HAMMOND | For the 15-year-old freshman that he is, Larry Crisler has a voice that is deep. We're talking a teenage Lou Rawls here.
But it's not like any media member would know what the 6-foot-2 Bishop Noll swing player's voice sounds like. Warrior's coach Drew Trost has a rule about freshmen.
They are not allowed to speak to the press, so Crisler can't boom his low voice at the media.
It will be interesting to see if Trost's rule will change if his team beats Indianapolis Park Tudor in Saturday's Class 2A state championship game at Conseco Fieldhouse.
"Larry is super talented athletically," Trost said. "His basketball IQ is far beyond his years. He doesn't think or speak like a freshman."
In last Saturday's semistate win over Tipton, 53-50, Crisler came off the bench for Milos Kostic to make Noll's defense quicker. His presence on the court changed the game in the Warrior's favor.
The eight-point deficit that Noll had at the start of the fourth quarter disappeared after Crisler entered the lineup.
The high hoops IQ could be because of where Crisler played in middle school. In seventh grade he played at Bowman Academy. In eighth grade he played at Munster.
"Bowman taught him a lot of aggressiveness," said Roshanta Coleman, Crisler's mother. "At Munster he just grew like a flower."
All winter long when Crisler came home from basketball practice, Coleman would see him walking around the house with a baseball glove on.
The standout pitcher has worked with Dave Griffin for years. His mother has no doubt what his favorite sport is.
"It's baseball," she said.
Still, his 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game averages will be needed against the Panthers on Saturday. Park Tudor also has a big-time freshman in Trevon Bluiett, a 6-foot-5 forward who scores 13.7 points and grabs 7.6 rebounds a game.
"Larry has gotten around the basket and got a lot of offensive rebounds and putbacks for us," Trost said. "And he's hit some real big free throws for us down the stretch. He's a big part of why we're still playing."
Coleman laughed when asked about how deep her son's voice is. She said it was always low but it really bottomed out when he was 13.
"He gets asked the same question all the time," Coleman said. "You're only 15?"
Noll is playing at state for the first time since 1988. The Warriors (26-0) are the only undefeated team of eight who will play on Saturday in the Indiana state finals.
More than 30 friends and family will be at Conseco to watch Crisler play. For Coleman the decision to go to Noll has worked out much better than they ever thought before.
"It's real exciting," she said. "He's really fitting into Noll now. He's becoming a Noll student. When he came home on Tuesday (after practicing at Conseco) he told me, 'It's like a dream come true, mom. It was like I was in the NBA playing on that court.'"