INDIANAPOLIS — The last time CJ Coleman, Steve Lynch and Bryant McIntosh held the same court, a semistate championship and a berth in the 3A State Finals was on the line.
McIntosh and Greensburg got the better of Coleman and Lynch-coached Mt. Vernon back on March 16, winning 62-37 en route to a state championship.
The trio’s next encounter didn’t have hardware on the line, but the circumstances were certainly stranger.
During a scrimmage at the recent Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/IHSAA Top 100 Boys Basketball Showcase at Ben Davis, Coleman’s Maroon Team went up against McIntosh’s Navy Team, a squad co-coached by Lynch, who left for Brownsburg in April.
“I didn’t put it together until we played. It was interesting. Bryant is a good kid,” said Lynch, who went 103-52 in seven seasons at MV. “We had some banter about our semistate game and had a catch-up about recruiting and other stuff.”
Coleman, who remains close with Lynch and was an Indiana Junior All-Star with McIntosh, agreed that the contest was a bit unusual.
“It was a little weird, my old coach and (McIntosh) being from the same team that we lost to,” he said. “But, I just go out there, have fun and play ball.”
Lynch went on to praise the improvement he’s seen from the two in-demand talents. Coleman has seven Division I offers, while McIntosh acquired 10 new scholarship offers — Creighton, Florida State, Iowa, Memphis Northwestern, West Virginia and Xavier are among the programs pursuing the 6-3 point guard — since decommitting from Indiana State on July 8.
“Any good player has a really good understanding of how to play,” Lynch said. “For kids to have that much basketball knowledge and be able to share it…I was very impressed with the way CJ and Bryant have developed since the end of the season.”
Three months into his tenure with the Bulldogs, Lynch praised the “buy-in” of his new players, mentioning that the program had around 24 opportunities to play or practice in June.
Since the Gordon Hayward-led squad won the 4A state title in 2008, Brownsburg owns just one sectional victory and two winning seasons.
With another star in the making, the Bulldogs are on the upswing.
Rising junior K.J. Walton has enjoyed a strong summer playing for 2015 Spiece Indy Heat. The athletic 6-3 guard already sports offers from Illinois State and Xavier.
“He’s been great, he wants to be good and that requires a lot of time and work,” explained Lynch, who will be Brownsburg’s third coach in three years. “He’s been good on working on things outside of the gym. It’s been noticeable from April to now that he’s gotten better, and other coaches have said that to me as well.
“He really wants to be good. We gave him ample things to work on and he’s done a good job.”
Guerin Catholic could be Greensburg’s biggest threat
The Pirates return their top three scorers — McIntosh plus forwards Sean Sellers and Ryan Welage — from their state title team for 2013-14.
With Mt. Vernon losing its coach, key on-court contributors in Anthony Burnett and Stephen Turner and moving up to 4A, a team from its old sectional could take MV’s place as Greensburg’s chief competition for the 3A state crown: Guerin Catholic.
The Golden Eagles were felled 37-30 in the Sectional 26 semifinals by MV last season, but won the 3A state title in 2012.
Guerin returns its top four scorers from a year ago, three of which were present at the Top 100 camp: 6-6 combo forward Aaron Brennan, 6-2 guard Whit Rapp and 6-5 forward Cris Burrough.
Brennan is the headliner of the bunch after averaging 17.5 points and nine rebounds in 2012-13. He owns nine Division I offers, including two from Ivy League programs (Columbia, Cornell) and a pair from inside the Hoosier State (Indiana State, IUPUI).
Coach Pete Smith, who directed the Top 100 camp, and his Guerin team will also receive a boost from junior-to-be Matt Holba, a 6-6 transfer from Chesterton.
At the Top 100 camp, Holba — owner of offers from Providence and Valparaiso — was active and physical around the basket despite his slight frame.
Coleman was far from the only representative from the Hoosier Heritage Conference at the Top 100 camp.
Pendleton Heights’ Sean McDermott, Shelbyville’s Adam Eads and Yorktown’s Riley Miller and Caleb Morey were in action at Ben Davis.
McDermott, a rising junior, is drawing the inevitable Kellen Dunham comparisons as a tall, slender shooter. Dunham is a former Arabian who saw major minutes as a freshman at Butler last season.
Playing alongside Walton for Spiece, McDermott has done well enough this summer to elicit scholarship offers from Illinois State and New Orleans.
Abe Haler, whose New Castle Trojans will be a full HHC member beginning with the 2014-15 school year, showed well at Top 100 too. The junior-to-be played with Coleman’s Maroon team, and during one scrimmage, his hot shooting turned a close game early in the second half into a blowout victory for the Maroon.