Local Sports

Caleb Furst named Mr. Basketball

Caleb Furst has earned the top individual award in Indiana high school boys basketball.


Furst, a 6-10 senior forward from Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian, has been named IndyStar Indiana Mr. Basketball for 2021 in online voting of media and boys’ varsity coaches conducted by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association and All-Star game director Mike Broughton, it was announced Friday.


The Mr. Basketball result allows Furst to join Lawrence North senior Jayla Smith to wear No. 1 jerseys for the Indiana All-Stars in their annual series with Kentucky. Smith's selection as 2021 Indiana Miss Basketball, after a vote of media and girls' varsity coaches, was announced last month.


 The Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball awards go to the respective top boys’ basketball senior and top girls’ basketball senior in the state. The Mr. Basketball award is part of the IndyStar Indiana All-Star program that dates to 1939. The Miss Basketball award, along with the girls All-Stars, was added to the All-Star program in 1976.


The remainder of the 2021 Boys All-Star team is expected to be announced next week. The full 2021 Girls All-Star team also was announced last month.


Furst earned the boys' top honor after being named on 73 ballots submitted to Broughton during late March and early April. Trey Kaufman-Renn of Silver Creek was runner-up in the voting with 47 votes. Luke Brown of Blackford placed third with 40 votes. Other finalists were Brooks Barnhizer of Lafayette Jeff, Shamar Avance of Lawrence North and J.R. Konieczny of South Bend St. Joseph. 


A Purdue University recruit, Furst averaged 21.4 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks as a senior while leading Blackhawk Christian to a 28-3 season that included the Class 2A state championship. He converted 64.0 percent on field goals (260-of-406) and 84.2 percent on free throws (133-of-158) as the Braves captured their second state crown in three seasons. They also captured the Class A trophy in 2019 and no title was determined in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic that stopped the tournament after sectional play.


For his career, Furst totaled a school records of 2,067 points, 1,254 rebounds and 213 blocked shots while Blackhawk Christian amassed an aggregate 105-11 record over his four seasons (26-3, 28-2, 23-3 and 28-3). He averaged 18.7 points and 8.9 rebounds as a sophomore and followed with norms of 22.1 points and 13.4 rebounds as a junior. Furst is the first Mr. Basketball winner and the just second player to become an Indiana All-Star from his school, joining Russell Byrd in 2010.


Furst also is the 12th Mr. Basketball recipient -- but just the second in the past 30 years -- bound for Purdue. He joins Joe Sexson (1952), Willie Eison (1955), Dennis Brady (1964), Billy Keller (1965), Rick Mount (1966), Kyle Macy (1975), Dan Palombizio (1981), Troy Lewis (1984), Woody Austin (1988), Glenn Robinson (1991) and Caleb Swanigan (2015) as Mr. Basketball winners who joined the Boilermakers.


In voting announced on March 19, Smith captured the Indiana Miss Basketball award for 2021 after receiving 28 votes in balloting that occurred in late February and early March. Ariana Wiggins of Heritage Christian was second with 22 votes. Ally Becki of Brownsburg was third with 21 votes.


Smith, also a Purdue signee, averaged 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 4.8 steals in leading Lawrence North to a 19-7 record as a senior. That came after the 5-11 guard averaged 14.7 points and propelled the Wildcats to the 2020 Class 4A state championship with a 26-4 record as a junior. The previous season, Smith averaged 16.1 points and helped Lawrence North finish as Class 4A state runner-up with a 22-7 slate.


Smith is her school's first Indiana Miss Basketball honoree and the 14th girl from Lawrence North to be chosen to the All-Star team. LN girls chosen All-Star to previous All-Star teams were Kelly Miller (1983), Reicina Russell (2005), Azjah Bass (2007), Felisha Johnson (2008), CoCo Moore (2012), Destiny Washington (2014), Ana Owens (2014), Lamina Cooper (2015), Lauren Dickerson (2016), Ae'Rianna Harris (2016), Destiny Perkins (2017), Kristian Young (2020) and Katie Davidson (2020).


Lawrence North also has had 15 boys named as All-Stars over the years dating to Reed Crafton in 1985. The Wildcats have had one Mr. Basketball winner in Greg Oden in 2006.


Smith is the 10th Miss Basketball honoree to be headed to Purdue. Previous winners to join the Boilermakers are Sharon Versyp (1984), Jennifer Jacoby (1991), Stephanie White (1995), Kelly Komara (1998), Katie Gearlds (2003), Jodi Howell (2005), Brittany Rayburn (2008), Courtney Moses (2010) and Karissa McLaughlin (2017). 


Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball traditionally wear No. 1 jerseys for the respective Indiana Boys All-Stars and Indiana Girls All-Stars in the annual series with Kentucky. The All-Stars will face the Indiana Junior All-Stars in an exhibition doubleheader on June 9 at Brownsburg High School. The All-Stars follow with their home-and-home doubleheaders with Kentucky -- June 11 at the Owensboro SportsCenter in Owensboro, Ky., and June 12 at Southport Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 


A list of Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball honorees follows.


