Is this year’s IndyStar Indiana Mr. Basketball still playing in the tournament?
Indiana All-Star Games director Charlie Hall believes this year’s Mr. Basketball race may be more of a split vote than in recent seasons.
“A lot of years you maybe have a two-man race and it’s pretty clear who they are,” Hall said, referencing last year when Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris edged Park Tudor’s Yogi Ferrell. “But I think it could be more of a four- or five-man race this year.
“If somebody does something in the next two weeks that is really visible, that could sway the vote.”
Who should win IndyStar Mr. Basketball? For video highlights and to cast a vote, go to www.indystar.com/sports. Fort Wayne Northrop’s Bryson Scott was leading Demetrius Jackson of Mishawaka Marian.
Voting for Mr. Basketball will open next week with ballots sent to high school coaches and media. Fans will also have a chance to be a part of the process as well this year in an online vote conducted by the All-Star games. The player who receives the most votes online will be awarded one vote toward the final tally.
Though there is no specific list of final candidates — every basketball-playing senior in the state at an Indiana High School Athletic Association member school is eligible — here is a look at a few names that will earn some mention:
Zak Irvin, Hamilton Southeastern
Pros: The 6-7 Michigan recruit averaged 24.6 points and 9.0 rebounds as a senior, leading HSE to a 17-4 record. The Royals were 59-11 in his three years as a starter against a schedule ranked in the top-10 every year. He finished with 1,239 points (18.8 ppg), 402 rebounds (6.1), 164 assists (2.5) and 105 steals (1.6).
Cons: HSE did not make it out of its sectional the last two years. Former teammate Gary Harris won Mr. Basketball last year; will voters shy away from a player from the same school two years in a row?
Demetrius Jackson, Mishawaka Marian
Pros: The 6-1 Notre Dame recruit was on the only in-state player selected to the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game. Jackson averaged 26.8 points as a senior and finished just short of 2,000 points for his career. He led Marian to its first regional championship in school history as a junior and to three consecutive winning seasons for the first time in more than a decade.
Cons: Although he has long been considered one of the state’s top players, Jackson hasn’t been seen as often as some of the others on the list due to location and schedule. A deeper run in the tourney this year could have helped.
Mike Crawford, Tipton
Pros: The 6-5 shooting guard is riding some serious momentum going into the Class 2A semistate game against Gary Bowman this weekend. The St. Louis recruit scored 26 points, including the game-winning tip-in at the buzzer, in the regional championship against Wapahani. He is Tipton’s all-time leading scorer with 2,064 points and has possibly two more games to make an impression. Crawford is averaging 27.2 points and 8.6 rebounds this season.
Cons: Crawford’s name hasn’t generated much Mr. Basketball buzz until recently. The only other Mr. Basketball from a 2A school in the 15 years of class basketball was Deshaun Thomas of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in 2010.
Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne Northrop
Pros: The 6-2 Purdue recruit averaged 23.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.9 steals as a senior, leading Northrop to its third consecutive sectional championship. Scott finished his high school career with 2,042 points to tie for 33rd on the state’s all-time list. He shot an astounding 739 free throws in four years, an average of nearly eight per game.
Cons: His teams won 70 games in four years but never advanced beyond the regional. He also wasn’t selected as one of the core six juniors last year by the state’s coaches.
There are others out there who could benefit from a strong finish, names such as Jeffersonville’s Darryl Baker, Cathedral’s Collin Hartman and Carmel’s Michael Volovic. Others, such as New Haven’s V.J. Beachem and Warren Central’s Devin Davis, are done for the tournament but could also get votes.
“If Luke Zeller doesn’t hit the halfcourt shot for Washington (in the Class 3A state championship game vs. Plymouth), he probably doesn’t win Mr. Basketball,” Hall said. “The whole state saw it. You never know when something like that can happen.”