HS sports mailbag: Who is Indiana team to beat locally in basketball next year?

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HS sports mailbag: Who is Indiana team to beat locally in basketball next year?

Boys Basketball

HS sports mailbag: Who is Indiana team to beat locally in basketball next year?

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Had a couple mailbag questions and another note or two to pass along. We will start with the mailbag questions:

From @BlackRoseGrad98: Is Lawrence Central the early basketball favorite in Marion County in Class 4A with the big two returning players? Or does someone else intrigue you?

Yes, I have Lawrence Central as the top returning team for next season in our preseason Fab 15 (which is Central Indiana only) and, probably, also as the top team in the state (though there are others that will have a say, like Bloomington South).

Lawrence Central will return Nijel Pack and Dre Davis, two of the top-five players in the state and legitimate IndyStar Mr. Basketball contenders, along with some other promising players like senior-to-be P.J. Edwards and sophomore-to-be D’Ante Davis. The Bears will certainly miss starters Jake LaRavia, Wesley Jordan and Xavier Delreal, but no other team has a returning duo like Lawrence Central.

A more intriguing question: How will it will shake out right behind Lawrence Central in the preseason Fab 15? A few contenders:

Lawrence North: Top scorer Jared Hankins is off to Indiana State, but a solid core returns led by senior-to-be Tony Perkins (15.9 ppg), junior-to-be D.J. Hughes (8.4 ppg, 6.5 rebounds) and junior-to-be Shamar Avance (7.6 ppg, 2.0 assists) from a 17-7 team.

Hamilton Southeastern: The Royals also lose a pair of key veterans in Aaron Etherington and Noah Smith, but will have seniors Chris Grubbs (12.0 ppg, 7.1 rebounds) and Mabor Majak (8.4 ppg, 5.7 rebounds) to build around after a 16-9 season.

Brownsburg: Another team that will miss some key players to graduation like Cameron Alford and Reis Thomas. But the Bulldogs have good size and experience coming back with junior-to-be Pierce Thomas (9.4 ppg, 4.5 rebounds) and senior-to-be Malek Edmonds (10.5 ppg, 4.7 rebounds) among the key returnees.

Food for thought. We will see how some of these teams look in June.

Kevin Eckstein‏ @Kevineckstein: What are you hearing about the Bishop Chatard basketball opening?

Expect a hire to be made next week. A name that continues to surface is Taylor Wayer, a 2010 Chatard graduate. Wayer, who went on to walk on at Indiana, has been training high school and college players in recent years and coaching at the grassroots level.

Chatard and Noblesville are the two local boys basketball coaching jobs still open. Former Avon assistant Luke Meredith was hired at Greenfield-Central and Josh Burkett has been hired at Western Boone. Burkett, a former Kokomo assistant, coached at Lewis Cass the past two seasons.

>> Fishers sophomore guard Katie Burton is one of 156 athletes expected to participate in the USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team trials from May 23-27 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The 5-9 Burton averaged 13.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season for the Tigers.

Homestead 6-3 freshman Ayanna Patterson is another in-state prospect competing for a spot on the 12-player roster, which will compete in the U16 FIBA Americas Championship from June 16-22 in Chile.

More on Patterson: Indiana girls basketball’s next big thing has ‘only begun to scratch the surface’

North Harrison freshman Diana Burgher, South Bend Washington freshman Mila Reynolds and South Bend eighth-grader Amiyah Reynolds are also on the tryout roster.

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