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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Grueling Truth's Top 10 Sports Lists / Top 20 Indiana High School Basketball players of all time

Top 20 Indiana High School Basketball players of all time: Big O, Larry, Damon and more

Publish Date: 03/16/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
Source: NBA.com

This list is based solely on what these guys did in their high school basketball careers. If it were based on everything, Oscar and Bird would be one, two, in whichever order you want to put them.

Criteria

Personal accomplishments and stats are huge here, but also the long-lasting impact of what these players did plays a vital part in making up this list.

20) Dave Colescott, Marion

Colescott led Marion to a pair of state titles in 1975 and 1976 and finished his three-year varsity career with 1,529 points for a 20.1 average. The Giants were 64-17 in those three seasons, including 28-1 his junior year. Colescott earned Mr. Basketball honors in Indiana his senior year and also won the Trester Award, making him one of only three players in state history to win both awards and a state title in the same year. Colescott went on to play at North Carolina, but injuries ruined what could have been a great college career.

Video: 1976 IHSAA State Championship: Marion 82, Rushville 76

1976 IHSAA State Championship: Marion 82, Rushville 76

19) Fuzzy Vandiver, Franklin

Vandivier ranks as the first great player in Indiana basketball history, leading Franklin’s Wonder Five to three-straight titles in the early 1920s and earning all-state honors each time. He is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

18) Louie Dampier, Southport

Coach Blackie Braden’s 1963 county and sectional champion team saw him average 24 points per game, setting sectional scoring records of 40 for one game and 114 overall. When playing under Adolph Rupp at Kentucky he earned three All-Conference honors as well as All-American (in 1966) and Academic All-American status, reaching NCAA title game while later setting the ABA all-time points, 3-pointers, assists, and minutes before moving over for three seasons with the NBA San Antonio Spurs.

17) Greg Oden, Lawrence North

Oden teamed with Mike Conley to win three-straight State Championships at Lawrence North, but it was Oden who claimed all of the postseason honors. Oden, a 7-0 center, was named Mr. Indiana in 2006 and he also earned National Player of the Year honors as a junior and a senior. He played one season at Ohio State, teaming with Conley to lead the Buckeyes to the NCAA Finals against Florida. He was the No. 1 pick of the Portland Trailblazers in 2007, but injuries destroyed what could have been a great pro career.

Video: Greg Oden - Lawrence North High School - Highlights/Interview - Sports Stars of Tomorrow

Greg Oden – Lawrence North High School – Highlights/Interview – Sports Stars of Tomorrow

16) Jimmy Rayl, Kokomo

Rayl was born in Kokomo, Indiana and attended Kokomo High School from 1956 to 1959. During his senior year he earned the distinction of becoming Indiana Mr. Basketball as well as receiving the Trester Award for the state of Indiana’s outstanding athlete.

Video: Remembering Jimmy Rayl's fantastic basketball life

Remembering Jimmy Rayl’s fantastic basketball life

15) Ray Pavy, New Castle

Two times named All-Section and All-Regional, Pavy helped write Indiana basketball history when he met Jimmy Rayl in a legendary “Church Street Shootout”. Pavy hit 23 of 36 shots and 5 of 8 free throws for 51 points in that unforgettable matchup that would become known as the “Church Street Shootout”. Throughout his career, he earned 1190 career points while captaining the Indiana All-Star team.

Video: DASA 2017: Ray Pavy

DASA 2017: Ray Pavy

14) Ron Bonham, Muncie Central

As a senior, his average of 28 points per game earned him Indiana’s “Mr Basketball” award as he led his team to the state runner-up spot. As a senior, he made two first-team All-Indiana selections and was named MVP of both Indiana and Kentucky all-star games.

He graduated in 1960 as Muncie Central’s all-time leading scorer with 2,023 points, making him the all-time leading scorer for Muncie Central and all of Indiana.

Video: 1960 IHSAA State Championship: East Chicago Washington 75, Muncie Central 59

1960 IHSAA State Championship: East Chicago Washington 75, Muncie Central 59

13) Jay Edwards, Marion

Edwards helped Marion win three straight state titles from 1985-87. At 6-4, Edwards was a swingman who netted 1,860 points in his career for a 19.0 average. The Giants posted an outstanding 85-4 record in his three seasons on the varsity squad, and he shared Mr Basketball honors in Indiana with teammate Lyndon Jones. Edwards enjoyed a sparkly two years at Indiana before entering the NBA draft.

Video: 1987 IHSAA State Championship: Marion 69, Richmond 56

1987 IHSAA State Championship: Marion 69, Richmond 56

12) Larry Bird, Spring Valley

Starring for Springs Valley High School and averaging 31 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 assists as a senior on his way to becoming the school’s all-time scoring leader. Why is Bird at number 7? While he was a great player, his achievements in High School at Springs Valley are nowhere near the players listed above him. With that being said, he was an all-time great player in High School, at what he achieved at the college and pro levels cannot be overlooked.

Video: Larry Bird Springs Valley High School highlights

Larry Bird Springs Valley High School highlights

11) Steve Alford, New Castle

New Castle High School’s all-time single game and career scoring leader with 57 points in 1983 semi-state; 2,116 career points… Two years all-state, three years all-NCC… 1983, Mr Basketball!

Video: 1983 Semi-State Broad Ripple vs New Castle classic Indiana basketball

1983 Semi-State Broad Ripple vs New Castle classic Indiana basketball

10) Zach Randolph, Marion

Randolph was raised in Marion, Indiana and attended Marion High School under Moe Smedley as a coach. While in high school, he led his Marion Giants team to victory at Indiana Class 4A Championship Game in 1998 before leading them again to the state finals in his senior season.

Video: 2000 IHSAA Class 4A State Championship: Marion 62, Bloomington North 56

2000 IHSAA Class 4A State Championship: Marion 62, Bloomington North 56

9) Bobby Plump, Milan

The glory days of Indiana High School basketball were the 1950s, and there was no bigger hero at that time than Bobby Plump. Plump hit the shot at the buzzer to win Milan that state title. Plump also led the Indians to a double-digit win in the 54-state tournament over Oscar Robertson and Crispus Attucks. Plump had a great career at Butler and will go down as maybe the biggest legend in the history of Hoosier Hysteria.

Video: Milan Miracle - 50th anniversary

Milan Miracle – 50th anniversary

8) Scott Skiles, Plymouth

Skiles was a big game player, and if it weren’t for the 1954 Milan Indians and Bobby Plump, Skiles’ team’s championship would be most remembered throughout the state. 1982 he led Plymouth to an improbable State Championship, beating heavily favored Gary Roosevelt in double overtime. Skiles hit a 22-foot jump shot at the buzzer in the State Title win to send the game into overtime.

Plymouth won in two overtimes, with Skiles scoring 39 points. He led the state in scoring his senior year with 29.2 points per game and scored 1,788 career points. He went on to star at Michigan State, where he was the National Player of the Year before enjoying a long and distinguished NBA career.

Video: April 18, 1982 - Scott Skiles Commits to Michigan State

April 18, 1982 – Scott Skiles Commits to Michigan State

7) Glenn Robinson, Gary Roosevelt

The Big Dog! Glenn Robinson was a member of three IHSAA Sectional Title teams, two Regional Title teams, and a State Championship team. During his senior season (1990–91), he led the Panthers to an Indiana State Basketball Championship, winning the final game against Brebeuf Jesuit and their star Alan Henderson. This highly anticipated showdown was captured in The Road to Indianapolis. Robinson won the 1991 Indiana Mr. Basketball award. He was selected as a McDonald’s All-American and along with Chris Webber, was one of the MVPs of the Dapper Dan Roundball classic. He had a great college career at Purdue and in the NBA.

Video: Glenn Robinson vs Brebeuf 91’ State Championship Game!

