NORMAL -- Jordan Threloff wasn't about to let a bloody nose keep him off the court during Friday's practice. The Illinois State freshman just stuffed some cotton up his left nostril and went back to work.
"Anyone of us would do the same thing," said Threloff.
Maybe, but Threloff especially didn't want to miss a second on the court. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound center is sitting out as a redshirt this season to preserve a season of eligibility and knows he won't be playing in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. Missouri Valley Conference game. ISU (10-11, 2-8) shoots for its first three-game winning streak since late November against Drake (8-13, 3-7) at Redbird Arena.
"I don't get in too much during practice, but I'm learning. I love it," said Threloff. "You have to be a student of the game. If you're not a student then what are you?"
Also learning is left-handed guard Bryant Allen. The 6-foot, 180-pound sophomore transferred from Minnesota earlier this month and plans to play football and basketball for ISU next season. A wide receiver and return specialist on the football field, Allen will be able to play basketball in December when first semester grades are posted.
"Right now I'm getting a feel for the team and scoping out everything and learning the system," said Allen, who is on a football scholarship. "Next year, when the time comes, I could be a big help to the team."
For now, Threloff and Allen put on yellow jerseys during practice as part of the scout team. They run through the upcoming opponent's plays for the ISU regulars. Occasionally, they will get thrown in with the other players in five-on-five scrimmaging.
Threloff, a DeKalb High School graduate, is allowed to travel with the Redbirds because he is a redshirt. He goes through an hour workout before every game, home or away. He carefully watches ISU post players Jackie Carmichael and Blake Mishler during games.
"I've picked up some things they do that I like," said Threloff, who does extra weightlifting with the football team. "I had a hook shot in high school, but nothing as nearly developed as Blake's. Since we're kind of the same athletic ability I've kind of picked up on how he gets that shot open. Also, I've picked up on some of the little things Jackie does to rebound. He had 17 last game (against Bradley). That's just work."
ISU coach Tim Jankovich is counting on Threloff to play major minutes next season with Mishler graduating.
"He has really good hands, feel, intelligence, touch," said Jankovich. "He's got to get acclimated to the speed and strength of the game, but his tools are very good."
ISU liked Allen's tools, too, coming out of Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School in St. Louis. He played in nine games for the Golden Gophers last season after football season ended, scoring seven points in 22 minutes.
After catching 16 passes for 202 yards this past football season with Minnesota, Allen decided to transfer. He immediately called ISU, which he said was his No. 2 choice coming out of high school, to see if it was still interested in him playing both sports.
"He's our type of guard, guys who've had a lot of success here, combo guys, point guards who can score," said Jankovich. "I wish we could get him in more (during practice). He'll learn a little bit more of what we're doing when he gets more reps, but he's done a great job for as little as he's been out here."
Jankovich believes working on basketball in the summer with his teammates will be a key for Allen. He will be limited in the spring doing team workouts because of football practice. When the football season is completed in the fall, Allen immediately will switch gears to basketball.
Drake vs. Illinois State
Time: 2:05 p.m.
Site: Redbird Arena, Normal
Television: Comcast Chicago
Radio: WJBC (AM-1230, FM-93.7)
Records: Drake 8-13, 3-7 MVC; ISU 10-11, 2-8
Series history/last meeting: ISU leads, 46-27 (Drake won 76-68 on Jan. 18, 2011)
About the Bulldogs: Drake is 1-6 on the road, including 0-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs’ lone road triumph came on Dec. 8 against Eastern Michigan (58-54) … Ryan Wedel leads the Valley in 3-pointers made (53) and 3-point field goal percentage (.438). Wedel sank 4-of-7 outside the arc and scored a season-high 22 points in the win over ISU on Jan. 18 … Drake ranks last in the Valley in rebounding margin (minus 7.4) and has been outrebounded in 19 of 21 games.
Next: Wednesday at Northern Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
Prediction: Illinois State 66, Drake 62
(Scoring, rebounding averages)
F – Jordan Clarke, 6-8, So. (4.4, 4.0); Ben Simons, 6-8, So. (6.9, 1.6); C –Seth VanDeest, 6-11, So. (10.0, 4.9); G – Ryan Wedel, 5-11, Sr. (11.1, 1.9); Rayvonte Rice, 6-4, Fr. (12.7, 4.8).
F – John Wilkins, 6-9, So. (8.4, 4.3); Jon Ekey, 6-7, Fr. (4.8, 4.2); C — Jackie Carmichael, 6-9, So. (10.9, 5.0); G – Austin Hill, 6-1, Sr. (9.8, 2.4); Anthony Cousin, 5-11, So. (7.0, 1.4).