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June 18, 2014

KITCHELL: Indiana All-Stars should never burn out

In the wake of yet another Indiana sweep of the long running Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series, two things became apparent last weekend.

One of those things was that it was defined as much by the presence of Indiana Miss Basketball Whitney Jennings of Logansport as it was by the absence of not only Indiana Mr. Basketball Trey Lyles of Indianapolis Tech, but fans in attendance.

If anything, the weekend was an affirmation of what those who have watched Jennings play in Logansport since her sophomore year had thought all along — this girl is so dependable that Swiss watchmakers set their own clocks to her. What makes her tick is a sheer desire to compete, to improve and ultimately to win. As star-studded a cast as the Indiana boys had this year even without Lyles, the Indiana girls team was not. Yet media reports including the Indianapolis Star Monday indicated how much Logansport should be proud of Jennings because she did all she could during the week to make the girls a force in the short amount of time afforded them to prepare.

Her dribbling has made many a defender miss throughout her career with that great first step, but it has to make many wonder if the great miss for the state is that the state’s major universities didn’t do a better job of recruiting her. She may not have played in the media epicenter of the Midwest, but at the end of the day, she appeared to be the virtually unanimous choice as the state’s top player. Critics might contend that Indiana’s girls players have sometimes underperformed as collegians, witness April McDivitt who went on to a career at Tennessee, but never really became the kind of player that many other Tennessee players have become. This year might be remembered as a time when scouts underestimated the talent that is still deep within the catacombs of the state among the driveway, barnyard and schoolyard hoops.

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