Okafor to showcase All-Star skills

Okafor to showcase All-Star skills

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Okafor to showcase All-Star skills

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Joel Okafor’s junior basketball season isn’t over quite yet.

The Richmond standout will do his part to help Indiana in its annual quest to top Kentucky. Okafor has been selected as a South six member of the Indiana Junior All-Star team.

The group, picked by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, will team with the Core six of the Junior All-Stars in exhibition games in June against both Kentucky and Indiana squads.

“I’m pretty excited to play,” Okafor said.

“I just have to say thanks to my teammates and my coaches and the Richmond fans. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have this opportunity.”

Okafor, Gary Bonds (Indianapolis Scecina), Harris Brown (Indianapolis Howe), Adam Eberhard (Evansville Memorial), Brennan Gillis (Ben Davis) and Bronson Kessinger (Corydon Central) comprise the South six.

The Core six are Carmel’s Ryan Cline, Bowman Academy’s Davon Dillard, East Chicago Central’s Hyron Edwards, Penn’s Jordan Geist, Columbus North’s Josh Speidel and Brownsburg’s K.J. Walton.

The North six are Marquette Catholic’s Ryan Fazekas, Munster’s Drew Hackett, Guerin Catholic’s Matt Holba, Pendleton Heights’ Sean McDermott, Chesterton’s Chris Palombizio and Pike’s Tahjai Teague.

“It’s as big an honor as you can receive as a junior in high school in the state of Indiana playing basketball,” said RHS coach Joe Luce. “You’re recognized in the elite company of other major college prospects, guys in your class.”

Corydon Central’s Jamie Kolkmeier is the head coach for the Junior All-Star team, with Hagerstown graduate Chad Ballenger (Hamilton Heights) and Brent Keck (Perry Meridian) serving as assistant coaches.

The Junior All-Stars will play four total exhibition games — two each against the Kentucky Junior All-Stars and the senior Indiana All-Stars.

The Core six will play in all four games, with the North and South six joining them for two games each. The Indiana and Kentucky Junior All-Stars will play June 6 at Scecina High School in Indianapolis and June 7 in Lexington at a site to be determined.

The Indiana Junior All-Stars will play their senior counterparts on June 9 and June 11 at sites to be determined.

“I know some of them. I’ve played against some of them,” Okafor said. “It’s just really an honor being an All-Star.”

The Indiana and Kentucky Senior All-Stars will also play twice in June — June 13 in Lexington at Transylvania University and June 14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

“It’s part of the process of putting together a team that’s competing to win against Kentucky every year,” Luce said. “This is just step one in that.”

Okafor averaged 8.5 points per game from the guard position for the Red Devils in 2013-14, and the all-North Central Conference selection dished a team-high 6 assists a contest. He also led the Red Devils with 2.1 steals per game as Richmond finished 22-3 and won both NCC and Class 4A sectional championships.

The sectional title ended an 18-year drought for the Devils, and the NCC title was the program’s first outright conference championship since 1988.

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Luce said.

“For him to be able to get involved as a Junior All Star and to have a chance to showcase himself … it’s a great honor for him and our program.”

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