To a talented, 6-foot-7 high school basketball forward, the phrase “it’s all about the work you do when nobody is watching” has little meaning.
Those who will decide the future of Columbus North senior-to-be Josh Speidel always are watching.
For Speidel, that’s OK. It beats the alternative.
Twelve universities, including Ball State, Ohio and Vermont, have offered scholarships to Speidel, and it’s likely more are on the way.
With that kind of attention comes the pressure of knowing that every practice, every scrimmage, every game, has to be conducted with the utmost effort.
“I need to improve everything because you don’t know who’s watching you,” Speidel said.
It will be more of the same on Thursday at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis when the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association and the Indiana High School Athletic Association host the Top 100 Boys Showcase.
Speidel has been invited to the event along with North teammate Trent Larson, who also will be a senior.
The event was designed to allow Indiana’s best high school basketball players to work in front of college scouts. They will run drills and play in game situations.
“It’s an unreal feeling being a part of that group,” Speidel said. “All of the guys are amazing players, so I feel very fortunate to be a part of that.”
While Speidel will have a chance to raise his value even higher, Larson will work hard to get on colleges’ radar. The 6-foot-3 guard shot 39 percent from the 3-point line last season and averaged 9.6 points a game.
He currently is playing with Speidel on the Indiana Elite club team as he also is trying to make the most of his summer. The invitation to the Top 100 Showcase was a huge boost for Larson.
“It’s an honor to be placed among the top players in Indiana,” Larson said. “I’m very happy to be selected, and I am ready to see how my skills compare to everyone else.
“To get good at basketball, you have to stay busy. (This summer) I started out playing open gym at North with Josh (Speidel), then went to some AAU games. I can tell that I’m improving.”
Besides attracting attention from college scouts, Speidel wants to get ready for a senior year that he hopes will end with a championship. North won the sectional title in 2013 but couldn’t defend last season.
“I have literally worked on everything to prepare for my senior year,” Speidel said. “My defense needed work, my outside shot needed to get better, and I needed to stay consistent.
“These past few months have been more than tough, but with the help and support of my teammates and family, all of this hard work has been worth it.”
Speidel credits a lot of his success on the court to North basketball coach Jason Speer and his ability to put together a tough schedule every year.
“He does a great job of promoting his players,” Speidel said of Speer. “We have played some of the best teams in Indiana and have gone to some of the best tournaments in the area.”
Although he has attracted a lot of attention, Speidel said his college choice remains “wide open.”
“My parents always told me to set goals and dreams for myself,” Speidel said. “When I go into the Showcase being one of the top players in the state, I have to show that I belong with that group.”
For Larson, it’s just a matter of doing everything he can to improve.
“I need to get in better shape and be able to make more shots,” Larson said. “My experience this summer has helped me with that. Pretty soon I’ll be able to help North when the season rolls around again.”
“If scouts look at me, I may see what their school has to offer. But education always comes first to me. I’m still kind of up in the air about the idea of college basketball, but we’ll see what happens this year.”
North head boys basketball coach Jason Speer said it wasn’t a surprise to see Speidel and Larson selected to the Showcase.
“Both of these guys are very worthy of this opportunity,” Speer said. “It’s something that I believe both will shine in, and I hope to see them do really well against some of the better players the state has to offer.
“They are representing North basketball real well.”