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There are few states that can match passion for a sport like Indiana has for basketball. ESPN is currently hosting a debate regarding which state is the best basketball state—they are down to the final four and Indiana is still in the running. Growing up in the Midwest, Indiana is the first state that comes to my mind when I think of passionate basketball fans and players. 

 

Our friends over at IndianaHSHoops.com took some time out from delivering quality high school basketball coverage on their site to answer a few questions for us about basketball in their state and what being a Hoosier is all about.  

 

1. Which of these players do you think will be the 2009 Indiana Mr. Basketball and why? Patrick Bade - Franklin Central, DJ Byrd - North Montgomery, Derek Elston – Tipton, Jordan Hulls - Bloomington South, Colt Ryan – Batesville, Stephan Van Treese - Lawrence North, Scott Wood – Marion

 

We would love to see each of these guys get Mr. Basketball, although we both know that isn't realistic. They all have worked their tails off these last four years, and we would hate to single any one kid out.

 

Some of our favorites, respectively, include Jordan Hulls from Bloomington High School South, Colt Ryan from Batesville High School and Stephan Van Treese from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

Hulls is the best player on his team on arguable the best team in the state, which is now ranked 4th nationally according to USA Today. He is headed to IU next year and can shoot the rock- something like 50% from deep.

 

Colt Ryan is a true leader and knows how to carry his team, if you haven't been keeping up with his season this year. Colt is headed to Evansville University next year and I can only imagine him fitting seamlessly into their program.

 

Stephan Van Treese, the kid has been under the radar since we can remember. He played varsity with teammates Greg Oden and Mike Conley.

 

There are numerous other D1 players on his Lawrence North team, so you can imagine why his numbers are blowing anyone out of the water. This kid is the real deal—both Louisville fans and Rick Patino realize it.

 

2. If you had to pick one Indiana high school basketball team that impresses you the most—which would you choose and why?

 

Bloomington South, hands down. We have been following them for the last few years pretty hard. Their atmosphere is true Indiana High School Basketball hysteria, their student section is prime and did I mention they are ranked 4th in the country? Hulls, Davis, Fromm and new comer Spencer Turner have been a blast to watch, this year especially. These guys are lethal. Let's see if they can manage to grab the title this year.

 

3. What piece of advice would you give athletes who are going through the recruiting process?

 

Don't let it get to you, no matter how many letters are in the mailbox. Keep a level head and go out and do your thing everyday. Work hard to play hard. Your hard work will pay off, believe! Parent's, don't push your kids too hard. Now-a-days a lot of kids are getting burnt out so early because of year around practice and crazy parents. Push them, encouragingly, reward for the good things they do and make it fun for them.

 

I once knew a kid who would shoot free throws outside right after school, in the dead of winter, as a fifth grader, until he would make 50 in a row. Then he'd come inside and log his hours on a calendar then head to Greene County, Indiana to watch players like A.J. Graves and Brody Boyd.

 

He still logs his hours to this day, even as he practices at Butler University, where he plays now. Yea, all Pistol Pete style...but if basketball is truly in your heart, I'm sure you understand exactly what we're saying.

 

4. A member of our community points out that implementing class basketball might be responsible for detracting from “Hoosier Hysteria”. As someone who shares a passion for Indiana high school basketball and is immersed in the scene, I’d love to get your thoughts on the matter. He says:

 

For about 30 years, starting out as child, I had the privilege of attending the HS boys basketball Final Four. 15,000 at Hinkle, 17,000 at Market Square and even 30,000 at the dome. That was before "class basketball." This year, I attended the class finals at the downtown field house. There were no more 6,000 fans there for any one of the four games. Has class basketball damaged the passion of Indiana high school basketball?

 

Well, I'm not sure you really need to have 15K screaming fans to make Indiana High School Basketball have that Indiana HS Basketball feel, know what we're saying? We've been in gyms that only hold 2K people and are packed, standing room only, dripping in sweat, cheering, and it's been a BLAST!

 

We will have to admit though, that because of class basketball, conference championships, respectively, seem meaningless. It seems, since single class basketball was before my time, that for smaller schools, the state championships were the sectional championships, and if you were lucky enough to win those- good for you!

 

Bobby Plump (the man who hit the most famous shot in the history of Hoosier Hysteria. It was the shot that gave little Milan High its miracle state title in 1954 over powerhouse Muncie Central and spawned a Cinderella story told a million times over, most notably in the movie "Hoosiers.") said, "Since they went to class basketball, Milan has been to the semi-state twice, and nobody knows it," Plump said. "That gives you the idea that people don't care. The sectional winners in the old days will be remembered a long time after the four state champions are remembered…When you can play, you want to play against the big boys. You might get your brains beat out, but it won't be the last time that happens in life."

