Rob Hummel is hoping the junior class can make a statement tonight.
Hummel and the rest of the Indiana Junior All-Stars will try to make it two in a row over the Indiana Seniors All-Stars when the two square off tonight at 6 p.m. local time at Valparaiso University’s Athletics-Recreation Center. Last week, the Juniors jumped out to a big early lead and cruised to a 121-107 victory over the seniors at Forest Park H.S. in Ferdinand, Ind.
“Hopefully we can win this series with the seniors and try to make a statement and show that we are one of the better classes to come out of Indiana,” Hummel said.
Of course, the Valparaiso H.S. standout knows the seniors will be looking for a bit of revenge after last Wednesday’s encounter. After the seniors dropped last week’s match-up, they bounced back three days later with a 90-74 win over the Kentucky All-Stars. Hummel expects the seniors best effort again tonight.
“They are going to be really motivated to play tonight,” Hummel said. “It’s a big game, an all-star game, and they lost in the south game. They’ll be really ready for this battle.”
The seniors will once again head into the match-up short-handed. Lawrence North H.S. standout Greg Oden, the reining Mr. Basketball and the top-ranked player in the Class of 2006, is out once again with a wrist injury. It also appears that his high school teammate, Mike Conley, might miss the game as well.
“I’ve heard Conley might miss the game, and he’s always a problem, and Oden isn’t going to be there, and he would have been a huge problem,” Hummel said.
Despite their absences, the juniors will still have plenty of roadblocks to a second straight win over the seniors. One of the biggest is Notre Dame-bound forward Luke Harangody, a 6-8, 250-pounder who had 16 points and 14 rebounds in the Indiana All-Stars win over Kentucky.
“Rebounding is going to be key, and stopping Luke from getting 100 rebounds,” Hummel said. “It’s going to be tough, but we have to keep them off the boards.”
While there’s been plenty of attention on Indiana’s crop of talent in the 2006 class thanks to the presence of Oden and Conley, among others, the juniors are turning some heads as well with not only their win over the seniors, but also their success on the AAU circuit. Among the most notable among that group of Indiana juniors are Hummel, Valparaiso H.S. teammate Scott Martin and East Chicago guard E’twaun Moore, a trio that has starred for the SYF Players AAU squad this summer. They’ll try to help produce a second straight win for the ’07 class, which would be just the fifth win in 22 tries for the 11th graders against their senior counterparts.
“I think (this junior class) is as tough a class as there is,” Hummel said. “Of course, most of the classes that come out of Indiana are really tough.”
While Hummel is preparing for tonight’s basketball encounter, he’s also in the midst of a heated recruiting battle as well, with 15 scholarship offers to date. While he’s considering out-of-state schools as well, Indiana and Purdue figure to be the two biggest players for his services. Hummel said he was in West Lafayette last week for the Purdue team camp, which his team won.
“I was supposed to call Coach Sampson today and got his voice mail, but otherwise there’s nothing new with Indiana right now,” Hummel said.