Kyle Mallers showed on Sunday at the Best of the Midwest tournament why he earned one of six spots on the core IndyStar Indiana Junior All-Star team last season.
Mallers, a 6-6 senior-to-be at Fort Wayne Carroll, scored a team-high 17 points as Spiece Indy Heat defeated Charlotte Court (Ky.) 91-68 in the championship game of the 17U bracket. Mallers did it in a variety of ways, scoring on 3-pointers and aggressive drives to the paint.
Recruiting: Class of 2016 basketball rankings
That versatility has the attention of several high-major and mid-major programs. Clemson watched him Sunday and Mississippi was courtside earlier in the week. Mallers has offers from a number of programs, including Akron, Ball State, Central Michigan, Evansville, Indiana State, Kent State, Mississippi and Toledo.
“I’m starting to get there,” Mallers said of narrowing down his schools of interest. “I’ve crossed off a few but the in-state schools are all still up there.”
Mallers, who averaged 12.7 points and 4.9 rebounds as a junior for a 23-4 Fort Wayne Carroll team, said he will likely take an official visit to Mississippi. There is a local connection at Ole Miss, as Carmel native Todd Abernethy is the staff’s coordinator of recruiting development.
“(Abernethy) said they like me,” Mallers said. “I need to work on some stuff to play in the SEC obviously, like getting stronger and working on my confidence from the 3-point line. It’d be good to play in a big conference, but it’s also far from home and I haven’t really met with the other players yet to know what it’s like in the locker room. I’ll have to do another visit.”
Additionally, Mallers said he’d like to take visits to Ball State, Evansville and Indiana State. He’s been to Ball State and Indiana State previously.
“Once all the (July) tournament are done and the colleges who are interested have contacted me, I’ll start lining up some visits,” he said.
Mallers, who visited Clemson, Davidson, George Mason and Richmond in June, will go into his senior season with a legitimate chance at making the Indiana All-Star team. His Carroll team loses Toledo recruit Chandler White but should again be one of Fort Wayne’s top teams.
“Making Junior All-Stars was big,” Mallers said. “Obviously it’s everybody’s dream to be an Indiana All-Star, so I’m hoping to make the team. Next year we’ll have a good chance. North Side is probably going to be our biggest threat in the area, but we’re looking forward to it.”
• Butler coach Chris Holtmann and Purdue coach Matt Painter were in attendance for the Best of the Midwest on Sunday. Park Tudor’s Jaren Jackson Jr. is a target for both programs but was held out Sunday do a foot injury.
Recruiting: Class of 2017 basketball rankings
• All four Valparaiso coaches allowed on the road for the evaluation period were front and center on Sunday at the Best of the Midwest for Brachen Hazen, a 6-8 forward from Columbia City. Hazen has set an official visit for Central Florida the weekend of Sept. 3-5.
• Morehead State offered East Chicago Central’s Jermaine Couisnard (2017) after watching him on Sunday. The 6-4 Couisnard also has offers from DePaul and New Mexico State.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
Recruiting notes: Northeastern junior Tyler Smith has two offers