With four teams from Indiana ranked in the men’s basketball preseason top 25, the Hoosier State figures to have its fingerprints all over the 2015-16 season.
And that impact goes beyond teams playing just within the state’s borders. More than 150 players who are either from Indiana or played high school basketball in the state are on Division I rosters this season. And some of those are among the best players in the nation. Heck, two players off last year’s IndyStar All-Indiana College Basketball team were drafted in the first round (Trey Lyles and R.J. Hunter).
So who made the cut this year?
Also, be sure to check out our searchable database, where you can find all the players from the state on D-I rosters.
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana, Sr. (Indianapolis/Park Tudor)
Back for his senior year, Ferrell has a chance to leave Bloomington as one of the program’s all-time leaders in points and assists. A first team All-Big Ten selection a season ago, Ferrell finished sixth in the conference in scoring (16.3), fourth in assists (4.9) and should be in the mix for Big Ten Player of the Year.
Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame, Jr. (Mishawaka/Mishawaka Marian)
The show is his with Jerian Grant now in the NBA. Jackson averaged 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists for last year’s Elite Eight squad and is already garnering attention as a potential NBA lottery pick.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, Sr. (Indianapolis/North Central, Oak Hill Academy – Va.)
A rugged, versatile scorer, Smith-Rivera was first-team All-Big East a season ago, averaging 16.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. Already with 1,386 career points, another strong season would put DSR among Georgetown’s top five all-time scorers, alongside the likes of Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing.
Rapheal Davis, Purdue, Sr. (Fort Wayne/La Lumiere)
The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Davis is the unquestioned leader of the Boilers and his hard-nosed game typifies Purdue’s brand of basketball. And he’s more than just defense. Davis averaged career highs in points (10.7), rebounds (4.4) and assists (2.6) a season ago and may have to assume more ball handling responsibilities this season.
A.J. Hammons, Purdue, Sr. (Gary/Carmel, Oak Hill Academy — Va.)
Not off to the best start to his senior season, Hammons has missed scrimmages and now an exhibition game for what Matt Painter calls “an issue he was to take care of.” Hammons has long provided frustration for Boilers fans, but he’s also brought elation. There aren’t too many 7-footers in the game as gifted as Hammonsb. He led Purdue in scoring (11.9) and rebounding (6.6) last season, and his 2.9 blocks per game were best in the Big Ten – by a full block.
D.J. Balentine, Evansville, Sr. (Kokomo/Kokomo) – You could make the argument he belongs on the first team, but such is the depth of talent the state produces. The two-time reigning scoring champ in the Missouri Valley Conference, Balentine led the Purple Aces to a 24-win season, capped by a CIT championship in which he won MVP honors, scoring 27.2 points in the tournament’s five contests.
James Blackmon, Indiana, So. (Marion/Marion) – Back after offseason meniscus surgery, Blackmon averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, both second best for the Hoosiers. He was sixth among all freshmen in the country in scoring a year ago, and should form one of the nation’s top backcourts alongside Ferrell.
Kellen Dunham, Butler, Sr. (Pendleton/Pendleton Heights) – Dunham finished third in the Big East last year in scoring (16.5 points per game) and improved his three-point percentage from 35 to 41 percent, a big deal considering few shot more threes than this first-team All-Big East selection. He starts the season behind Bobby Plump on the school’s all-time scoring list and could flirt with becoming Butler’s just third 2,000-point scorer.
Zak Irvin, Michigan, Jr. (Fishers/Hamilton Southeastern) – On a Michigan team decimated by injury, the 2013 IndyStar Mr. Basketball was the only Wolverine to start all 32 games a year ago. Aside from Caris Levert, who missed 24 games to injury, Irvin was the team’s leader in scoring (14.3) and rebounding (4.8).
Nic Moore, SMU, Sr. (Winona Lake/Warsaw) – Unfortunately for Moore, his career won’t end in the NCAA tournament due to sanctions levied on SMU. The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year finished last season fourth in the AAC in scoring (14.5) and second in assists (5.1).
Eron Harris, Michigan State, Jr. (Indianapolis/Lawrence North) – Tabbed as one of the nation’s most impactful transfers ahead of this season, Harris sat out last year after scoring 17.2 points a game for West Virginia in 2013. An offseason DUI brought a suspension, but he’s expected to be a key part of a potentially dynamic Michigan State backcourt.
Taishaun Johnson, South Alabama, So. (Indianapolis/Pike) – Former Butler assistant Matthew Graves, now at South Alabama, dipped into his Indianapolis-background to land Johnson. The former Pike standout started 25 times as a freshman and set a school freshman record for points scored. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists a game.
Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern (Greensburg/Greensburg) – McIntosh chose Northwestern over Purdue for a chance at immediate playing time. Matt Painter’s loss is Chris Collins’ gain as McIntosh averaged 11.4 points and 4.7 assists as a freshman last season. His 150 assists were third most in school history and he was one of just four major conference freshmen to average 11.0 points and 4.5 assists a game. Two of those four were first round picks in the 2015 NBA Draft (D’Angelo Russell and Tyus Jones).
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, So. (Indianapolis/Park Tudor) – Xavier’s leading returning scorer (11.2 points), Bluiett was a unanimous Big East All-Rookie team selection. He struggled late in the season, but was still among the best players on a Sweet Sixteen team.
