The NCAA tournament is now down to 16 teams and those survivors will square off starting Thursday through Sunday in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
However, did you know that there are seven former Indiana high school basketball playing still left in this year’s tournament?
Probably the most well known Indiana native in this year’s tournament is Virginia junior guard and sharp shooter, Kyle Guy. At 6-foot-2 guard, a fierce competitor and one of the best 3-point shooters in the country, Guy is considered to be one of the best players in this year’s tournament.
An Indianapolis native, Guy played for Lawerence Central High School, where he averaged 23.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists during his senior season leading him to be selected as a McDonalds All-American and as Indiana’s Mr. Basketball.
Moving on from one Indiana native to the next, we can’t forget about Michigan State freshman Aaron Henry, who recently caught national attention after MSU head coach Tom Izzo was seen yelling at Henry during the Spartans’ NCAA tournament win over the Bradley Braves.
In case you’ve didn’t see it, Izzo got into Henry’s face for some mistakes he made against Bradley and some believe he went ‘too far’ in front of a national audience.
Since then most people have move on and Henry has continued to play well and be undeterred after the “berating” and continues to play well and deliver one of the more versatile stat lines for his team.
Aaron does things that you don’t see,” associate head coach Dane Fife said to the Detroit Free Press. “Aaron has a tremendous feel for the game. At times, it’s like having a senior out there on defense because he understands it so well.”
Henry, grew up Indianapolis, Indiana where he was a four-year starter and captain at Ben Davis High School where he led them to an Indiana 4A State Championship in his junior year, followed by a strong senior year where he averaged 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and four assists per game.
Finally, as you probably expected the remaining five Indiana natives in this year’s tourney play for the same team and that team is the Purdue Boilermakers.
When talking impact, you have to mention senior guard Ryan Cline, who behind Carsen Edwards’ amazing performances, continues to bring momentum and leadership, as the team’s second’s leading scorer.
Cline played his high school basketball for Carmel High School, where he averaged 21.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists as a senior and was a runner-up to teammate Caleb Swanigan in the 2015 Indiana Mr. Basketball race.
After Cline, you have a four more Indiana natives in Grady Eifert, Sasha Stefanovic, Eric Hunter Jr. and Tommy Luce.
Eifert a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana is a former walk-on, who developed his game, earning a scholarship last year and turned into a starter this season.
A redshirt freshman, Stefanovic was a four-year letter-winner at Crown Point High School and is considered to be a skilled and crafty guard that will fill out as he continues to grow with the Boilermakers.
Sophomore Tommy Luce, similar to Eifert is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship. Luce is a Jeffersonville native and 2016 graduate of Jeffersonville High School.
Last but certainly not least we have Boilermaker freshman Eric Hunter Jr., who help to lead Tindley Prep High School to its first state title in 2017 all while averaging 27.8 points per game as a senior after putting up 25.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a junior.
The excitement surrounding this young man is contagious and there is no doubt that he has a bright future ahead at Purdue both on and off the court.
Now, we just have to wait to see if any of these former Indiana High School Basketball will finish the tourney as champions and get the chance to cut pieces of the net from the rim as the confetti rains down.