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When Brent Chitty received a call this week to be the Indiana Junior All-Stars head coach, he put things in perspective.
“It’s a humbling phone call when they tell you that your peers have selected you to represent the state of Indiana,” the Columbus East boys basketball coach said. “You’re humbled and honored.”
The Juniors will play two games against the Kentucky Junior All-Stars in June, two games against the Indiana Senior All-Stars in June and in a national Junior All-Star tournament in July. The teams and coaches were announced Thursday by the Indianapolis Star, which sponsors the games.
Chitty is 223-189 in 19 years as a head coach, including 37-31 in three years at East. He led the Olympians to a 14-7 record this season.
Before coming to East, Chitty coached 13 years at Evansville Central and three years at Owen Valley. He was an assistant for eight years under Tom McKinney at Bloomington North.
Chitty played for Hall of Fame coach Bill Springer at Bloomington South and played collegiately at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“You can’t speak for all basketball coaches, but it’s all about the kids you coach,” Chitty said. “There’s so many coaches that have coached with me. The assistant coaches wherever I’ve been have coached their guts out. They’ve always worked hard and loved the game. My coaching staff at Columbus East (Mark Meier, Jeff Reed, Gary Young, Michael Reed, George Solomon and Jackson Renshaw) is phenomenal.
“The coaches that I’ve coached against have just been incredible,” he said. “Indiana has great coaches.”
Game director Charlie Hall said he chose Chitty after talking with several respected people, including Indiana Basketball Coaches Association executive director Steve Witty.
“Steve Witty highly recommended Brent,” Hall said. “Then after Steve recommended him, I started doing some follow-ups and calling other people in the area, and some of them just went on and on in glowing praise of him. Then when I talked to him and offered him the job, I can see why people liked him. He’s a kids-first kind of guy that is respected by a whole bunch of his peers. Then, obviously, he’s had a lot of success with his teams over the years.”
Plymouth’s Ryan Bales and Tipton’s Brad Dickey will be the assistant coaches.
The Core Six group features Indiana University recruit James Blackmon Jr. of Fort Wayne Luers, Park Tudor’s Trevon Buliett, Evansville Bosse’s JaQuan Lyle, Tech’s Trey Lyles, Greenburg’s Bryant McIntosh and Plymouth’s Mack Mercer.
Guerin Catholic’s Aaron Brennan, Evansville Harrison’s Ernie Duncan, Mooresville’s Jacob Johnson, Carmel’s Zach McRoberts, Greensburg’s Sean Sellers and Brebeuf Jesuit’s P.J. Thompson were picked for the South Six. Mount Vernon’s C.J. Coleman, Wapahani’s Grant Evans, Frankton’s Aaron Korn, Fort Wayne Concordia’s D.J. McCall, Kokomo’s Tayler Persons and Lake Central’s Tyler Wideman comprise the North Six.
Earlier this month, Columbus North’s Tayler Goodall was selected to the Core Six for the Girls Junior All-Stars.
The girls and boys Junior All-Stars will play the Kentucky Junior All-Stars June 7 in Indianapolis and June 8 in Louisville and the Indiana Senior All-Stars June 10 and 12 at sites and times to be determined. Also, for the first time, there will be a national Junior All-Star Tournament July 14-16 in Indianapolis.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Chitty said. “We’re excited about the opportunity. We’ll work our tails off to make it a great experience for the kids. We’ll instill in them that education is a key for the rest of their life.”
Chitty, who is also an assistant athletics director at East, is happy to be a coach.
“It’s a good gig,” he said. “It’s fun. You’re getting into education and the sport you love. It’s going to be a lot of fun working with those kids.
“I definitely take a great sense of pride in it, but I also take a great sense of pride in (2012 East graduate) Luke Galle last year being a Lilly Scholar winner,” he said. “To watch Luke Galle get that Lilly Scholar, maybe there was one thing that coach Chitty or his coaching staff did to build that direction.”
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