Indiana basketball recruiting notebook: Winchester’s Sparks selects Ball State, AAU hot list
Winchester senior forward Payton Sparks recently committed to Ball State. The 6-foot-10 big fella averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds per night last season for a 17-7 Winchester club. He’s rangy, active and efficient around the rim — two blocks per game and he shoots 60 percent from the field. Sparks is the last of a dying breed in the paint, a fundamentally-sound technician with his back to the basket. His motor and coachable demeanor up the ante on the attractiveness factor. Over the spring and early summer, Sparks recruiting started to pick up steam and he rounded up a half-dozen mid-major offers.
Summer snags: July offer bucket
• Avon senior wing guard Jayden Brewer got an offer from Cleveland State.
• Franklin Central sophomore forward Jalen Hooks scooped a DePaul offer and his teammate, senior point guard Javon Small, picked up offers from Akron and IUPUI.
• The Lawrence North backcourt of senior floor general Shamar Avance and junior shooting guard C.J. Gunn were both offered by Miami (OH). The heady and hard-nosed Avance also received an offer from UT-Martin.
• Evansville Reitz sleeper senior off guard Owen Dease collected his first offer from IUPUI.
• Westfield junior point guard Braden Smith added an IUPUI offer as well.
• Marion junior wing Rasheed Jones earned an offer from the University of New Orleans.
Burney’s Offseason Hardwood Hot list
Blake Davison (Leo 6-2 Sr. G) — Fully loaded, double-barrel style, every time he walks on the court, quick trigger, lethal touch.
Jake Heidbreder (Floyd Central 6-4 Sr G) — Intelligence, toughness, handles and pro range. Everything you could want in a combo guard.
Landen Jordan (Churubusco 6-9 Sr. F) — Upside is on the moon, can be a force of nature in the frontcourt.
Thomas Latham (New Haven 6-4 Sr. G/F) — Pitbull of a slasher, grind-to-shine type.
Tai McClung (Mississinewa 6-5 Sr. F) — Tenacity personified at a forward spot, great motor and finisher, plays bigger than his size.
Pete Moe (Indianapolis Cathedral 6-9 Sr. F/C) — Really coming into his own, all the tools for success at the next level.
Joe Reidy (Woodlan 6-7 Jr. F) — All the right stuff on the wing, about to gain some serious traction in his recruiting.
Kaden Stanton (New Albany 6-0 Jr. G) — The next big thing in Southern Indiana hoops.
Pete Suder (Carmel 6-4 Jr. G) — Pure gunner, silky soft stroke, ready to erupt in the stat column next winter.
Kobe Ward (Danville 6-3 Sr. G/F) — Real diamond in the ruff, a by-any-means-necessary playmaker off the wing who oozes X-Factor in the clutch.
— SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN