Some random thoughts as the Indiana high school basketball season will start to wind down over the next few weeks:
When I think of basketball and winter time, I often look back on my youthful days when I would shovel snow off our driveway court so my buddies and I could shoot some hoops.
We just wanted to play, short sleeves and all … cold temperatures were not a concern. Yes, we just wanted to play!
It's just what you did. That's what you did in Indiana.
Do kids today still do that? I often wonder. I hope so. I mean, you can't put a price tag on such memories. You just can't.
* * *
A FORMER Indiana high school basketball great once said this: “It used to be the STATE basketball tournament; now it's the CLASS basketball tournament.’’
Not a happy camper was Milan’s Bobby Plump. Yet, many Hoosier basketball diehards agree with him. Fully agree, that is!
Plump, whose last-second basket brought Muncie Central to its knees, and brought us the Milan Miracle in 1954, will likely go to his grave with that same mindset . . . of his disappointment of Class Basketball being our new way of life.
”Regardless, it's still all about basketball. And the kids and old and new fans alike, well, most still follow the game . . . “Our Game!”
* * *
I HAD A high school and college basketball All-American friend who told me that the athletic director at Carmel High School was, many felt, the model of what an athletic director should be.
I’m not in the business of evaluating athletic directors. And maybe that’s a good thing.
Based on what I’ve seen of Jimmy Inskeep, though, I must say he certainly gets involved. He runs things in a professional manner, and he’s put together a solid coaching staff in all sports at CHS.
Well, hoping not to make Inskeep blush, he should still take a bow for his efforts. Yes, I realize he undoubtedly has a committee involved in the selection process, but Jimmy, as he likes to be called, bleeds gold and blue and he loves his Greyhounds.
He’s been, and still is, the leader in a great deal of the school’s success, in my opinion. His basketball and football staffs, especially, have been exceptional. The school has won over 150 IHSAA state championships. Simply incredible . . . much like the Greyhounds state-dominant girls and boys swimming programs.
Hey, you can’t argue with such success!
* * *
AAU BASKETBALL is so big. Maybe even bigger than high school basketball, some contend.
In the summertime, college scouts can see hundreds of AAU events and scout the players.
That's the one place where they can see how well they can score.
Not as much defense in AAU basketball as you'll find in high school basketball, though.
There are some folks who believe that the day will come when AAU will basically replace high school basketball. Travel baseball is big, too, as a matter of fact.
* * *
WHERE IS THE best boys basketball played in Indiana?
What area of the state seems to have and show the most interest?
Easy answer: Central Indiana.
A friend of mine who runs a sports website up north contends that Indiana is more of a basketball state from Martinsville on down south. Really? I beg to differ. Look at the teams in the MIC and HCC! I mean, wow. Don’t see that kind of talent up north. You could say the same for football, too.
He contends that basketball in Central Indiana really doesn't draw all that well anymore, unless it's a big rivalry game like Fishers-Hamilton Southeastern or Carmel-Hamilton Southeastern, or Noblesville-Hamilton Southeastern in Hamilton County – all teams that are in Sectional 8 and are being hosted this year by Noblesville at The Mill.
The Fishers-HSE rivalry and the Carmel-HSE rivalry in the regular season creates a great deal of interest and certainly packs the venues for basketball, for sure.
Of course, there are some smaller schools that really support their teams – maybe even more so when it comes to boys and girls basketball games in smaller towns or areas.
* * *
FROM A READER on shot clocks: “Allowing a shot clock in high school basketball would be detrimental to the game that all Hoosiers hold sacred. There is a lot of value to playing disciplined basketball. It forces defenses to tighten up and fight for position. It forces offenses to get creative with screens, picks and good ball movement. The last thing I want to see is high school basketball to become a subdivision of the NBAs’ D-League. Keep high school basketball pure.”
* * *
THE CAPTION under the Hamilton Heights photo on Thursday’s Times sports page referred to Heights’ Gus Etchison as a Mr. Basketball candidate. He may play like one now . . . but we’ll have to wait until next season to find out. Only seniors qualify . . . and Gus is a junior this season. Also, a big thank you to Bob Cross for supplying us with some Hamilton Heights basketball photos. Much appreciated!