In this case, the big basketball shoe really is on the other foot.
When all is said and done, Columbus North basketball forward Josh Speidel probably won’t have that hard a time making his college choice.
The hardest decision, in this case, is the one being made by Big Ten coaches.
It is the decision whether or not to offer Speidel a scholarship.
On Sunday, Speidel played for Indiana Elite, an AAU team that raced to the 2014 adidas Super 64 championship in Las Vegas. In eight tournament games over five days, Speidel scored in double figures six times against some of the best competition the nation has to offer.
The knock against Speidel isn’t that he isn’t tough enough to play in the Big Ten, or that he isn’t a great player, or that he can’t score.
No, it’s more about his height. Speidel has the look of a power forward, in a 6-foot-7 body. I am sure that the Indianas and Michigans of the basketball world are wondering how his skill set is going to translate to the highest level in college.
We have seen a rise in “mid-major” college basketball teams because they simply don’t care about size. They don’t subscribe to the theory that each position has a perfectly molded shape.
They probably even believe that a 5-foot-11 quarterback can lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Mid-majors snap up a great player and forge ahead. The result has been that we see more parity in college basketball than ever before.
If Speidel were 2 inches taller, the Big Ten coaches would be begging. So far, they are not.
The fact is that he is not really a power forward, and he is not a shooting forward. He is a combination of both. He is ... himself.
That has been pretty darned good.
Speidel has a bunch of offers from universities like Vermont, New Orleans, Ohio, Toledo, Ball State, Evansville and Loyola. They all are hoping the Big Ten isn’t paying attention.
Those offers, in themselves, are a wonderful tribute. Come on, though, as area basketball fans, aren’t you hoping for more?
The seven Indiana senior basketball players ranked higher than Speidel by ESPN, with the exception of Pike High School’s Tahjai Teague, all have major college offers. It will be interesting to see if Speidel joins that club.
Performances like last weekend’s will put heavier pressure on the major conference teams to take a look. Is Speidel the kind of player who can average 10 points and six rebounds in the Big Ten? Wouldn’t that be worth a scholarship?
I understand that coaches’ jobs have been lost because they took a recruiting chance. But, oh what a story, if Speidel ended up at Indiana or Purdue. That is just selfish desires from his hometown. Perhaps Speidel has his heart set on a smaller campus
I guess we will find out soon enough, and at least we know that the local kid put together a solid summer to impress those willing to look.
Another local player in Las Vegas last weekend was Speidel’s North teammate, Kooper Glick. Glick, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, played for Indianapolis’ Team Progeny, which won five of six games in the tournament.
Glick, speaking by phone from Las Vegas on Monday, said he was a bit overwhelmed when he faced some of the nation’s top players when he began playing for Progeny this summer. “But I got used to it,” he said.
Although he is not a starter for Progeny, he said whenever he does play he is exposed to college scouts from all over the country. He has interest from Division II and NAIA teams already and hopes he can attract more interest after North’s basketball season.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-5632.