Early in the boy's prep basketball season, there are lots of questions about the Fort Wayne-area teams. Here are five things that fans will learn this weekend:
1. How healthy is James Blackmon Jr.?
It has been over nine months since the Bishop Luers junior tore his ACL against Indianapolis Arsenal Tech last February. The Knights were never the same after Blackmon Jr.'s injury, going 2-3 the rest of the season, including a loss to Adams Central in sectionals.
Blackmon Jr. is a young, tough kid, but will his knee be 100 percent when the real games start for Luers? We will begin to find out Saturday night at Mishawaka Marian.
2. How does Carroll's Chandler White match up with Concordia Lutheran?
The Chargers sophomore is fully healthy and ready to take the next step as one of the best prospects in the Class of 2015. An early-season challenge comes Friday at Concordia, a team that has size and experience across the floor. No starter Coach Josh Eggold puts on the floor will be below 6-foot-1, including three at 6-foot-5. White has a shot to open some eyes with a big night on the road.
3. Can Homestead get it going?
The Spartans showed plenty of potential in a victory last week over Huntington North, but then fell big on the road against a tough Merrillville squad. Homestead is still learning to play with big man Caleb Swanigan in the post, and there is no better time to feed the freshman the ball than against a hard-nosed team like Warsaw on Friday at home.
4. Is North Side legit?
Coach Shabaz Khaliq has been talking up his team for much of the preseason, and for good reason with a highly-talented junior class. After a 2-0 start, the Redskins have a chance to double their win total in less than 24 hours with a game at DeKalb on Friday followed by a late-afternoon trip to Penn on Saturday. North Side has six road games to begin the season, so a few losses will not be a backbreaker, but a hot start could lead to bigger things.
5. Will they or won’t they?
As if one big question was not enough surrounding the Bishop Luers’ basketball program, the bigger one may be who joins Blackmon Jr. on the floor this season? It is still unclear whether Jaylon Smith, Kendrick Mullen or Michael Rogers will play basketball for the Knights this season, with Smith saying at last weekend’s football state title game that he wanted to think about it. Either way, the trio will likely not be eligible due to the lack of practices, but will they be on the bench for the Knights on Saturday at Marian?