Alex Olah, Northwestern, Sr. (Timisoara, Romania/Traders Point Christian) – A bit of a surprise here, but Olah was quietly an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, ranking second in the league in blocks (1.8, behind only A.J. Hammons) and fourth in rebounds (6.9).
Jaylin Airington, CSU-Bakersfield, Jr. (East Chicago/Bowman Academy) – Started 26 games last season, averaging 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds a game for the Roadrunners.
Spike Albrecht, Michigan, Sr. (Crown Point/Crown Point) – He’s played more than 100 career games for the Wolverines and averaged career highs in points (7.5) and assists (3.9) last season.
Mike Crawford, Saint Louis, Jr. (Tipton) – A smooth shooter, Crawford was third on the Billikens in scoring (7.3 points) despite starting just one game a season ago. An expected starter this year for Jim Crews, Crawford is poised for a breakout season.
Mo Evans, IPFW, Jr. (Indianapolis/Cathedral) – A preseason All-Summit League selection, Evans averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 31 starts for the Mastodons.
Collin Hartman, Indiana, Jr. (Indianapolis/Cathedral) – A big help on IU’s paper thin frontcourt a season ago, Hartman started 20 games a season ago. He figures to be a key reserve for the Hoosiers this year.
Jeremy Hollowell, Georgia State, Jr. (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) – A transfer from IU, Hollowell sat out last season, but should be a key contributor as Ron Hunter tries to replace the production of his son and first round draft pick, R.J. Hunter.
Franko House, Ball State, Jr. (Elkhart/Concord) – Among the top three on the team in scoring (10.3), rebounds (5.5) and assists (2.4), House scored in double figures in 14 of Ball State’s 18 conference games.
Ronnie Johnson, Houston, Jr. (Indianapolis/North Central) – Johnson linked up with former IU coach Kelvin Sampson after transferring from Purdue. He averaged 10.8 points and 3.7 assists a game for the Boilers in 2013 and projects as the Cougars’ starting point guard.
Jeremiah Jones, Duquesne, Sr. (Gary/Merrillville) – Has started 72 straight games for the Dukes and finished last season with a well-rounded 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists a game.
Max Landis, IPFW, Sr. (Indianapolis/Perry Meridian) – Landis started 19 games for the Mastodons, averaging 9.3 points last season. He scored 46 points in a three-day stretch (Feb. 5-7) in two IPFW conference wins over Oral Roberts and South Dakota State.
Sam Logwood, New Mexico, So. (Indianapolis/La Lumiere) – As a freshman, Logwood started the Lobos’ final 16 games, averaging more than 20 minutes, 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds a game.
Austin Price, Lehigh, Jr. (Indianapolis/Detroit Country Day) – Started 28 games, scoring in double figures 21 times. He finished the year second on the team in scoring (11.4), while adding 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game.
Brenton Scott, Indiana State, So. (Fort Wayne/Fort Wayne Northrop) – Less heralded out of high school than twin Bryson, who has since transferred from Purdue, Scott finished last season as the Sycamores’ second-leading scorer (11.4 ppg) and was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year.
Sean Sellers, Ball State, So. (Greensburg/Greensburg) – Another conference Freshman of the Year, this time in the Mid-American Conference. Sellers tied with fellow freshman Jeremie Tyler for the team scoring lead.
Blake Simmons, Evansville, Jr. (Newburgh/Castle) – He and D.J. Balentine were the only Purple Aces to start every game last year. His scoring dropped from 9.3 to 7.3 from his freshman to sophomore season, though he did improve his field goal percentage from 40 to 46 percent.
Khristian Smith, Indiana State, Sr. (Indianapolis/Pike) – The Sycamores’ No. 3 scorer (10.5 ppg) and No. 2 rebounder (4.5 rpg) a year ago, Smith started 30 games after winning the Missouri Valley’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2013.
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, Fr. (Fort Wayne/Homestead) – A 2015 McDonald’s All American, Swanigan is the first IndyStar Mr. Basketball to pick Purdue since Glenn Robinson. Swanigan will add to an already imposing Boilers front line with A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas.
Ryan Taylor, Marshall, Jr. (Indianapolis/Lawrence North) – Last season, Taylor averaged 14.1 points, was second in Conference USA with 8.6 rebounds a game and led the league with 14 double-doubles.
Jeremie Tyler, Ball State, So. (Indianapolis/Tech) – Tyler went straight into the starting lineup as part of the Cardinals’ youth movement, averaging 12.0 points a game, but academics cost him the second semester.
Tyler Wideman, Butler, So. (Schererville/Lake Central) – He only played 10.9 minutes a game for the Bulldogs last season with modest returns (2.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg), but Kameron Woods’ graduation creates a big opportunity for Wideman, who played in all 34 Butler games as a freshman.
Dre Wills, Vermont, Jr. (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) – A defensive standout, Wills is one of three Indiana products on the Catamounts’ roster. Last season, he was a second team All-America East selection after averaging 9.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He led Vermont in rebounds and steals and was second in scoring.
J.T. Yoho, Wright State, Sr. (Bloomfield/Eastern Greene) – Yoho missed 12 of the final 13 games last season with a knee injury, but the second-team preseason All-Horizon League selection averaged 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 16 games a year ago.