When Basil Smotherman wasn’t one of the 18 players selected as an Indy Star Indiana Junior All-Star a year ago, he told his father that he should have been on the team.
Dad’s message? Get to work.
The 6-7 Smotherman followed the advice, and it paid off with a strong senior season at Lawrence North. The Purdue recruit averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, leading the Wildcats to a 16-6 record, the program’s best in four years.
Smotherman was further rewarded Tuesday as one of 13 players named to the Indiana All-Star team.
“It means a lot,” he said. “That was one of my goals going into the season, along with being a good team player and working on the things I needed to do to get ready before I go to Purdue.”
This year’s team also includes Purdue recruit Bryson Scott, a 6-2 guard from Fort Wayne Northrop.
The team is selected by Indiana All-Star Games director Charlie Hall, with input from coachres, videotape and additional scouting.
Including the 6-7 Smotherman and 6-7 IndyStar Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin of Hamilton Southeastern, this year’s All-Star team is heavy on tall and versatile wing players. They include: Warren Central’s 6-6 Devin Davis, Cathedral’s 6-6 Collin Hartman, New Haven’s 6-7 V.J. Beachem, Triton’s 6-6 Clay Yeo, Tipton’s 6-5 Mike Crawford and Castle’s 6-5 Blake Simmons.
Hall said he likes the varying skill sets of those players.
“We have a lot of 6-5 to 6-7 guys who are athletic but who can all do different things,” Hall said. “We also have some pretty good size at the guard spot. I really do like the versatility of the team.”
North Central’s Darius Latham, an Indiana football recruit, was also selected, along with Munster guard Michael Schlotman, Mishawaka Marian guard Demetrius Jackson, a McDonald’s All-American; and Carmel’s Michael Volovic.
Carmel’s Scott Heady will coach the team, which plays the Kentucky All-Stars on June 14 in Louisville, Ky., and the following night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The All-Stars will also play two exhibition games against the Junior All-Stars, on June 10 and 12, at locations still to be announced.
The Junior All-Stars, led by core selections of Tech’s Trey Lyles, Park Tudor’s Trevon Bluiett, Fort Wayne Luers’ James Blackmon Jr., Evansville Bosse’s JaQuan Lyle, Greensburg’s Bryant McIntosh and Plymouth’s Mack Mercer, have already begun a little light-hearted trash talk.
“They think they can beat us, but we’ve got an advantage with our size and athleticism,” Smotherman said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Ten of the 13 All-Stars are committed to in-state schools: Smotherman and Scott have signed with Purdue; Hartman, Davis and Latham (for football) are headed to Indiana; Jackson and Beachem will play at Notre Dame; Yeo is committed to Valparaiso; Volovic will walk on at Butler; and Simmons will play for his father, Marty, at Evansville.
Irvin (Michigan), Crawford (Saint Louis) and Schlotman (William & Mary) will play out of state.
Indiana has swept Kentucky seven of the past eight years.