See which 13 players made this year’s boys basketball Indiana All-Stars squad.
Matthew Glenesk / IndyStar
IndyStar Indiana All-Star game director Charlie Hall believes this year’s Indiana All-Star boys roster is fitting of the current preferred style of basketball.
The 13-member All-Star team has plenty of size — maybe as much as any team in recent years — but also plenty of versatility. The same can be said of the backcourt.
“Basketball seems to be going to more of a ‘position-less’ approach and I think that is kind of what we have with this team,” said Hall, in his ninth year as director. “It’s kind of the way of the world now in basketball and I think this team reflects that to some degree.”
The team is led by the four finalists for IndyStar Mr. Basketball presented by the Indiana Pacers: Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese (committed to Butler), Castle’s Jack Nunge (Iowa), North Central’s Kris Wilkes (UCLA) and Fort Wayne Snider’s Malik Williams (Louisville). The Mr. Basketball winner will be announced at the Indiana Sports Awards banquet on April 27.
The Indiana All-Stars will play exhibition games against the Junior All-Stars on June 6 at New Albany and on June 8 at Plainfield. The games against the Kentucky All-Stars are set for June 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and June 11 at a still-to-be-determined location in Kentucky.
There are five other Indiana All-Stars committed to in-state college programs, including Purdue recruit and 6-4 Crown Point guard Sasha Stefanovic. Others are 6-6 Hamilton Southeastern forward Zach Gunn (Ball State), 6-3 Warsaw guard Kyle Mangas and 6-6 Connersville forward Grant Smith (both Indiana Wesleyan) and 6-1 Terre Haute South guard Jaylen Minnett (IUPUI).
Other local players selected to the team by Hall are Warren Central 6-2 guard Mack Smith (Eastern Illinois) and Mt. Vernon 6-2 guard Michael Ertel (Louisiana-Monroe). Rounding out the team are 6-10 Fort Wayne North Side forward Jaylen Butz (DePaul) and 6-4 East Chicago Central guard Jermaine Couisnard (undecided).
Fort Wayne Carroll’s Marty Beasley will coach the All-Stars. Beasley will be assisted by Connersville’s Kerry Brown and Culver Academy’s Mark Galloway.
Hall hasn’t necessarily changed the process for selecting the Indiana All-Stars but said he was more diligent this year about making sure players would attend the week’s events. Last year, just eight boys All-Stars played in the game at Kentucky. Indiana held off a furious rally by Kentucky for a 99-96 win, its 16th consecutive victory in the series.
The biggest issue facing Hall is aligning the All-Stars’ schedules with their colleges. Last year, Mr. Basketball Kyle Guy and runner-up C.J. Walker left for school at Virginia and Florida State, respectively, the day after the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. There was also a graduation, an injury and one player who didn’t attend all week due to his college schedule.
“We’ve tried to be a little more proactive,” Hall said. “While I can’t guarantee 100 percent attendance, I feel good about it. If we can get 25 out of 26 (girls and boys), we’re not going to change anything. If it gets to 22 or 23, that’s when you start having a problem. You’re going to have some things come up during the week that are unavoidable. But we’re definitely more proactive this year.”
Here’s a closer look at all of the 13 Indiana All-Stars:
Jaylen Butz, Fort Wayne North Side: The 6-10 Butz led North Side to the Class 4A state finals as he averaged 17.2 points and 12.6 rebounds as a senior. College: DePaul.
Jermaine Couisnard, East Chicago Central: The 6-3 guard averaged 28 points per game to lead East Chicago Central to the Class 4A regional semifinals. He’s picking up interest from several major Division I programs. College: undecided.
Michael Ertel, Mt. Vernon: The 6-2 Ertel averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a senior to lead Mt. Vernon to a 14-9 record. He scored 1,282 career points to rank second in school history. College: Louisiana-Monroe.
Zach Gunn, Hamilton Southeastern: The 6-6 Gunn averaged 21.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots as a senior. Gunn finished as HSE’s all-time leading scorer (1,660 points) and rebounder (791). College: Ball State.
Kyle Mangas, Warsaw: The 6-3 Mangas averaged 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior to lead Warsaw to an 18-10 record and a regional championship appearance. Mangas scored 1,450 career points. College: Indiana Wesleyan.
Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese finished his prep career No. 7 on the state’s all-time scoring list. (Photo: Matt Kryger/IndyStar)
Jaylen Minnett, Terre Haute South: The high-scoring 6-1 guard averaged 26 points and 2.9 assists per game and set the school’s all-time scoring record with 1,782 career points. College: IUPUI.
Cooper Neese, Cloverdale: The 6-4 Neese averaged 27.2 points and 9.5 rebounds as a senior and shot 118-for-309 (38.2) percent from the 3-point line. He led the Clovers to three consecutive sectional titles and finished seventh in state history with 2,496 points. College: Butler.
Jack Nunge, Castle: The 6-10 Nunge led Castle to a 24-4 record and Class 4A semistate appearance, averaging 22.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots as a senior. He was 37-for-100 from the 3-point line and finished his career with 1,376 points. College: Iowa.
Grant Smith, Connersville: The 6-6 Smith led Connersville to a memorable run, winning back-to-back sectional titles and a 27-2 record as a senior. Smith averaged 18.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season. College: Indiana Wesleyan.
• DOYEL: Indiana basketball not just about the team — but the town
Mack Smith, Warren Central: The 6-2 Smith led Warren Central to a 21-3 record and a No. 1 state ranking. Smith averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and shot 44 percent from the 3-point line. College: Eastern Illinois.
Sasha Stefanovic, Crown Point: The 6-4 Stefanovic led Crown Point to a 22-4 record as a senior as he averaged 19.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. He set the school’s career scoring record with 1,385 points. College: Purdue.
MORE: Purdue adds Crown Point’s Sasha Stefanovic
Kris Wilkes, North Central: The 6-7 Wilkes, a McDonald’s All American, averaged 22.1 points and 7.0 rebounds as a senior and shot 39.3 percent (39-for-99) from the 3-point line. The two-time Marion County Player of the Year finished his career with 1,831 points. College: UCLA.
Malik Williams, Fort Wayne Snider: The 7-foot Williams led Snider to a 17-7 record, averaging 21.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots as a senior. College: Louisville.
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
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