STEVE HANLON: What it means to don the threads

2014-06-13T18:30:00Z 2014-06-14T00:09:02Z STEVE HANLON: What it means to don the threadsSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
June 13, 2014 6:30 pm  • 

COLUMBUS | The gym was thinning out Wednesday night at Columbus North. A talented Indiana All-Star team just finished a sweep of the Junior All-Stars.

Lake Central star Tyler Wideman was walking alone on the floor. He saw Jeremie Tyler and Trey Lyles ahead of him and started slowly chopping his feet forward.

"How's my Indianapolis Tech guys?" Wideman said with a smile, putting his arms around both players.

This small snap chat shows a lot about Wideman and the 2014 Indiana All-Star team. In truth, it defines them.

On March 29 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lake Central played Tech in the Class 4A state championship game. In the thrilling game, Wideman was blasted by an elbow to the head in the first half and bled all over the floor.

Tech went on to win 63-59. Wideman played great, even though he was injured.

But none of that emotional baggage has carried over to the summer. Not only is this Indiana All-Star team talented, but they are extremely good kids who get along very well.

That is special, folks. It does not happen like this every June.

"This has been a great experience; this is a great group of guys," said Wideman, The Times Player of the Year, before Wednesday's game. "Everybody gets along, in the dorm rooms and out on the floor. We're all having fun playing together.

"We all are happy to put this uniform on together."

But that doesn't mean these young men aren't fierce competitors. On Friday night at Lexington's Transylvania University, Wideman's Indiana All-Stars took on the Kentucky All-Stars.

Neither Wideman nor the other Hoosiers had any desire to lose. Indiana had won 11 straight heading into the game in Kentucky.

Lafayette's Jackson Davis, a 6-8 forward, and Louisville Ballard's Kelan Martin, a 6-foot-6 swing player, will join Wideman at Butler in the fall. The three already met at Butler.

"I want to win both games," Wideman said. "I want to have bragging rights in the dorm when we all get to Butler."

Look for these three to get the Bulldogs back into the Madness of March. But first these two games, including tonight's finale at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Crown Point coach Clint Swan is an assistant for this year's Indiana All-Star coaching staff. He has been impressed by the character of this roster and the play of Wideman, the guy he's tried to stop the last three years in the Duneland Athletic Conference.

"Tyler is a man of few words," Swan said. "He is so humble but he is so good, too. He is so strong around the basket, just a really talented player. He is yet another class player from the region who has represented our area very well on this stage."

Swan mentioned E'Twaun Moore. Robbie Hummel. Spike Albrecht. And Zack Novak. He puts Wideman in this group of recent greats.

"It means a lot to wear this uniform," Wideman said. "It was a dream of mine. Putting it on means all the work I put in paid off. I'm very proud to wear this uniform and I want to make the fans of Indiana happy."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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