 

5. On a related note, I was following ESPN Rise’s Great State Debate on which state has the most passionate basketball fans. They nominated New York, Illinois and several other states as belonging in the bracket that fans would ultimately vote on. But they selected Indiana as on the bubble for even being included in this discussion and made the fans vote it in over a couple other bubble states. I couldn’t believe Indiana didn’t make the initial cut. The fan support from the Hoosier state ended up being overwhelming and Indiana made it in the group of states to be considered as the best. Could you talk a little bit about what it’s like coaching basketball in one of the most passionate, storied states in the country and what it means to you?

 

High school basketball is something that will always be instilled in Indiana culture; it's a way of life here. If anyone has, or maybe even hasn't, traveled up to New Castle, Indiana and seen the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame, I'm sure you are familiar with they saying, ""In 49 states, it's just basketball … This is Indiana."

 

The movie, "Hoosiers," seems to really hold true as to how basketball is here. It still seems kind of funny when I'm out in Florida or somewhere and see the movie on the Blockbuster shelf. Yes, it still brings a big goofy, involuntary, smile to my face...I mean, how could it not.

 

6. Sportspower.tv has Bloomington South ranked the best in the state. Do you think they have what it takes to continue the momentum through the post-season and win a state title?

 

Bloomington South seems SOLID. After their win against Detroit Country Day, it's hard telling what all the Panthers are capable of. We would love to see them finally grab a title, but you can never be too sure. If everyone stays health, keeps on the same track they are on now...they should have little trouble.

 

Check out IndianaHSHoops.com for in-depth, up-to-date high school basketball coverage.

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March 2009 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Mar 2, 2009
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The NCAA recently wrapped up the early signing period for college-bound student-athletes.  This signing period allowed basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and wrestling prospects to sign national letters of intent to formally decide which college to attend.


 

Early Signing


I played high school ball in Missouri—-one of the few states that maintains softball as a fall sport. I knew my performance each game was under the microscope and that a scholarship offer could depend on it. Conversely, for athletes that play a winter or spring sport, signing early means there’s no pressure to catch the eye of a college scout during their last high school season.

 

!http://active.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515ff769e20105361d6279970b-320wi|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|alt=Trish Oberhaus Action7|class=at-xid-6a00d834515ff769e20105361d6279970b |src=http://active.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515ff769e20105361d6279970b-320wi!For college coaches it means they can lock their roster early in the academic year so they can dedicate all of their time and energy to the current season. If they haven’t signed enough recruits to complete their roster for next season, they must worry about continuing the recruiting process on top of coaching duties for the current season.


 

Seven years ago this week, I signed my letter of intent in a small conference room at my high school in the presence of my family, high school coaches and athletic administration. I felt very fortunate to formalize my commitment to attend Loyola University Chicago on a softball scholarship during the fall of my senior year. It had been my goal to negotiate an offer and make it official during the early signing period so that I could enjoy my senior year without the stress of the recruiting process


Not every student-athlete makes a decision regarding their collegiate career during the early signing period. According to the NCAA, about half of the nearly 20,000 signees from the 2007-2008 academic year signed during the early period. However, signing early does seem to be on the rise. Those 9,805 student-athletes marked an eight percent increase in early signees from the year before.


 

Late Signing


Athletes that don’t sign during the early signing period need not panic—some voluntarily wait until the late period to sign. The next signing period runs from April until August. The extra time allows recruits who aren’t completely satisfied with their choices the opportunity to improve their situation.


Prospects will have time to scrutinize potential schools and get a better idea of how they might fit into a program for the next season. For example, in my four years of playing there were several major changes to the lineup that took place during the spring season as well as in the summer. We had a talented player get kicked off the team, a head coach accept a job at another school and two of our best and most integral players—-a pitcher and a catcher—-transferred. This drastically altered the composition of our team and program and affected our recruiting needs for the next year significantly.


In addition to seeing how one would fit into next season’s depth chart more accurately, waiting allows an athlete to use their senior season to further their marketability in the eyes of college coaches.


 

The Future


While I am a proponent of settling the deal early, there are important aspects to consider for both committing early and waiting until the spring to sign. In the end, it depends on the individual student-athlete and how comfortable they are with their decision. Good luck to those that have signed already and to those who hope to in the spring.

 

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!http://www.eteamz.com/filestorage/snapshotz/20070304071111_5063SM.jpg|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px; float: left;|src=http://www.eteamz.com/filestorage/snapshotz/20070304071111_5063SM.jpg! Big Hit

An irresistible force meets an immovable object as determined defenseman for the Dunellen NJ Penguins PeeWee B team checks a member of the NY Saints. The Penguins go on to defeat the Saints 6-2.

