The Chuck Franz basketball journey started on Randolph Avenue in Clarksville and will end in New Castle — in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Franz, who led the state in scoring as a senior in 1979 and later played at Indiana University, will be the first Clarksville player to be inducted when he joins the 2013 class in March.
“It’s such a tremendous honor,” Franz said. “When they told me, I just said ‘Wow.’ For a kid from Clarksville to end up in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, it’s just incredible.”
Franz was a member of Clarksville’s back-to-back sectional championships (the first in school history) in 1978-79. He exploded on the scene as a senior, averaging 32.7 points and earning a spot on the Indiana All-Star team.
He cemented his legacy during the ’79 sectional final against New Albany, scoring 51 points and hitting the game-winning shot in overtime. That single-game performance still ranks ninth in state tournament history.
“During the game, I just got in one of those zones in the second half and felt like I couldn’t miss anything,” Franz said.
Franz finished his high school career with 1,109 points. At IU, he was a sophomore member of the 1981 national championship team, appearing in 21 games as a backup to Isiah Thomas. He started 10 games as a senior in 1984.
“I grew up wanting to go there but never thought I’d have a chance,” Franz said. “So it was a dream come true to be able to play for Coach (Bob) Knight and be on a national championship team, play with some absolutely great players. My role changed into a ball handler and defensive player, which was not a problem for me. We reached the pinnacle of college basketball.”
Franz now resides in Bloomington and has a son playing for Bloomington South.
The induction ceremony for the 14-man class is set for March 20 in Indianapolis.
“There are so many people to thank,” Franz said. “It’s a pretty cool deal.”
Games to watch
Key games on the basketball calendar this weekend include:
* Boys: Tonight, 4-A No. 15 New Albany (1-0) at Columbus East (0-0) in the Hoosier Hills Conference opener; 2-A No. 7 Clarksville (2-0) will start the defense of its Mid-Southern Conference title at Silver Creek (1-0); and North Harrison (0-1) will visit country rival 3-A No. 19 Corydon (1-0).
On Saturday, 4-A No. 16 Jeffersonville will make its belated debut at 3-A No. 2 Evansville Bosse (0-0); 2-A No. 12 Providence (1-0) will host Madison (1-0); New Albany will visit 4-A No. 9 Evansville Harrison (1-0); and Silver Creek will visit Floyd Central (0-1).
* Girls: Tonight, Jeffersonville (2-2) will host 3-A No. 9 Madison (5-0), and Providence (4-3) will travel to Salem (4-2).
On Saturday, New Albany (2-1) will visit Class 4-A No. 4 Bedford North Lawrence (4-0), Silver Creek (3-1) will journey to 3-A No. 19 Corydon (3-1), and 2-A No. 18 Eastern Pekin (4-1) will host Brownstown (1-1).
Corydon’s Bailey Lahue is ranked second in the state at 113 pounds. Other area athletes in the top 10 of their respective weight classes include Floyd Central’s Terrance Kennedy (No. 7 at 113) and Nick Ottersback (No. 9 at 220).