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STATE CHAMPS! SCOUT TEAM: Indiana Basketball Recruiting Notebook — Lowell’s Mantis makes it App State, Brebeuf’s Altman to UIS

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, December 31, 2020, 12:30 pm

You can start calling him “The Mountain Man.” 

Lowell senior wing Chris Mantis committed to Appalachian State last weekend, Mantis (6-foot-6) is in the midst of a quiet-but-growing-louder-by-the-day Mr. Basketball candidacy where he’s averaging a resounding 30 points, 10 boards and five assists per game. He chose Appalachian State, a small Division I program in the mountains of North Carolina, playing out of the Sun Belt Conference, over Drake, Ball State, Valparaiso, Purdue-Ft. Wayne and UI-Chicago.

Last season, Mantis pumped in 25 points per night. In a game earlier this month, he touched up the stat sheet for a career-high 48 points in a 69-57 win against Portage.

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Springing to the next level

Turning in a breakout start to his senior year on the hardwood, Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit forward Evan Altman has committed to the University of Illinois-Springfield. Altman (6-6) is scoring almost 10 points more than he did as a junior, averaging 20 points and seven rebounds a game. His performance on the AAU circuit in the offseason raised his recruiting stock and he’s leveraged that momentum for himself into the 20-21 campaign.

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And then there were four

Lake Central senior forward Kyle Ross has trimmed his college choices down to a final four. The 6-7 Ross has his list whittled to Drake, Rhode Island, IUPUI and UW-Green Bay. As a sophomore, he led Andrean to a 2A state title, dotting the scorebook for 17 points and nine rebounds per game, but left the team early in his junior year and didn’t play for most of last season. Ross’ older brother Tyler played on Lake Central’s 2014 state title team.

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From Illinois with love

Division II college coaches love Isaiah Stafford‘s game.

Stafford is shaking and baking for Indianapolis Crispus Attucks this season, having brought his Chi-Town swagger to the Hoosier State in large doses. With Stafford at the helm of the offense, Attucks is 9-1. Landing in the Circle City this fall from Bolingbrook, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the 6-2 guard is wowing Indy hoop fans by averaging 18 points, four assists and four rebounds a night for the defending city champs.

Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Southern Indiana are the DII programs recruiting Stafford the hardest. Southern Indiana competes in the GLVC, while Ferris State (2018 National Champion) and Northern Michigan play in the GLIAC.