MUNSTER | As a lad, Mike Schlotman was a typical Munster kid. He was one of many reasons that Mustangs boys basketball is one of the best hoop programs in the state.
"I attended all the camps, I worked on my fundamentals and I went to a lot of the games," Schlotman said.
Now, the 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard is a starter on the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state. On Saturday he will lead the Mustangs (25-0) against Kokomo (24-2) in the Lafayette Jeff Semistate.
As a kid in the stands there was one Mustang that he looked up to, Mike Bizoukas. The Indiana All-Star now plays at DePaul.
"I loved watching Bizoukas," Schlotman said. "He was always fun to watch. The way he dribbled. The way he passed. Just the way he played the game."
Schlotman went to skills coach Chris Kostouros, the same mentor who worked with Bizoukas. That's where the connection began.
"It is their work ethic," Munster coach Mike Hackett said of the similarities between Bizoukas and Schlotman. "Bizoukas was an absolute gym rat. He'd sneak into gyms. He'd prop doors open so he could play.
"And (Schlotman) is the same way."
Schlotman is averaging 4.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and has an almost 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio, which Hackett said is nearly insane for a sophomore point guard.
Schlotman's mother, Joan Kelsey, played basketball at Purdue, so the genes are good.
He also played baseball and soccer when he was young, but decided to focus on one sport alone.
Hackett said he knew over the summer that his super sophomore would be starting for him. With three veteran seniors -- Joe Crisman, Brian Stolarz and Ricky Carbajal -- that has helped.
Senior Christian Young has also become a starter after not playing varsity last year.
Even though the Mustangs were rolling early, Schlotman did not have his breakout game until the 1 vs. 2 matchup in Merrillville on Feb. 5.
Against standout guards Jeremiah Jones and Brandon Clark, Schlotman had three points, but added to it eight rebounds and six assists in Munster's 75-64 win.
"The Merrillville game really solidified him," Hackett said. "To do what he did against the core of their guards was great. He didn't back down. He played terrific.
"The thing a lot of people don't know is he's a real good shooter. That's not his role this year. But he'll score some points for us the next couple of seasons."