WESTVILLE — In some cases, their feats on the hardwood still hold records, decades after their names have been forgotten.
“Buckets,” a newly self-published book brings back to life, with help from plenty of black and white photographs, some of the ghosts of Indiana’s glorious high school basketball past.
The author, Christian Porter, is a 2012 Westville graduate and former Blackhawk on that high school’s varsity court. He grew up eating, drinking and sleeping basketball. When his playing days were over, Porter said he didn’t realize how hard he would take it, so he began jotting down his feelings on paper.
Compliments on his writing started coming his way, so he set out to write a book about what’s practically a religion for he and so many other Hoosiers.
Porter traveled all over the state discovering little known players like Phil Willis, who during the 1956-57 season in Grass Creek averaged 42.2 points a game, which is still a state record.
His digging also turned up the likes of Marion Pierce, who in four years at Lewiston High School, ending in 1961, racked up 3,109 points, a record that lasted 29 years.
Porter also learned about Wayne Bright, who at 6-feet 9-inches in 1965 scored 57 points for Belle Union High School in a game where the opposition had just 53 points.
“All of a sudden before I knew it, I had something. It kind of started as a hobby project. It’s amounted into a lot more than that,” said Porter, a history major at Purdue University Northwest.
He also writes about the feats of more modern recognizable players like Steve Alford, a legend at both New Castle High School and Indiana University where he won an NCAA championship in 1987 before joining the NBA.
Other notables in the book include Robbie Hummel, a 2006 graduate of Valparaiso High School and later a standout at Purdue University who also went on to the NBA.
There’s also Delray Brooks, a member of a team labeled in the book as “The Best That Never Was.” His heavily favored, undefeated Michigan City Rogers Raiders squad suffered a disappointing loss in the 1984 semistate finals at Fort Wayne. Brooks, the USA Today Player of the Year that season, went on to Indiana University and later Providence where he played in the NCAA Final Four.
“They never got to make it to the state finals as they probably should have. Lost on a buzzer beater to Warsaw,” Porter said.
“Buckets” can be purchased for $15 on Facebook or at the J-Mart convenience store in Wanatah. He’s hoping to add more retail locations soon.