The last two IndyStar Mr. Basketball winners — Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian’s Caleb Furst in 2021 and Westfield’s Braden Smith last year — now play at Purdue. In fact, the finalists for both years are too. Silver Creek’s Trey Kaufman-Renn was second to Furst and Homestead’s Fletcher Loyer was second to Smith.
This race could potentially continue this season. One of the names to watch for the state’s highest award is Myles Colvin of Heritage Christian, a Purdue signatory. This is a deep upper class. Here are five names that I think will top the list for Mr. Basketball, followed by five more that I think have a chance:
2023 recruitment ranking:IndyStar’s Top 25 Senior Players
IndyStar Pre-Season Super Team:Get to know the best Central Indiana players
Xavier Booker, Cathedral
The 6-11 Booker, a rookie from Michigan State, is considered one of the best players in the country and is sure to be in the discussion as one of Mr. Basketball’s favorites, especially after winning a championship. Class 4A State as a junior. . Booker averaged 12.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocked shots and 1.4 assists per game and shot 35.6 percent (36 for 101) from the 3-point line last season. He probably won’t score 20 points per game because of the other talented players on the Cathedral roster, but he played his best basketball last season in the Cathedral tournament.
Markus Burton, Penn
The last Mr. Basketball to sign with Notre Dame? It was Washington’s Luke Zeller in 2005. Burton’s 5-10 could potentially end the streak. He was a starting junior star player last year after averaging 26.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game for Penn, who went 24-3 and played in a Class 4A regional final. Burton shot 45.7 percent (43 for 94) from the 3-point line. He already has 1,364 career points and set Penn’s single-season scoring record last year. Penn is going to have a good team and Burton will get the support of the Kingsmen to make a tournament.
Myles Colvin, Heritage Christian
If you watch the 6-5 Colvin play enough, you can easily argue that he’s the best player in the class. The Purdue rookie averaged 18.4 points per game as a junior and was named one of six senior junior stars. On the day of the signing, Purdue coach Matt Painter called him the best player in the state and top 25 national player. Key to Colvin’s chances will be Heritage Christian who will improve on their 12-12 record from last year. The Eagles achieved a Class 2A sectional championship last season in 2A, but are now in a 3A section with the likes of Brebeuf Jesuit, Guerin Catholic and Bishop Chatard.
Logan Imes, Zionsville
The 6-4 Imes, a rookie from Penn State, was playing as one of the best players in the state at the start of last season as Zionsville got off to an 8-0 start and was ranked No. State. A sprained ankle slowed Imes and the Eagles, who finished 14-8 and lost in the first round of the section to Noblesville. But Imes had a strong junior season overall, averaging 17.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Zionsville has an extremely tough schedule, starting with Carmel and Ben Davis and arguably the toughest section in the state, but Imes also has a chance to face several other top players.
Joey Hart, Linton Stockton
Central Florida’s 6-4 commitment is capable of racking up huge numbers this season and will play on a team that will be one of the favorites to make a deep tournament in Class 2A. The Miners were 22-5 last season and won a sectional championship, but lost by three points in the area to eventual state champion Providence. Hart averaged 20.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and was effective 42.2 percent from the 3-point line.
Five more to watch
If Mr. Basketball doesn’t come from the list above, here are five other names that I think could make their way into the discussion:
Sam Orme, Carmel: The 6-8 Orme, a commitment from Belmont, is by far the most experienced and productive player returning from a Carmel team that was 18-6 a year ago. Orme is expected to improve his shooting by 31.6 percent (37 for 117) from the 3-point line. He will clearly be the Greyhounds’ go-to player on the offensive side.
JQ Roberts, North Bloomington: Vanderbilt’s 6-8 commitment averaged 14.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game as a junior to lead Bloomington North to a 24-4 record and one semi-final appearance. Class 4A state. Roberts shot 30 for 80 (37.5%) from the 3-point line and is one of the best inside/outside players in the state. Three of Bloomington North’s top four scorers have gone to graduation, which will put more on Roberts’ plate.
Jaron Tibbs, Cathedral: Sure, the 6-5 Tibbs is a Purdue football commitment, but he could also be a Division I basketball player. He averaged 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game this season last to help the Irish win a Class 4A state championship and often protects the other team’s best player. As stated with Booker above, he won’t average huge scores due to the balanced nature of his team.
Zane Doughty/Sheridan Sharp, Ben Davis: Ben Davis is going to be one of the best 4A teams in the state – arguably the favorite to win the state championship and possibly the deepest. But even if the Giants win a state title, it will likely be more about balance and depth than any player who takes them there. The 6-8 Doughty averaged 11.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots per game last season and the 6-2 Sharp averaged 9.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Five additional jokers: Joey Brown, North Central; Ahmere Carson, Anderson; Jermaine Coleman, Park Tudor; Mason Jones, Valparaíso; Ashton Williamson, Gary21st Century
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.