Glenn Robinson vs Brebeuf 91’ State Championship Game!

6) Marion Pierce, Lewisville

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Marion Pierce struck fear into the hearts of every team that faced off against him.

From 1958 to 1961, Pierce played for Lewisville High School under the nickname of “Henry County Hurricane” and proved himself a formidable basketball player by setting an all-time scoring record of 3,019 points – which stood until Damon Bailey broke it in 1961. As one of Indiana’s greatest schoolboy legends, Pierce made history as both player and coach at Lewisville.

5) Shawn Kemp, Concord

Kemp was dominant for the 1988 Concord basketball team leading them to the state finals. He was drafted with the 17th pick in the NBA draft. His athleticism was unmatched, and he had the power inside game to go with it. Kemp was a freak of nature as a basketball player.

Video: Shawn Kemp: Before The Reign (Mini-Documentary)

Shawn Kemp: Before The Reign (Mini-Documentary)

4) Damon Bailey, Bedford North Lawrence

Bailey was being recruited in junior high school by Bob Knight and Bailey was all the rage in the Hoosier state. Remember the hype surrounding Romeo Langford? This was even bigger and no social media existed. Bailey played to sold out houses no matter where he played in his 4 years as a star. He single-handily led Bedford to three Final Four appearances and won the 1990 State Title at the Hoosier Dome in front of more than 41,000 people. He broke the state career scoring record his senior year, finishing with 3,134 points. Besides winning Mr. Indiana honors, he was also the National Player of the Year by several media outlets. In four years at Indiana University, Bailey finished fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,741 points and, first, 380 3-pointers.

Video: 1990 Indiana High School Basketball Final (Entire 4th Quarter) Damon Bailey

1990 Indiana High School Basketball Final (Entire 4th Quarter) Damon Bailey

3) Rick Mount, Lebanon

In 1966 Mount was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine while he was still in high school. Mount goes down as maybe the greatest shooter in Indiana Basketball history. He was named the No. 1 player in the country and averaged 30.1 points per game as a junior and a senior. His 2,595 career points still rank fourth in Indiana state history. He went on to have an outstanding college career at Purdue, averaging over 30 points in three-straight seasons, including 35.4 his senior year. He scored 2,323 in his college career, but signed with the ABA in 1970 and was unable to find the same success there that he had in college. The legend of Rick Mount will live on for as long as people are dribbling a basketball in Indiana.

Video: Rick Mount in High School

Rick Mount in High School

2) George McGinnis, Indianapolis Washington

As a senior McGinnis led the Continentals to a State Championship with 35 points and 27 rebounds in the finals, capping a 31-0 season. For his career, McGinnis scored 2,075 points and grabbed 1,638 rebounds. He was named the National Player of the Year by Basketball News in 1969. McGinnis was also a big-time football player and was All-State as a receiver. McGinnis may well be the best athlete in Indiana high school sports history.

He only played one year at Indiana University, declared hardship at the end of his freshman season, and signed with the Indiana Pacers of the ABA. He was the ABA Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Pacers to the ABA Championship. He later played for the Philadelphia 76ers and enjoyed an 11-year professional career.

Video: Tom Carnegie and The 1969 Washington Continentals and George McGinnis

Tom Carnegie and The 1969 Washington Continentals and George McGinnis

1) Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks

Name an honor or an award and Oscar Robertson has probably won it. He was a three-time NCAA Player of the Year in the late 1950s. He led the United States to a Gold Medal in the 1960 Olympics. He won two State Championships in high school. He won an NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. He ranks as one of the all-time leading scorers in NCAA and NBA history.

He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. He was named the “Player of the Century” in 2000 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He is also in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. As a sophomore Roberston lost to Milan with a chance to advance to the Final 4, from there on out, the Attucks won back-to-back State Titles and only lost one regular-season game to Connersville.

Robertson led the Attucks, the first all-black team, to an Indiana State Title and the Attucks were also the first team from Indianapolis to win it all.

