INDIANAPOLIS – The tornado that blew through Seth Adelsperger's hometown last week captured the essence of what the Peru High School junior's life has been like over the past 24 months.
Two years ago, Adelsperger was doing his school work at the dining room table as a home-schooled student. Fast forward to now and he has multiple colleges lining up to evaluate him in hopes that he'll complete his academic career – and more importantly in their eyes, athletic career – at their institutions.
“It's definitely been a whirlwind ride at times,” Adelsperger said. “It's been a lot, but it is fun.”
How does a kid go from nowhere (in terms of recruitment) to somewhere like this? Well, Adelsperger is 6-foot-11, so that helps. However, he also needs ability, and opposing coaches know talent and potential when they see it.
“He's got a lot of tools that he brings, and you throw in that he is that big, he's very appealing to high school teams and even beyond that,” Southwood High School coach John Burrus said.
Burrus has coached against Adelsperger in his two seasons at Peru, as well as in a summer league. Southwood was able to contain Adelsperger in the Knights' 72-58 win last season (he finished with just four points and a pair of rebounds), but Burrus has seen a marked improvement in the Tiger post player this summer.
“He's been in more of an attack mode,” Burrus said. “Last year, he was kind of trying to feel for position, and get a feel for where he should be on the floor. Now he knows where that is and he is attacking. He's going for all kinds of offensive rebounds, he's going for a lot of blocked shots, and he's in a really good position to do that.”
Adelsperger competed in the adidas Invitational Classic over the weekend for Indiana Elite Diesel, and during a game on Friday, the Missouri Valley Conference programs were taking notice.
Lining up along the baseline were coaches from Evansville, Drake, Northern Iowa, and Loyola (Ill.) to watch Adelsperger, who already holds a scholarship offer from Indiana State.
“I just kind of ignore it,” Adelsperger said of being observed by the coaches. “In baseball, we play in front of loud parents and you just have to tune that stuff out and play.”
According to Burrus, that isn't the only benefit that Adelsperger got out of playing baseball.
“He's been big into baseball,” Burrus, who is the winningest baseball coach in North Miami High School history, explained. “Playing first base has really helped his basketball game. He has to be quick to field bunts and his footwork has been helped by having to find the bag on throws.”
Adelsperger averaged six points and five rebounds per game as a sophomore and also blocked a team-best 44 shots. He attended camp at Indiana State (where he received the aforementioned scholarship offer) last month, as well as Butler and Loyola (Ill.). He is “wide open” in the recruitment process, but given his agility and strength (he lifts three times each week and has gained 20 pounds since March) Burrus believes that Indiana State won't be the last offer Adelsperger receives.
“He seems like he's grown into his body well, and he probably isn't done growing,” Burrus said. “He's a very strong, athletic, and big kid.”
Another impressive facet to Adelsperger is his demeanor.
The son of a Baptist minister (who happens to be 6-foot-4, 225 pounds), the younger Adelsperger is well-spoken, polite and Burrus says controlled on the court.
“In summer league, you can hear everything on the court without the sound of a crowd,” Burrus said. “Seth is a kid that never makes (the game) about himself. He just plays.”