Bloomington – New Albany (Ind.) standout Donnie Hale didn't have to wait long to find out he'd be a major Division I recruiting target.
Soon after the conclusion of his freshman season, the 6'7", 190-pounder received an invitation from Xavier to attend one of its summer Elite Camps. During his sophomore season, members of Purdue Coach Matt Painter's staff were frequent visitors to the New Albany gym to watch him in action.
Now, less than one month into his job, IU Coach Tom Crean has already been in contact with New Albany Coach Jim Shannon about his blossoming talent.
"Indiana has already talked to my coaches and said they are looking to recruit me," Hale said.
So what is it that has three major programs already jockeying for position with Hale? He's efficient on the offensive end, a defensive stopper on the defensive end, and he's quickly emerging as one of the state's elite players in the 2010 class.
Hale helped lead New Albany to a 26-1 record, a No. 1 Class 4A state ranking, and a regional championship by averaging 12.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 blocks this past season. While his block total ranked seventh in the state, he also shot 65.1 percent from the floor (125-of-192) to rank 11th in the state in that category as well.
He caught plenty of people's attention at the Hall of Fame Classic in late December when he earned tourney MVP honors by scoring a combined 35 points to lead his team to wins over Marion and Batesville, a couple of teams that feature Division I prospects such as Colt Ryan (Batesville), Julius Mays (Marion) and Scott Wood (Marion).
Due to his size he's used primarily in the post at the prep level, but he's also working on adding a face-up game with the idea that he'll be a power forward at the collegiate level. He's working on that this summer as he plays on the Spiece Indy Heat 17-and-under squad.
"I'm playing up (in AAU) just to work on my aggressiveness, being stronger and being able to play at a higher level," Hale said.
Hale figures to get a chance to play at a level of his choosing when it comes to college basketball. While he hasn't received any scholarship offers yet, that figures to change as he continues to build his reputation as one of the state's best big men next season.
"It's really exciting to think I'll have a chance to play major college basketball because it's what I've always wanted to do," Hale said. "I've worked so hard to be able to do that, and having to play something other than Division I would have been a big disappointment."
The only disappointment figures to come for the programs that Hale passes on when it comes time to make a college decision. That time figures to still be a ways off since he still has a couple of years of high school basketball, but Hale is already thinking about the possibility of staying relatively close to home.
"That would be real nice to be able to stay local so my family can see me," Hale said. "I'm really family oriented, so if I can stay close they can see a lot of games."
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Bloomington – New Albany H.S. big man Donnie Hale didn't get a scholarship offer when he made on…