’ve been a good defensive player.”
For the other newcomer, Odupitan, his hope for contribution is a little different, but just as welcome.
“At some point, I would like to be a leader. I was a leader on the football team, and hopefully I can bring that kind of leadership to the basketball team,” said Odupitan.
Odupitan’s hand of contribution is slightly forced upon him as he continues to recover from a knee arthroscopy for a torn MCL.
“Right now it’s a little hard for me because I’m coming off of knee surgery,” said Odupitan. “So I’m just trying to get adjusted to playing organized basketball again.”
Admittedly, there is an adjustment period to doing something competitively that you haven’t done in awhile. But even so, Chipman is impressed with both Fletcher and Odupitan.
“I can’t believe how well they’re doing, considering they haven’t played that much basketball, and never played college basketball,” said Chipman. “Skill-wise, it’s hard to pass, shoot, just dribble it and, man, they’ve been incredible. It’s got to be natural talent.”