Gaining ground fast


INDIANAPOLIS — Around this time last year, Greenfield-Central’s Tate Hall had big-league dreams.

A multi-sport athlete with talents that transcended hoops and hardball, summers were primarily reserved for building bat speed and pitching velocity.

Not anymore.

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Taking a good, hard look at the numbers last fall, Hall realized he had to make a change, and it meant a commitment to one and not the other.

“It was very difficult. I loved (baseball), but it was just one of those things that I knew I had to do,” said Hall, a Cougars’ senior-to-be. “In baseball, they don’t give full rides. They mostly give you partial, and I wanted to see if I could earn a full boat, so I decided to focus on basketball.”

His decision already has paid dividends.

Listed as a 6-foot-5 forward, Hall initially picked up his first college offer from Northern Kentucky last September. After his junior basketball season ended, the University of Indianapolis contacted him with an offer in May.

Putting his baseball career at Greenfield-Central on hiatus this past spring and parting ways with the Indiana Bulls, Hall joined Grassroots Indiana, jumping into the AAU circuit full time on their U17 squad.

The exposure gained the past few months has elevated his stock even more, netting another offer from Maryville in St. Louis and interest from Nova Southeastern, Northern Illinois, Alabama-Huntsville, Western Illinois, and UNC-Greensboro.

While at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis last week, he gained the attention of Lipscomb and Hillsdale.

“Tate really wanted to make a full commitment and make a run at basketball. There are a lot of kids that say they’re going to be fully committed and then only go half in, but he’s done an unbelievable job,” Greenfield-Central head coach Michael Lewis said.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach different kids that have played at different levels of college, and I’ve never been around a kid that works harder than Tate Hall. … The biggest difference in him picking up interests from colleges, is his work ethic.”

The continuing development of his overall game has swayed onlooking recruiters as well.

Already an established scorer, Hall averaged 15.6 points per game last year. In his first full varsity season as a sophomore, Hall carried a 14.8 ppg average.

In 25 games last winter, Hall reached 26 points twice, recorded two double-doubles and scored 15-plus in 16 contests. On Jan. 24, he put up a season-high 27 points against Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Shelbyville.

His offensive consistency, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game medians secured an All-HHC first-team selection, All-Hancock County distinction and his second straight IBCA All-State Underclassmen honorable mention.

This summer, however, he’s focused more on defense, passing and playing at a higher level without the ball — even if it means sacrificing shot attempts.

“There are some colleges coaches that are under the illusion that he’s just a shooter, but when you watch Tate play, he has a great feel for the game. He can really see the court,” Lewis said. “He has a great toughness for the game, too. He’s not afraid to get in there and bang with guys bigger than him. He’s a really solid player.”

And he comes by it honestly.

His mother, Noelle (Young) Hall was an Indiana All-Star at Rushville and played at Indiana University from 1984-86. The two-year letterwinner’s best collegiate season was in 1985-86 with coach Jorja Hoehn. As a starter, she averaged 7.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 62 percent from the field.

Tate Hall said he would like nothing more than to carry on the family’s legacy at the next level, a goal he’s working to achieve at every opportunity.

“I want to improve and keep getting better and better,” Tate Hall remarked on his career aspirations. “I really want to be a more consistent shooter and an all-around threat.”

If he does, Hall hopes more offers will materialize before the early signing period in November — along with more wins for the Cougars in 2015-16.

Without a winning season since 2003-04, the varsity team currently has five players competing on AAU teams this summer. Both coach Lewis and Hall said they believe the experience should help the program breakthrough after a 10-15 record in 2014-15.

It’s a matter of gaining ground, and Hall is doing his part.

“A lot of kids look at individual goals, but I think the ultimate for Tate is he wants the team to compete for a sectional championship,” Lewis said. “That’s the thing that impresses me the most. Tate can have eight or 10 points, but as long as we win, he’s happy. He’s a team kid.”

Before than Hall intends to have his future set, so he can dedicate his undivided attention on his prep finale and, more importantly, his team’s ambitions.

“I’m planning on taking some visits in August and September,” he said. “I’m going to see what happens, but no matter what I will commit before senior season. I want it off my shoulders and have a good senior season.”

As for his mid-80s fastball and passion for shagging fly balls, Hall’s not ruling out anything this coming spring.

“I didn’t play this year, but it’s my senior year,” the former outfielder and pitcher remarked. “I want to get back out there. I plan to play again.”

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Tate Hall

School: Greenfield-Central

AAU Team: Grassroots Indiana

Age: 17

Parents: Rob and Noelle (Young) Hall

Siblings: Taylor Hall (IUPUI), sister

Favorite Movie: “The Longest Yard”

When I’m not playing basketball: “I hang out with my friends. We play a lot of video games.”

Favorite video game: NBA2K

If you could go pro, you would be an: “Indiana Pacers. That’s my team”

I am always pulling for the: Indiana Hoosiers

Favorite NBA player: Kobe Bryant

Approach to life: “Make every day count. Get one percent better every day, so you can reach your potential.”