INDIANAPOLIS | Joe Crisman walked into the gym at Marian University on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.
He looked up and saw his coach, Mike Hackett of Munster, sitting on the top row of bleachers. Crisman waved. Hackett nodded. But that was it.
"He's here on business," Crisman said. "And so am I. We gave him his space which was hard because I've been with him for eight years now."
Crisman was one of eight area players invited to participate in the 24th annual Hoosier Basketball Magazine's Top 60 workout. Only seven region players showed up for the event with Lew Wallace's Branden Dawson the only one missing.
"Both his coach and athletic director said he would be here," said HBM publisher Garry Donna of Dawson. "But it seems like every year someone from your area doesn't come."
Hackett was named the Indiana All-Star coach a month ago. Hackett, his staff and game director Charlie Hall were there to observe the best high school players in Indiana.
The area players in attendance included Crisman, Brian Stolarz and Ricky Carbajal of Munster, Bishop Noll's Adonis Filer, Crown Point's Spike Albrecht, Merrillville's Jeremiah Jones, Lowell's Austin Richie and Morgan Twp.'s Brandon Grubl.
"This was a very impressive group," Donna said. "Everyone played hard and they were very good making the extra pass to get the assist."
He noted that three girls playing in the NCAA Final Four down the street on Sunday night and four members of Butler's NCAA championship game team also participated in Donna's event.
"Look at these guys and you're going to see a lot of players here on some postseason all-star rosters," Donna said.
While not an official tryout for the Indiana All-Star team, which will take on Kentucky in June, the All-Star staff was there to see who would finish off filling those final jerseys.
The team will be announced on April 14.
"We're looking for specific needs," Hackett said. "If we had an idea of what our roster will be, we need to know if we need another point guard, shooter or a strong, physical kid. This helps us out."
Hall said he was impressed by the players he saw from Northwest Indiana. But the inexact science of putting together the best 12 players from a basketball rich state like Indiana is not easy.
In fact, it's extremely difficult.
"The best way to describe it is we're comparing apples with apples," Hall said. "The kids from Evansville haven't played against the kids from Hammond. This gives us a chance to look at some of the bubble kids. Then, I'll get together with the staff and try to see who will fit in those last few uniforms."
The players who shined the brightest from the area were Filer, Albrecht, Richie and Crisman. Hackett guessed a month ago that the area could put three or four players on the All-Star team.
The North-South game next Sunday at Vincennes will give the All-Star staff one last opportunity to see players before finalizing the team.
"Adonis showed that he's for real," Hackett said. "Spike had a really good showing, too. Austin showed some nice things as well. All the guys from the region played well and represented the area very well."
Crisman, like all the players in Indy on Sunday, summed up why everyone attended.
"It would be huge to make this team," Crisman said. "It's been one of my dreams. It would mean that all the hard work paid off. All the times I asked the janitors to leave the lights on when they were leaving."