All posts by Daniel Allar

Harrison’s Everett Duncan receives scholarship offer from Vermont

Everett Duncan, a rising senior at Harrison High School, has received a scholarship offer from the University of Vermont’s basketball program, according to this tweet from Duncan’s AAU program.

Duncan, a 6-foot-6 wing, averaged 16.3 points for the Warriors last season. Everett’s brother, Ernie, will begin his freshman season with the Catamounts this fall. Based on Ernie’s congratulatory tweet, Vermont was the first program to offer Everett a scholarship.

https://twitter.com/EM_D20/status/476770231139176448

 

UE among basketball programs interested in Memorial’s Sherwood

Memorial High School junior Stephanie Sherwood is receiving interest from several Division I basketball programs, though none have offered scholarships.

By phone Thursday night, the 5-foot-9 guard/forward said she is receiving interest from Evansville, Drake, University of Pennsylvania and Bowling Green State.

Sherwood averaged 17.9 points during her junior season and was named to the Courier & Press all-metro first team.

The Aces already have a former Memorial standout on their roster. Mallory Ladd, a 6-foot-1 forward, recently completed a junior season in which she posted 12 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, earning honorable mention all-Missouri Valley Conference honors.

IHSAA not interested in shot clock

Prior to coming to Evansville in February, I worked in North Dakota for about two years. Early in my tenure there, the state adopted a shot clock for high school basketball.

Several other states use a shot clock as well (California, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington). The Indiana High School Athletic Association has no interest in implementing a shot clock, as I learned through email communication with IHSAA spokeman Jason Wille earlier this week.

The two major pros of the shot clock:

1) It ends “stall ball,” where teams attempt to hold the ball for minutes at a time without attempting a shot, usually at the end of quarters. This makes games more exciting for fans, and losing teams can likely wait longer before starting to foul at the end of games (because they know the other team has to attempt a shot within a set period of time).

2) It helps athletes prepare for the college level, where they have to be aware of the shot clock. It also fosters the ability for a player to create his own shot late in the clock, a skill college programs covet.

The cons that Wille mentioned:

1) Implementing the shot clock costs money for already budget-strapped schools, both to purchase the equipment and to add a shot-clock operator for each contest.

2) Indiana follows the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). If Indiana adopted a shot clock and deviated from NFHS rules, Indiana would lose its seat at the table on the national rules committee for high school basketball.

This latter con is particularly important. Wille described a spot on the national rules committee as “an important privilege,” and it would certainly be odd if a basketball-mad state like Indiana didn’t have a say in future rule changes at the high school level.

The logical conclusion is that a shot clock would lead to more fan-friendly, high-scoring games. But a statistical analysis released by Maxpreps.com in January found that scoring averages were actually slightly higher for states without shot clocks.

Of course, other factors played into this as well, such as Minnesota (the highest-scoring state) playing two 18-minute halves, which adds four minutes of game time compared to the national standard of four 8-minute quarters.

For those against “stall ball,” two halves rather than four quarters could also be a positive rule change, as it would remove two opportunities for teams to milk the clock in search of the final shot in a period.

What do you think? Should the IHSAA pursue a shot clock and/or implement two halves rather than four quarters?

South Spencer’s speed a dangerous weapon

An astute observation from South Spencer’s 3-0 win Tuesday over Castle: The Rebels have some fast baseball players.

And while hand-eye coordination and arm strength are often cited as the most important physical tools in the sport, it doesn’t hurt to have good wheels.

The Rebels (5-0), the defending Class 2A state champ and the top-ranked team in that class this season, have a few guys who can flat-out move.

In Tuesday’s game, sophomore leadoff Kobe Stephens beat out a well-placed bunt down the third-base line — after stumbling and falling over while leaving the batter’s box. That speed translated to the field as well, where Stephens easily tracked down three shallow fly balls that could’ve been bloop singles against slower shortstops.

Left fielder Isaac Rowan legged out two infield singles and covered plenty of ground on fly balls hit in his direction, getting under the pop-ups to record easy outs.

“We do have quite a bit of speed in a lot of places,” Rebels coach Brian Kuester said. “You can’t substitute for speed. When you have speed, you can overcome some mistakes and make some plays that others can’t.”

Area basketball tidbits

It’s supposedly spring sports season, but basketball never quite ceases in Indiana.

