WMBD/WYZZ-TV - NORMAL, ill. -- At 6-8, 245 pounds, Blake Mishler is hard to miss
But admittedly he was pretty invisible the past two years at Illinois State. That's changing this season.
"Coach (Tim Jankovich) talked to me all summer," said Mishler. "I've been working hard trying to improve and hopefully it's showing."
The improvement in his game is obvious. Mishler scored 15 points all last season, he's tripled that in the Redbirds' first six games this year.
He's become a key player in ISU's rotation in the post.
"I see myself as a solid post presence and looking to give the team whatever they need," said Mishler.
Mishler's play might be surprising to some. It is not surprising to Dinma Odiakosa.
The former ISU All-Conference center, who is playing professionally overseas now, saw something in Mishler last winter.
"I have had a sense Blake was going to be a strong contributor. And Dinma told me that this summer," said Jankovich.
Mishler says he improved just by practicing against Odiakosa last season.
"Last year I was mainly a practice player going against Dinma every day," said Mishler. "But I'm enjoying my senior year and I'm excited to play a lot more."
Mishler may never be the star player he was in high school as a Metamora Redbird. But the former high school all area performer says feels like a vital part of the Redbirds at Illinois State.
"One of my teammates said it was like I got a big ovation when I left (a recent game)," said Mishler. "I joked that half the stands are from Metamora."