Video: Oscar Robertson 39 points, 7 reb, 6a (1956 IHSAA Championship - Full Highlights)

Oscar Robertson 39 points, 7 reb, 6a (1956 IHSAA Championship – Full Highlights)

 

Honorable mention

Cody Zeller, Washington

The 6-11 Zeller completed an unprecedented run for his family by becoming the third of Luke (2005) and Tyler (2008) to receive Mr Basketball honors. He earned this accolade in 2011 following an average 24.0 points-and-13.5 rebound performance during his senior year at Washington, leading them to consecutive Class 3A state titles (2010-11). Zeller primarily operated inside in high school but showed his versatility by amassing 1,539 career points, outscoring both brothers with 846 total rebounds total.

Kyle Macy, Peru

Peru High School under under Bob, his Hall-of-Famer father; scored 2,137 points during H.S. career; won Mr Basketball 1975… freshman year at Purdue; three-year University of Kentucky career highlighted with Pan Am Gold Medal, Academic All-American 1978, All-SEC 1978-80 (excluding Mid East Regional MVP 1978 and Academic All-SEC 1978 ) Mid East Regional MVP 1978 was Academic All-SEC as was SEC Tourney MVP 1979 (excluding Mid East Region MVP 1978); Leadership Award three years, MVP 1979 and 1980 (excluding SEC Tourney MVP 1979); SEC Male Athlete of the Year 1980 (including SEC Male Athlete of Year 1980); All-American 1979-80 during which his tenure at University. of Kentucky which saw 1 National Title victory, 2 SEC championship wins & 2 tournament runnerup finishes

Junior Bridgeman, EC Washington

Bridgeman was part of the Washington High School Senators basketball team, which went undefeated (29-0) and won the Indiana state high school basketball championship that year. His teammates included his brother Sam, Pete Trgovich (who later went on to UCLA), and Tim Stoddard from North Carolina State. Bridgeman had an excellent NBA career.

Bob Slick Leonard, Terre Haute Gerstmeyer

At Terre Haute Gerstmeyer High School he excelled as an all-around athlete…alternate on Indiana All-Star Team…state Tennis Champion as Senior in 1950…2 time All American at Indiana University…captain of their 1953 National Champions…2 Big ten championship teams captained.7 Year NBA career with 11 NBA Pro League stints….also coach Pro ranks

Gordon Hayward, Brownsburg

Hayward was an outstanding senior player during 2007-08. As an average of 18.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game he led Brownsburg to win the Indiana Class 4A state title by scoring 19 points himself; teammate Julian Mavunga made key contributions as they beat Marion High School 40-39 with Hayward making the game-winning basket at the buzzerof championship game!

Rick Fox, Warsaw

Fox was predicted to enjoy an outstanding senior season at Warsaw High School; however, shortly before starting that season the Indiana High School Athletic Association ruled he no longer qualified due to having completed eight semesters between the Bahamas and Indiana and therefore was ineligible for further IHSAA games. Even so, despite not playing his senior year, he was nonetheless chosen for the Indiana All-Star team in 1987.

Tom and Dick Van Arsdale, Manuel

Tom and Dick were co-Mr. Basketballs in ’61. They had great playing careers at IU and solid ones in the NBA. Tom was named to three All-Star teams and holds the NBA record for most games played without making a playoff appearance. Probably the greatest identical twins in Basketball history, but I don’t think that a lot of competition exists in that category.

Clyde Lovellette, Terre Haute Garfield

A dominating 6-9 center with Terre Haute Garfield. As a junior in 1947, he led his team to the state runner-up spot, scoring 25 points in a losing effort against Shelbyville. Clyde was All-State, 3 time All-Conference and All-Wabash Valley, and a 3-time All-American at Kansas, where he twice led NCAA in scoring. His Jayhawks won the National Title in ’52 and Lovellette was named NCAA Player of the Year and MVP in the ’52 NCAA tourney. He went on to win Olympic Gold and 3 NBA Championships.

 

 

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