Today, there were three notable developments regarding local and state high school hoops. Here’s the rundown:

— Kentucky-bound Trey Lyles of Indianapolis Tech was named Mr. Basketball. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 23.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.4 blocks and shot 58 percent from the floor during his senior season. He received 117 Mr. Basketball votes, followed by Park Tudor’s Trevon Bluiett (108) and Marion’s James Blackmon Jr. (95).

The full story on Lyles from the Indianapolis Star can be found here.

— Revised rosters for the 26th annual North-South All-Star Classic were released. The girls and boys games, which will feature some of the state’s top senior players, will take place at Vincennes University on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. CDT, respectively.

Local girls competitors (who will all play on the south squad) include: Mater Dei’s Maura Muensterman, North Knox’s Maria Gugliotta, Washington’s Ally Hunsinger and Vincennes Rivet’s Bailey Dreiman and Lauren Herman.

Ms. Basketball Whitney Jennings of Logansport will play on the north squad. Here is the full press release with complete rosters for both sides.

— Mater Dei’s Steve Goans and Washington’s Gretchen Miles were named the District 3 girls’ basketball coaches of the year by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

Goans led Mater Dei to a 26-2 record and a runner-up finish in Class 3A. Miles led Washington to a 17-4 mark.

Lyle knocks down game-winner in national HS tourney

Thursday afternoon, former Bosse High School boys’ basketball standout JaQuan Lyle drained a game-winning 3-pointer on national television, giving his fifth-ranked Huntington Prep (W.Va.) squad a 65-63 victory over No. 6 La Lumiere (Ind.) in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s Sporting Good High School National Tournament.

Huntington advanced to the semifinal round, where it will play on ESPN2 Friday at 3:30 p.m. Central Time.

The senior also provided a go-ahead assist for a dunk to Thomas Bryant with 29 seconds remaining before La Lumiere went back ahead with a 3-pointer, setting the stage for his final shot. Lyle finished with 11 points, four rebounds and six assists — the type of balanced stat line that is typical for the 6-foot-5 combo guard.

Before Lyle’s brilliant final stretch, the Oregon commit didn’t look much different from anyone else on the court, which is precisely why Lyle’s decision to play his final high school season at a prep school shouldn’t be frowned upon locally.

I’ve seen some comments on our website and heard grumblings that Lyle should’ve never left Bosse, where he was a star who led the Bulldogs to the regional tournament each year. While the high school basketball in the area is solid, one can’t blame a kid for choosing to play with and against other Division I recruits in an environment more structured than the AAU circuit.

Huntington Prep plays a competitive, national schedule and Lyle also told me being away from home for a season has helped prepare him for his journey to the West Coast next this fall.

As for Lyle’s game, all the tools are there for success at the Division I level. He has great size and strength for a guard, and possesses natural play-making skills.

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com’s director of basketball recruiting who was calling Thursday’s game on ESPNU, weighed in on Lyle’s skill set:

“He’s inconsistent right now, he’s out of shape, but he has great instincts for the game. He sees the floor well but at times he can get sloppy. When he can get in shape, he can be a really good player in the Pac-12.”

Of course, another reason top prospects go to prep school is to get their academics in order. Lumecha Garrett, Lyle’s mother, told the Courier & Press on March 19 that he plans to take the SAT in April in order to earn a qualifying score.

Princeton’s Jackie Young receives invite for USA U17 tryouts

Princeton High School sophomore Jackie Young has received an invite to try out for the USA Women’s U17 World Championship basketball team, per a tweet from N.D. Kendrick — an area basketball scout and director of the Pocket City AAU basketball program.

 

Young’s invitation should come as no surprise, considering she is No. 25 in ESPN’s rankings of prospects in the class of 2016. According to this informational link from USA Basketball, approximately 35 players that meet the age requirements are expected to receive invitations. Other prospects may apply for the tryouts, with as many as 150 athletes competing for spots May 22-26 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

We’ll keep tabs on Young during these tryouts, after which the final team will be selected. The USA squad has already qualified for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, scheduled to be held in Bratislava, Slovakia, from June 28-July 6.

This season, Young averaged 28.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists in leading Princeton to a 21-1 record and the No. 1 ranking in Class 3A. She holds scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Illinois and Vanderbilt, and has garnered interest from powerhouse programs such as Tennessee, Connecticut and Stanford.

 

 

Memorial’s Eberhard garnering more college interest

Memorial High School boys’ basketball standout Adam Eberhard hasn’t received any scholarship offers, but the 6-foot-7 forward is garnering plenty of college interest.

