Username or Email Address
Posted On: 11/18/15 6:45 PM
With the start of the high school season, we look to dive into the possible candidates for the Mr. Basketball Award in Indiana. Since 2006, seven of the ten winner have been drafted by NBA teams. Of those three others, Bloomington South’s Jordan Hulls went undrafted and Hamilton Southeastern’s Zak Irvin and Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan are still in college. This prestigious award is always a difficult choice with the amount of talent in the state every year.
This year is no different and maybe even more than the past few. There are no really dominant teams at the top levels and that evens the playing field even more. Players from all over the state should vie for this opportunity. Guys like Dru Smith down in Evansville or Damien Jefferson up in East Chicago. As always, there are tons of options in the central part of the state with C.J. Walker, Eron Gordon, Kyle Guy, and Joey Brunk near the top of the list.
This season will be difficult to predict but we breakdown some of the key factors of each player we think has an early shot this year. We continue with Dru Smith of Evansville Reitz.
Maybe nobody had a bigger emergence than Evansville Reitz's entire team, most notably Dru Smith. The lone junior in a sea full of seniors was still able to make his presence felt and he did it on both ends of the floor. At 6'2 and with his length, Smith's defensive ability shined in their game against Southport and again in the postseason. Dru is as great of a kid as you will meet and all he does is find ways to win. He plays with toughness and energy and does this better than almost anyone else in the state right now. He's one of the few players out of the Indianapolis area with a legit shot to win the Mr. Basketball award. He won't have the backing of his team this year as they graduated almost everyone with extensive minutes but they still have pieces to have a pretty solid season.
Personality can do a lot for you and last year a lot of people got to see Dru's. While he might not have the platform he had as a Junior, he will be much more a part of the offense and that will be a new aspect that he can add to his game. He isn't as offensively gifted as they other guys but he'll get his chance this time around. Also, he's probably the best defensive player in the state. There aren't many more in the state that can do what he can. The schedule is also a bit better than last year as they play outside of the Evansville area more and have just as many high-profile games including Terre Haute South, New Albany, and Southport.
Smith can still have some trouble with his location and also because his team isn't going to be quite as good as it was last year. He doesn't have a ton of opportunities in front of big audiences outside of Evansville, more than last year but not a ton. He's going to have to make the most out of his opportunities. Also, Reitz isn't going to be look at as a State Title contender and that won't draw some of the attention he could use. And, because his offense isn't as big of a part of his game like it is for the other contenders, he isn't going to be flashy when you read his stat lines in the papers.