STEVE HANLON: A Christmas story region hoopsters should read again

2014-04-17T17:00:00Z 2014-04-17T23:18:07Z STEVE HANLON: A Christmas story region hoopsters should read againSteve Hanlon Prep Beat
April 17, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Keith Christmas went along for the ride in April of 2002. The senior basketball player at West Side never received an invitation to the Hoosier Basketball Magazine's Top 60 workout.

Those went to Christmas' teammates, Brandon Cameron and Chris Hunter, the two Cougars considered to be the best.

Nonetheless, Christmas went along and took his gym shoes. When someone didn't show up for the Top 60, Christmas took the floor and dominated and was selected to be a member of the Indiana All-Star team.

Oh, how other players from Northwest Indiana should've kept tabs on Christmas' story.

The 2014 Indiana All-Star team was announced last week. Only Lake Central's Tyler Wideman made the team from our area. An area, by the way, that had three teams playing in the state championship games in late March.

The others were Trey Lyles, Indianapolis Tech, James Blackmon Jr., Marion, Grant Evans, Wapahani, Tayler Persons, Kokomo, D.J. McCall, Fort Wayne Concordia, P.J. Thompson, Brebeuf Jesuit, Bryant McIntosh, Greensburg, Jeremie Tyler, Indianapolis Tech, Zach McRoberts, Carmel, Mack Mercer, Plymouth, Trevon Bluiett, Park Tudor and Sean Sellers, Greensburg.

All talented. All deserving.

In any other year I would write strongly about the Region players who were snubbed. Bowman Academy's Justin King played in three state championship games in three years. The 6-foot-7 big man carried the Eagles to the Class 3A state title game, a loss to Greensburg.

Yes, he struggled against a very good team, scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds on 3-of-11 shooting. But one game does not cut a player's name from the Indiana All-Star list.

King would've made the Indiana All-Star team, I believe, had he gone to the Top 60 workout. But he didn't show and he did not call to let the organizers know he wasn't coming.

Bowman coach Marvin Rea did not know King didn't show until the Monday after the event.

"I would've driven him down had I known," Rea said.

So there was no Christmas in April. A young man good enough to make a great event did not get selected because of a choice. No complaining here, fans. You reap what you sow.

So let's get to Lake Central guard Tye Wilburn. If you feel like those downstate have a conspiracy against our corner of Hoosierland, the Wilburn debate is stronger. Much stronger.

In the 63-59 loss to Indianapolis Tech in the Class 4A game, Wilburn was a beast. He scored 20 points with four assists and three steals. He was the biggest spark in an unbelievable second-half comeback.

Wilburn should've been named an Indiana All-Star, period. What more could he have done?

Thank you: Last week I shared a family tragedy in my column. I wish to thank everyone who said a prayer for the recovery of my brother's health. Thanks for the calls, texts and emails. It is appreciated.

Please continue. This road looks long and bumpy, but the grace so far has been amazing.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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