Saturday was a special day for seniors at Columbus North High School in Columbus, Indiana, as their four years of hard work culminated with graduation day. The afternoon was special for another reason: Vermont signee Josh Speidel, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in early February, was able to graduate with his fellow seniors.
Speidel, who was released from the hospital less than two weeks ago, received his diploma as the entire crowd rose to give him a standing ovation. As he continues to recover from the injuries suffered in the accident, Speidel will defer his enrollment at Vermont until 2016.
Speidel was an Associated Press third team all-state selection, and he was named to the Indiana All-Star team that will take on Kentucky’s All-Star team in two games next weekend.
Video credit: RTV6/The Indy Channel
Top 25 2014 prospect Goodluck Okonoboh commits to UNLV
6-foot-9 power forward/center Goodluck Okonoboh has transformed himself into one of the nation’s premier big men over the last year, going from a player who was merely on the radar of some of the nation’s best programs to a highly sought-after front court prospect. On Thursday evening Okonoboh announced where he would be attending college next season, verbally committing to attend UNLV on national television.
Okonoboh, a Woburn, Mass. native who attends Wilbraham & Monson Academy, picked Dave Rice’s program over Indiana and Ohio State. He joins highly-regarded small forward Dwayne Morgan in UNLV’s 2014 recruiting class, and his ability as a defender is something the Runnin’ Rebels will certainly be able to use next season.
UNLV is certain to lose Carlos Lopez-Sosa from their front court at the end of the 2013-14 season since he’s a senior, with UConn transfer Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch having another year of eligibility remaining. Okonoboh would join those two, with current freshmen Jamal Aytes, Demetris Morant (redshirted last season) and Christian Wood also in the competition for minutes.
Okonoboh took his official visit to UNLV this past weekend, and he cited his relationship with coach Rice as one of the deciding factors. Here are a few highlights of Okonoboh in action.
Just three days after announcing that freshman wing Troy Williams would be sidelined due to an injured right hand, Indiana announced on Thursday that fellow freshman Luke Fischer would be out for a “few weeks” after spraining his left shoulder in a scrimmage. Fischer, who earned Mr. Basketball and Gatorade state Player of the Year honors in Wisconsin last year, is a 6-11 big man expected to factor into the Hoosiers’ accounting for the departure of Cody Zeller.
“Luke has made great strides and was playing with great confidence,” Crean said in a statement according to the Indianapolis Star. “He was being aggressive in his pursuit for the basketball when it happened.”
Of course there are other personnel losses for the Hoosiers to address as they look to repeat as Big Ten regular season champions, including Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls. But the center position is the spot where the Hoosiers are least experienced. Zeller finished the 2012-13 season with a possession percentage of 26.6%, and his offensive rating of 119.4 ranked second in the Big Ten behind Michigan’s Trey Burke (per kenpom.com).
Can Fischer and/or sophomore Peter Jurkin give Indiana a formidable option at center? Even with the return of Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey and the addition of a talented recruiting class headlined by 6-10 forward Noah Vonleh, Indiana will need their two young centers to hold their own inside if they’re to build on last season’s success.