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(Sports) Mike Beas on selecting the Indiana All-Stars


Happens every year around this time. The roster for the Indiana boys All-Star Basketball Team is made public and all you know what breaks loose.

Granted, today's you-know-what can't hold a candle to the old you-know-what, if you know what I mean. Prior to 1997-98, the days the single-class music died in this state, the volume of crying and whining over this player not being made an All-Star was much, much louder.

Currently it's more of a whisper, yet it's there just the same.

Glancing at the Indiana All-Star roster, which numbers 13 and reaches from Fort Wayne to Evansville in terms of player representation, the most glaring omissions (of players I've watched play more than once) are 6-5 Winchester swingman Tyler Koch and Anderson's Troy Taylor, a 6-1 guard.

All Koch, a Wright State signee, did was lead the Golden Falcons to Class 2A championship game berths in 2007 and 2008 and a spot in the semistate last month. No biggie, right? Don't most players go 66-13 in their final three seasons of varsity ball? Or 53-20 the case was with Taylor, a future Evansville Ace who has been the steady focal point of the Indians, who compete in the brutal North Central Conference?

But as we all know, getting these two players on the All-Star Team would have meant leaving two of those who made the team off.

There is no criticism-proof formula when selecting the Indiana All-Stars, an unfortunate byproduct of there being so many outstanding senior players in this state year after year, generation after generation.

Every April a single phone call rockets kids to Cloud Nine. Countless others are heartbroken by the silence of their phone's refusal to ring. Controversy ensues, but, hey, that's Indiana.

Maybe when the whining ceases is when we should become worried.

PARTING SHOT: If Lewis Jackson is still a Purdue Boilermaker at the start of men's basketball practice sessions in the fall, there will be days he wished he wasn't.

Coach Matt Painter is fair, but no-nonsense to the core. The Purdue program is powered by one voice — Painter's. Forget the highway. It's his way. That said, the 5-9 Jackson, recently pulled over for speeding and facing charges of illegal possession and consumption of alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana, might be running wind-sprints until he's in his 30s.

Jackson better hope that's as bad as it get. If the talented point guard, Purdue's assist leader at 3.3 per game, isn't kicked off the team altogether, he surely will be suspended for several of the 2009-2010 season's non-conference contests if not more.

Why do so many high-profile college athletes continue to sign up for Bad Judgment 101? Why do they jeopardize their future while embarrassing themselves, their loved ones and the university they represent? Puzzling, to say the least. Heck, world peace might be an easier Rubik's Cube to solve.

Purdue needs Lewis Jackson, but at the same time Lewis Jackson needs Purdue. If he is allowed back, just make sure one of the Mackey Arena trash receptacles is close by at all times during practice sessions.


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