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Talent will be on display at North


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James Blackmon, Jr., will be one of the talented high school basketball players represented at Wednesday's all-star game at Columbus North High School.
James Blackmon, Jr., will be one of the talented high school basketball players represented at Wednesday's all-star game at Columbus North High School.


At this time next summer, Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr. and Trevon Bluiett could be hearing their names called in the NBA Draft.

Wednesday night, the trio of recently graduated Indiana high school players will be on the court at Columbus North for the second of two Indiana All-Stars exhibition games against the Indiana Junior All-Stars. The senior group will then play Kentucky on Friday at Transylvania University and Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“The senior boys team is loaded,” said Garry Donna, longtime publisher of Hoosier Basketball Magazine. “The Mr. Basketball (Lyles) and two runners-up are likely to be guys that we’ll someday be watching on TV. I think Lyles, Blackmon and Bluiett have the potential to be in the NBA.”

Lyles, who led Indianapolis Arsenal Tech to the Class 4A state title, is headed to Kentucky and is ranked No. 13 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals.com. Blackmon (No. 22) played for Marion and is headed to Indiana University; and Bluiett (No. 34), who led Park Tudor to its third state title in four years, is headed to Xavier.

North boys coach Jason Speer had a chance to coach that trio and 10 other players who made the Indiana All-Star team at the Top 60 Workout in April.

“Those kids are incredible athletes, but they’re also incredible people,” Speer said. “They’re good kids, they work hard. All the colleges that landed these kids are going to be very happy with them.

“(The team is) every bit as good as advertised,” he said. “There’s a very strong core group of seniors, and I think people will enjoy the complementary players, as well. There’s a lot of talent all-around.”

Wednesday’s girls game begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the boys game at around 8 p.m. Boys All-Stars will sign autographs at halftime of the girls game, and Girls All-Stars will sign autographs at halftime of the boys game.

“IU and Kentucky have big followings, and it will be an opportunity for those fans to see what they’re going to get,” North athletics director Jeff Hester said. “It’s going to be exciting, especially for fans of those schools, to be able to get a glimpse of them before they’re enrolled at those schools.

“This senior class of boys is one of the more talented classes Indiana has produced recently,” he said. “If you’re a basketball fan in the area, it’s a good opportunity to come out and see these guys. It’s going to be a great venue not only for the athletes that are going to play, but for Columbus North High School athletics.”

North’s Josh Speidel and Carmel’s Ryan Cline, who committed to Purdue earlier this week, lead the boys Junior All-Stars. Bull Dogs Tayler Goodall, with the senior squad, and Ali Patberg, with the juniors, will play in the girls game.

The senior girls are led by Miss Basketball Whitney Jennings of Logansport, who is headed to Iowa, and runner-up Maura Muensterman of Evansville Mater Dei, who is headed to IU.

“Whitney Jennings I think is one of the best point guards to every play the game here,” Donna said.

“Whitney Jennings is really good,” North girls coach Pat McKee said. “The junior class is a really strong class. The seniors are going to be a little bit more structured and organized, but the juniors will have played two games by the time they play the seniors.”

Patberg (Notre Dame) and Bedford North Lawrence’s Dominique McBryde (Purdue) and Jenna Allen (IU) lead the junior girls squad. Donna said Patberg and McBryde would be featured in the center of next year’s Hoosier Basketball Magazine, along with Speidel, Cline and Penn’s Jordan Geist.

“Of the core, Ali Patberg and Dominique McBryde are probably the top two girls in that class,” Donna said. “I think people like McBryde, Patberg, Jenna Allen, (BNL’s) Alexa Bailey and (Mater Dei’s) Tori Schickel make that class a good class.”

Donna said the senior boys would have to rate as the favorite Wednesday, while the girls game would likely be a little more competitive.

“It’s arguably the top 12 or 13 players in the senior class and a dozen of the top 18 players in the junior class,” McKee said. “It will be very strong players, and I’m looking forward to seeing them play.”

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