 

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June 2008 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Jun 3, 2008

!http://www.eteamz.com/filestorage/snapshotz/20080410092831_2811SM.jpg|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px; float: left;|src=http://www.eteamz.com/filestorage/snapshotz/20080410092831_2811SM.jpg! Miniature Barry Sanders

Josh gets the ball handed off and runs down the field and does his best Barry Sanders impersonation and uses a very effective stiff arm for a 50lb kid.

 

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A couple of weekends ago I went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit one of my best friends and watch the University of Michigan softball team take on Michigan State and Northwestern. I saw four games and quickly fell in love with the Michigan softball program.

 

They play amazing softball. They have one of the most legendary coaching staffs in the game. The Wolverines have a rich tradition that they revere and make a point to celebrate. This season they opened and dedicated one of the nicest softball stadiums in the nation. They have a loyal, fun fan base of which I am glad to now be a part.

 

The Wolverines crushed Michigan State in the two games I watched. Two grand slams, several home runs and a mercy-rule ending. It was one of the most potent offensive displays I have ever seen.

 

The two games against Northwestern were quite the opposite. Low scoring, decided by one run and the teams split. Not only hard-fought duels between top-20 teams and conference rivals, but the outcome was to decide who took the Big Ten conference lead and, therefore, who would host the conference tournament. I took this video below of Michigan coming back in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the second game and maintain their share of the lead conference standings—it was intense:

 




Since the standings were still tied at the end of regular season and their respective run differentials were also equal, a coin toss would decide which co-conference champ would host the Big Ten tournament. Northwestern won the toss and is hosting the tournament that opens today.

 

I have a lot of respect for Northwestern’s program having competed against them several times in the cross-town rivalry at Loyola Chicago. But this weekend I’ll be pulling for No. 2 Michigan to pull out the win over top-seeded Northwestern. Go Blue!

2,160 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: ncaa, trish-oberhaus, softball, michigan, big-ten

An injured Kirk Gibson hitting a pinch-hit walk-off home run off in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Joe Carter crushing a walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series. Becky Marx sending one over while trailing UCLA to tie the game and get University of Michigan back in the title hunt at the Women’s College World Series. These home runs are seared into my memory. They repeatedly make highlight reels and are iconic in the world of sports. But a home run in the recent Western Oregon and Central Washington softball contest perhaps should be celebrated above all.

 

A post-season appearance hinged on the outcome of the game. Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her career. Tucholsky came to the plate in the top of the second inning of the second game with two runners on base and a 0-0 score. She had just three hits in 34 at-bats this season, but she drove a pitch over the centerfield fence.

 

In her excitement, she missed first base on her home run trot and reversed direction to tag the bag. She tore a ligament in her knee in doing so and crumbled to the ground. While she crawled back to first base, her two teammates crossed the plate, leaving her the only offensive player on the field.

 

The umpires confirmed that the only option available under the rules was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out.

 

And then an opposing player, Mallory Holtman, asked if it would it be OK if she helped carry her around and touch each bag.

 

"Honestly, it's one of those things that I hope anyone would do it for me," Holtman explained. "She hit the ball over her fence. She's a senior; it's her last year…I think anyone who knew that we could touch her would have offered to do it, just because it's the right thing to do."

 

Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace lifted Tucholsky off the ground and supported her weight between them as they began perhaps the longest and most crowded home run trot in the game's history.

Accompanied by a standing ovation from the fans, they finally reached home plate and passed the home run hitter into the arms of her own teammates. Then Holtman and Wallace returned to their positions and tried to win the game.

 

Central Washington did rally for two runs in the bottom of the second, but Western Oregon held on for a 4-2 win—the winning run a result of one of the most astounding acts of sportsmanship I have ever seen.

Check it out, and add this home run to the list of most memorable ones you have ever seen:

 

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May 2008 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Apr 28, 2008
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April 2008 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Apr 1, 2008
1,333 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: snapshotz, football, trish-oberhaus

 

Lisa Fernandez, a three-time Olympic champion and one of the best pitchers in the world, wasn’t good enough to beat out Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott to make the U.S. National Team’s final Olympic roster as the team readies for Beijing.

 

A few weeks ago, Fernandez admitted she was having a tough time getting her skills back, but was confident she could still play at a high level.

 

"I think I still have it," she said. "I think the advantage I have is my experience. I have the heart."

 

And she does. I’ve followed Fernandez’s career dating back to 1994 during her days at UCLA, where she led the Bruins to two NCAA championships. I watched her win a gold medal in the first Olympic Games that included the sport of softball. Every girl on my softball team had the Lisa Fernandez Louisville Slugger bat.

 

The truth is her vast amounts of experience and heart weren’t enough to earn her a spot in the Olympic rotation. When I interviewed Fernandez at the 2007 World Cup of Softball and asked her if she was planning on mounting a comeback, I believed she had a good chance of making it. Not only did she dominate opponents in the batter’s box with world-class style, but was a skilled third baseman and very strong hitter. 

