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Hutton: 10 questions about the NWI boys basketball season

HuttMichael 2004  Post-Tribune sportswriter Michael Hutton

Hutton, Michael 2004 Post-Tribune sportswriter Michael Hutton

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Updated: December 20, 2012 6:24AM



Stuff I know and a few questions and answers about the state of high school basketball in Northwest Indiana. I can’t help speaking up. It’s what I do for a living ...

What do you make of the migration/departures of 11 coaches in the region? You need a road map and a bottle of aspirin to figure out who is gone and why they left. Here goes.

Randy Wiesner replaced Marvin Topper at Covenant Christian in DeMotte.

Gary Hayes took over for Justin Fornek after he moved into the administration at Griffith.

Larry Moore Jr. replaced Johnny Ryan after one season at Hammond High.

Bryon Clouse jumped from Lake Station to Hanover Central, replacing Rod Bollenbacher, who departed after his son Nick graduated.

Jordan Heckard, a Valparaiso High School graduate, replaced Eddie Fierek at Highland. Fierek just needed a break.

Chris McGovern replaced Todd Boldry at Knox. Boldry was fired after he was charged with child seduction.

Bob Burke took over for Clouse at Lake Station. Burke was an assistant at Hanover Central before playing musical chairs with Clouse.

Eric Braden replaced Matt Bush at Morgan Township. Bush left because he was burned out and then took over at Purdue North Central after working for John Boyd at Michigan City briefly.

Kevin Dermody is the new man at Morton after Ben Chinn was charged with child seduction.

Renaldo Thomas is back at his alma mater Roosevelt after Larry McKissack departed when Edison Learning took over. Thomas last coached at Lew Wallace two seasons ago.

Murray Richards finally got his chance at West Side. Richards, an assistant for John Boyd at Michigan City, replaced Winston Garland, who moved to Tennessee.

My opinion on the movement? Randomness. Just one of those years when there was lots of transition at the same time. Probably won’t happen again next year.

Will more retired coaches, like Gary Hayes, get back into coaching? Hard to say. Hayes is pretty much the exception, not the rule, in this year of a new, old coach. It’s still a huge deal to coach high school basketball in Indiana. The best programs are still going to get whoever they want to coach their team.

What do you think of Bowman’s Davon Dillard? I don’t know, man. Can’t we at least wait until he plays a varsity game for the Eagles before deciding if North Carolina, Duke and all those schools chasing him know what they’re doing? I am excited to watch, but I can’t put a guy on my preseason all-area team if he hasn’t played a varsity game yet.

Who has the most amazing Division I scholarship offer? That easily goes to Jake Raspopovich, who averaged four points, two rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season and got a full ride to Texas Pan-American. Raspopovich was so impressive in an AAU game last summer that he essentially received an offer on the spot. If it doesn’t work out in basketball, Raspopovich can always segue into football, where he is likely to be an NWI player of the year winner.

Who is the most underappreciated, unheralded player in Northwest Indiana? I’m going with Charles Cooper of Lew Wallace. Very impressive performance for him in his last game of last season against Mishawaka Marian, home school for Demetrius Jackson, a four-star point guard who’ll play at Notre Dame next year. Cooper had 24 points and nine rebounds against the Knights. The Hornets almost won, too. They were up 10 in the second half, but couldn’t hang on.

Will Lake Central be almost as good without Glenn Robinson III? Yes, I believe that because Tyler Wideman (appropriately named) and Mike Mikulsak, both 6-6 wide bodies, will be a hard combination to stop along with point guard Tye Wilburn.

Who are player of the year candidates? Hyron Edwards of East Chicago, Nick Davidson of Andrean, Wideman and Cooper. That’s just a start. Plenty of time for other guys to work their way into the picture.

Who are the best region teams in each class? Let’s go with Marquette in Class 1A, Bowman in 2A, Andrean in 3A and Lake Central in 4A.

Which Renaldo will we see? Expect to see a more muted, buttoned down public approach from Thomas as he starts to build a new program at Roosevelt, which now operates under the auspice of Edison Learning.

Will there be a new tournament format in basketball? There needs to be. If there is, it won’t happen soon. Last year’s barn-storming tour of the state by Senator Mike Delph of Carmel was helpful in this respect: There is a buzz about the lack of buzz that the state tournament has created the last few seasons.

Attendance was at an all-time low last year with just 22,870 fans at the state championship. Delph held forums across the state to try to gauge public interest in reverting back to the single class format. That won’t happen ever again, but the current four-class format needs to be changed.



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