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Star rising: North junior set for upcoming experience

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Josh Speidel has been gaining recruiting interest from at least three Big Ten schools, and his profile only figures to rise in the next week.

Although college basketball coaches are prohibited from talking to prospects or going to games in the month of June, Speidel has a chance to improve his chances in the 2015 Mr. Basketball race by impressing statewide coaches and media in four games as a member of the Indiana Junior All-Stars.

“A lot of the IBCA coaches who vote on that will be there, but I’m just trying to enjoy it and play my game and also use it as a learning experience,” said Speidel, who just finished his junior year at Columbus North.

The Indiana Juniors will play two games this weekend against the Kentucky Juniors and two games next week against the Indiana Senior All-Stars. The games against Kentucky will be Friday at Greenfield-Central and Saturday at Lexington Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the games against the Indiana seniors will be Monday at Logansport and June 11 at North.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity, a great experience to play against some of the best kids from Kentucky and some of the best kids from Indiana in the senior class, and also to play with the best juniors in the state,” Speidel said. “It’s humbling, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“Josh has had a tremendous high school career up to this point, and it’s nice for him to get those sort of individual accolades that he’s getting,” North boys coach Jason Speer said. “I think he’ll represent Columbus North very well.”

North junior Ali Patberg is on the girls Junior All-Star team that will also play two games against Kentucky and two against the Indiana seniors. Bull Dog senior Tayler Goodall is on the Indiana All-Star team that will play the two games against the Juniors and two games against the Kentucky seniors next weekend.

They’re all looking forward to the June 11 Junior-Senior doubleheader in Memorial Gym.

“I think it’s great that (athletics director Jeff) Hester was able to get a game here at Columbus North,” Speidel said. “With Ali playing and Tayler playing, it shows how great the coaches have done here.”

Columbus North and Columbus East are hosting the Columbus Revolution camp next week, and campers will receive a free ticket to the June 11 games.

“It’s worked out nice,” Speer said. “We’ll able to do some things with the younger kids from the Columbus Revolution camp to come out and see Josh, and we’re looking to do things with the school, too.

“It’s the best of the best,” he said. “From where we sit, we want our kids to see the top juniors and seniors in the state.”

Speidel has scholarship offers from Evansville, Northern Illinois, Vermont, Illinois-Chicago, Northeastern, Buffalo, Ohio and Toledo. He is also drawing interest from Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern.

So far, Speidel has visited Ohio, Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois and Evansville and is taking an official visit to Vermont from June 21 to 23.

“The other schools that have offered, I’m trying to find dates to visit there, too,” Speidel said. “I’m trying to enjoy it and get out to as many places as I can and see what feels comfortable and get a feel for everything.”

Speidel wants to make his college decision before the beginning of his senior year.

“It is stressful at times, taking all the visits to these schools and knowing I’ll have to choose one of them,” Speidel said. “But having two great parents and a great family and also coach Speer to help you out has been great.”

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