Delayed gratification for Barker

Better a quarter of a century late than never.

Lance Barker was pretty disappointed when he wasn’t named to the Indiana All-Star team during his senior year at Columbus East in 1991, but the call he got from the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame made up for it.

Barker was one of 18 players named to the Hall of Fame’s Silver Anniversary Team, which was revealed on Tuesday.

“When you get that kind of a phone call, that’s a phone call of a lifetime for me,” Barker said, “and to be honest with you, it was very overwhelming and just a very humbling experience to hear about it.”

The team included the 13 players who were Indiana All-Stars in 1991 as well as five additional players. Barker was named to the team along with Tony Etchison of Noblesville, Jerry Freshwater of Marion, Chad Gilbert of Charlestown and Jason Williams of Pike.

Indiana’s All-Star team in 1991 consisted of Daimon Beathea (Elkhart Memorial), Brandon Brantley (Andrean), Brian Evans (Terre Haute South), Andy Elkins (Evansville Bosse), Marlon Fleming (Southport), Alan Henderson (Brebeuf), Jeff Massey (Concord), LaMar Morton (Muncie South), Steve Nicodemus (Whitko), Andre Owens (South Bend Riley), Glenn Robinson (Gary Roosevelt), LaSalle Thompson III (Pike) and Chris Wilburn (Martinsville).

The Silver Anniversary Team will be honored at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s Annual Men’s Banquet on March 23, 2016, at the Primo Banquet Hall on the south side of Indianapolis.

For Barker, who played at Valparaiso and is still the city’s all-time scoring leader with 1,755 points, there was just one down side to making the team — he won’t be able to share the moment with his former coach, the late Roger Reed.

“He was a big part of me being able to be on this team,” Barker explained. “The chance he took with me as a freshman, to play on varsity as a freshman, that’s just kind of unheard of, and I wish he’d be able to be there at the banquet for that. So that was the first thing that popped in my head when I got the phone call — I wish he could see this and be a part of it.”

The honor means even more to Barker because of how important the game of  basketball is here.

“That’s the biggest piece that is hard to grasp,” he said. Indiana is the basketball capital of the world when you talk to people, and then when you talk about the Hall of Fame, you’re talking about the best of the best. And for that to really sink in — to me, it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

That doesn’t mean he’s not enjoying it yet.

“All the blood, sweat and tears went for something,” Barker said with a smile.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.