 

However, head coach Mike Candrea didn’t think Fernandez got back to her usual dominating self after taking three years off to start a family.

 

"I was really hoping she would get close to where she was in 2004," said Candrea. " I wanted her to go out on top."

 

So while 37-year-old Fernandez has been left off the Olympic roster, she has been named a replacement player in the event someone gets injured. I don't think Candrea made a mistake but I sincerely wish that the Olympic roster allowed for one more player. I believe she is still the greatest softball player to ever play the game and appreciate the tremendous role she played in advancing the sport and giving female athletes someone to look up to.

 

Do you think Lisa Fernandez should have been included on the Olympic roster because of her versatility and experience—or does Team USA have the most solid squad possible now? 

 

The 2008 USA Softball Olympic team roster:

 

Monica Abbott, Salinas, Calif. (University of Tennessee ’07)

 

Laura Berg, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (Graduate ’98)

 

Crystl Bustos, Canyon Country, Calif. (Palm Beach C.C.)

 

Andrea Duran, Selma, Calif. (UCLA ’06)

 

Jennie Finch, La Mirada, Calif. (Arizona ’02)

 

Tairia Flowers, Tucson, Ariz. (UCLA ’04)

 

Vicky Galindo, Union City, Calif. (Cal ’05)

 

Lovieanne Jung, Fountain Valley, Calif. (Arizona ’03)

 

Kelly Kretschman, Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. (Alabama ’01)

 

Lauren Lappin, Anaheim, Calif. (Stanford ’06)

 

Caitlin Lowe, Tustin, Calif. (Arizona ’07)

 

Jessica Mendoza, Camarillo, Calif. (Stanford ’02)

 

Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, Calif. (UCLA ’02)

 

Cat Osterman, Houston, Texas (Texas ’07)

 

Natasha Watley, Irvine, CA. (UCLA ’05)

11,975 Views 31 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, trish-oberhaus, usa, softball, lisa-fernandez, beijing

March 2008 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Mar 2, 2008
1,111 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: snapshotz, trish-oberhaus, hockey

Former Argentinian soccer star Diego Maradona has issued something of an apology to British fans for the infamous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals. Maradona knocked in the first goal of Argentina's 2-1 win with his hand, an act that went unnoticed by the referee. He went many years without admitting that it was, in fact, a handball.

 

 

Maradona has since said he did it because the English goalkeeper was very tall and he couldn't get his head on it. He also called the tipped goal "something that just came out of me. It was a bit of mischief." A bit of mischief??! Huge understatement.

 

Nevertheless, he was quoted in a London tabloid last week as saying, "If I could apologize and go back and change history I would." However, he shortly thereafter said that the paper changed his words and what he actually said was, "A long time has passed since that and that history can't be rewound."

 

It is unfortunate that Maradona, who is highly regarded as one of the best soccer players of all timesecond only to Pelewill likely be remembered in such a controversial, negative way.

1,258 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: goal, soccer, trish-oberhaus, world-cup, hand-of-god, maradona

One-handed Basketball Player

Posted by Trish18 Feb 13, 2008

Dax Crum has been playing basketball for Southern Utah University for three years. He is averaging six minutes per game for the Thunderbirds and is doing so with only one hand.

 

Crum was born with just one small finger on his right hand and has been playing basketball with one hand his whole life. He chose to walk on at Southern Utah in basketball instead of accepting a soccer scholarship and worked three jobs to pay for school until this semester.

 

Recently, he played a career-high 16 minutes, made a 3-pointer and shut down Missouri-Kansas City leading scorer Dane Brumagin.

 

“Just those 16 minutes against UMKC were worth it all to me,” he said.

 

Good luck to Dax Crum in the rest of his inspirational athletic career.

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February 2008 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Feb 5, 2008
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The Brandon (Florida) High School wrestling team's national record of 459 consecutive victories—the longest record held by any high school team in any sport and spanning nearly 34 years—has been broken. South Dade High School recently defeated Brandon, 32-28.

 

The tournament Brandon was participating in when they lost was by far the sternest challenge to their streak and was even titled the Jim Graves "Beat the Streak" Tournament. Seven of the opposing starters had placed in the state competition and had a crowd cheering, “Beat the streak!” behind them. Also, the top-four teams—Brandon being the top-ranked team—in Florida were competing.

 

While South Dade handed Brandon its first defeat since 1973, Brandon is quick to look to the future. The squad is poised to forget the loss and quickly refocus on building another impressive streak by focusing on advice from upperclassman Kevin Timothy: "Next year we start back at one."

 

Do you think any team in any high school sport will ever top Brandon’s streak?

1,634 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: high-school-sports, trish-oberhaus, wrestling, winning
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