Indiana Basketball All Star Classic Returns to AU

Hoops, Happiness and Success

by: Mike Beas, Excel H Sports/Columnist

Kaycie Warfel won’t necessarily be experiencing a home-court advantage, but it’s close.

The senior-to-be from Pendleton Heights High School is one of the talents to be showcased at the 16th annual Indiana Basketball All-Star Classic on June 14-15 at Anderson University.

“I look forward to playing basketball with a lot of the best players from around the state and developing friendships,” said the 5-foot-9 Warfel, who averaged 25.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and a jaw-dropping 5.6 steals in leading the Arabians to a 15-10 record last season.

“It’s good to get in there and play against some of the best talent.
Hoops platforms such as these games are valuable vehicles for girls and boys basketball players aspiring to play at the next level.

The first day will be devoted to boys competition, while the girls take the court the second day.

To say previous All-Star Classics have served as a viable stepping stone would be the slam dunk of understatements.

A total of 22 former All-Star Classic players took part in this past season’s NCAA, NIT and CBI men’s collegiate postseason tournaments. The number of women’s players (35) proved even more impressive.

Now throw in NAIA, Division II and Division III tournaments, and that number increases significantly.

The event started in 2009 with it taking place inside venerable Chrysler Fieldhouse in New Castle the first five years. College coaches expressed interest in watching prospective collegiate players compete on a college court, which explains the move to Anderson University.

Like any undertaking, there has been some modifying of the product through the years, including the addition of Futures games in 2017.

Purdue Polytechnic girls coach Latrice Crawford, who has been in charge of the Techie’s program since it started the 2019-2020 season, has three of her players taking part in this year’s event.

A pair of incoming seniors, guard Tayler Denton and wing Camile Starks, will be looking to display their talents, as will Te’Asia Briscoe, a 5-foot-10 forward who’ll be a sophomore.

The All-Star Classic shines a spotlight on this and other programs, even if only for a short time.

“It’s a huge deal. Just watching how popular it’s gotten, and how much it’s grown,” said Crawford, a 1999 Indianapolis Tech graduate whose playing career earned her a spot in the 2023 class inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It provides a lot of opportunities, especially for the smaller schools to get that exposure.”

The Indiana basketball landscape has said both hello and goodbye to numerous all-star events, the latter due to an inability to somehow endure in the face of societal change.

What Steve Stremming, founder of Excel High School Sports, has managed to accomplish with the annual Indiana Basketball All-Star Classic never ceases to deliver.

“Number One, it’s free for the kids playing. There are other all-star games out there, but there might be a $100 fee to play,” said Perry Meridian boys coach Mark McFarland, who bring two of his players to take part in Futures games – guards Bryce Mathis and Kayden Hobdy. “It’s a centralized location, and the Anderson University gym is a good place to play.

“Steve has done a really good job building relationships with coaches around the state. The people he’s talking to trust him with their players. We’ve had really good players there over the last 15 years. The games are really good, and really competitive.”

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