Eberhard is averaging 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Tigers (16-6), who play Jasper (14-9) on Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT in the Class 3A Washington Regional. He has 973 career points and could pass the 1,000-point milestone Saturday, particularly if Memorial advances to the championship.

On Tuesday, Eberhard ran down a list of schools that have shown interest:

Division I — Lipscomb, Evansville, Wofford, Northeastern

Division II — Southern Indiana, Indianapolis

NAIA — Bethel (Ind.)

Eberhard, who can play in the post and on the wing, said this summer will be “huge” in terms of his recruitment and picking up scholarship offers. He plays with the Pocket City AAU program.

 

Pregame notes — Bosse vs. Memorial 3A sectional final

There hasn’t been a close game yet in the Class 3A Princeton boys’ basketball sectional. The slimmest margin of victory in the first two rounds is 14 points (Princeton beat Boonville 57-43 Tuesday in the first round).

I’d be moderately surprised if tonight’s 7 p.m. CST final wasn’t decided by single digits, though, because both Memorial (15-6) and Bosse (14-7) are playing at a high level.

A little background on how they reached the final:

— Bryson Johnson exploded for 25 points to help Bosse beat Mount Vernon 76-61, while Adam Eberhard led four Memorial scorers in double figures with 24 points as the Tigers defeated Princeton 76-56. You can read the full story from the semifinals here.

— Bosse won both regular-season meetings between the two teams, edging Memorial in overtime in December before blowing out the Tigers in the SIAC tournament in January.

Some things to watch for tonight:

— Don’t be surprised if the game turns into a track meet.

Bosse is particularly dangerous in transition and will look to push the pace when possible. Memorial is also capable in the open floor, but with four guards to handle the Bulldogs’ pressure, the Tigers could attempt to slow the tempo. Still, I expect there to be at least a few stretches when the game opens up and there is up-and-down action for both teams.

— Dasean Summers’ performance will be especially key tonight for Bosse.

The 6-foot-6 junior is the only Bulldog with the size to match up with 6-foot-7 Memorial forward Adam Eberhard, who averages a team-high 20 points per game. Summers will need to use his length to disrupt Eberhard without getting in foul trouble because the Bulldogs don’t bring any size off the bench. However, Bosse forward Bryson Johnson is capable of playing bigger than his 6-2 frame, so he could spend some time defending Eberhard — the best high school big man I’ve seen since moving to Evansville about a month ago.

— Whichever team gets hot from 3-point range could swing the game in its favor.

Obvious statement, I know, but hitting jump shots is particularly important for these teams. Both can have three or four players on the court at once that are at least threats to knock down 3-pointers. If two or three players on one team get hot simultaneously, that’ll be enough to give that squad a huge advantage.

— Perry Fairrow’s is within reach of a couple scoring milestones. Bosse’s 6-foot-1 senior guard enters the contest at 1,394 career points. He’ll likely break the 1,400-point barrier and could move onto Evansville’s top 10 career scoring list. Justin Hawkins (Day School, Class of 2005) sits in 10th with 1,411 points, so Fairrow is 18 points from passing him.

That’s all from me. Enjoy the game, folks, but not as much as this guy.

Class 3A Princeton Sectional: leftover thoughts

A few thoughts and observations from Tuesday’s first-round games at the Class 3A Princeton Sectional. Bosse blew out Gibson Southern and the host Tigers pulled away from Boonville late.

Read my story here.

— Bosse’s trapping zone defenses created complete havoc for Gibson Southern. Bosse coach Shane Burkhart said he usually prefers solid man-to-man defense, but the Bulldogs could be rewarded by continuing to go zone in the postseason.

Bosse forced 22 turnovers — including 10 during a second-quarter blitz — and turned those into easy baskets on the other end. The Bulldogs’ quickness is ideal for trapping defenses and several players displayed good anticipation in getting into passing lanes for steals and deflections.

— Boonville played awfully well for a one-win team. The Pioneers finished 1-21 after their 57-43 loss to Princeton, but flashed some talent and stuck around for most of the game against the heavily favored Tigers.

Sophomore Ryan Nance scored 16 points in the first three quarters and displayed a smooth left-handed shooting stroke and crafty moves to create shots. Senior guard Justin Beard showed capable ball-handling skills and helped Boonville get decent looks against an aggressive Princeton defense.

— I was impressed with the post presence of 6-foot-5 Princeton center Kinzer Havill, who scored a game-high 23 points on 11 made field goals.

He had good footwork and never seemed to rush his shots. The inside battle between Havill and 6-foot-6 Memorial junior Adam Eberhard on Friday should be a good one.