Indiana Mr. Basketball honorees

1939: George Crowe, Franklin

1940: Ed Schienbein, Southport

1941: John Bass, Greenwood

1942: Bud Brown, Muncie Burris

1943: not awarded (World War II)

1944: not awarded (World War II)

1945: Tom Schwartz, Kokomo

1946: Johnny Wilson, Anderson

1947: Bill Garrett, Shelbyville

1948: Bob Masters, Lafayette Jeff

1949: Dee Monroe, Madison

1950: Pat Klein, Marion

1951: Tom Harrold, Muncie Central

1952: Joe Sexson, Indianapolis Tech

1953: Hallie Bryant, Indianapolis Attucks

1954: Bobby Plump, Milan

1955: Wilson Eison, Gary Roosevelt

1956: Oscar Robertson, Indianapolis Attucks

1957: Joan Coalmon, South Bend Central

1958: Mike McCoy, Fort Wayne South

1959: Jimmy Rayl, Kokomo

1960: Ron Bonham, Muncie Central

1961: Tom VanArsdale, Indianapolis Manual, and Dick VanArsdale, Indianpolis Manual

1962: Larry Humes, Madison

1963: Rick Jones, Muncie Central

1964: Dennis Brady, Lafayette Jeff

1965: Bill Keller, Indianapolis Washington

1966: Rick Mount, Lebanon

1967: Willie Long, Fort Wayne South

1968: Billy Shepherd, Carmel

1969: George McGinnis, Indianapolis Washington

1970: Dave Shepherd, Carmel

1971: Mike Flynn, Jeffersonville

1972: Phil Cox, Connersville

1973: Kent Benson, New Castle

1974: Steve Collier, Southwestern (Hanover), and Roy Taylor, Anderson

1975: Kyle Macy, Peru

1976: Dave Colescott, Marion

1977: Ray Tolbert, Anderson Madison Heights

1978: David Magley, South Bend LaSalle

1979: Steve Bouchie, Washington

1980: Jim Master, Fort Wayne Harding

1981: Dan Palombizio, Michigan City Rogers

1982: Roger Harden, Valparaiso

1983: Steve Alford, New Castle

1984: Delray Brooks, Michigan City Rogers, and Troy Lewis, Anderson,

1985: Jeff Grose, Warsaw

1986: Mark Jewell, Lafayette Jeff

1987: Jay Edwards, Marion, and Lyndon Jones, Marion

1988: Woody Austin, Richmond

1989: Pat Graham, Floyd Central

1990: Damon Bailey, Bedford North Lawrence

1991: Glenn Robinson, Gary Roosevelt

1992: Charles Macon, Michigan City Elston

1993: Maurice “Kojak” Fuller, Anderson

1994: Bryce Drew, Valparaiso

1995: Damon Frierson, Ben Davis

1996: Kevin Ault, Warsaw

1997: Luke Recker, DeKalb

1998: Tom Coverdale, Noblesville

1999: Jason Gardner, North Central

2000: Jared Jeffries, Bloomington North

2001: Chris Thomas, Pike

2002: Sean May, Bloomington North

2003: Justin Cage, Pike

2004: A.J. Ratliff, North Central

2005: Luke Zeller, Washington

2006: Greg Oden, Lawrence North

2007: Eric Gordon, North Central

2008: Tyler Zeller, Washington

2009: Jordan Hulls, Bloomington South

2010: DeShaun Thomas, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers

2011: Cody Zeller, Washington

2012: Gary Harris, Hamilton Southeastern

2013: Zak Irvin, Hamilton Southeastern

2014: Trey Lyles, Indianapolis Tech

2015: Caleb Swanigan, Homestead

2016: Kyle Guy, Lawrence Central

2017: Kris Wilkes, North Central

2018: Romeo Langford, New Albany

2019: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Center Grove

2020: Anthony Leal, Bloomington South

2021: Caleb Furst, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian


Indiana Miss Basketball honorees

1976: Judi Warren, Warsaw

1977: Teri Rosinski, Norwell

1978: Chanda Kline, Warsaw

1979: LaTaunya Pollard, East Chicago Roosevelt

1980: Maria Stack, Columbus East

1981: Cheryl Cook, Indianapolis Washington

1982: Trena Keys, Marion

1983: Jody Beerman, Heritage

1984: Sharon Versyp, Mishawaka

1985: Jodie Whitaker, Austin

1986: Kim Barrier, Jimtown

1987: Lori Meinerding, Fort Wayne Northrop

1988: Vicki Hall, Brebeuf Jesuit

1989: Renee Westmoreland, Scottsburg

1990: Patricia Babcock, Culver Academy

1991: Jennifer Jacoby, Rossville

1992: Marla Inman, Bedford North Lawrence

1993: Abby Conklin, Charlestown

1994: Tiffany Gooden, Fort Wayne Snider

1995: Stephanie White, Seeger

1996: Lisa Winter, Huntington North

1997: Lisa Shepherd, Richmond

1998: Kelly Komara, Lake Central

1999: April McDivitt, Connersville

2000: Sara Nord, Jeffersonville

2001: Shyra Ely, Ben Davis

2002: Shanna Zolman, Wawasee

2003: Katie Gearlds, Beech Grove

2004: Jaclyn Leininger, Warsaw

2005: Jodi Howell, Alexandria

2006: Amber Harris, North Central

2007: Ta’Shia Phillips, Brebeuf Jesuit

2008: Brittany Rayburn, Attica

2009: Skylar Diggins, South Bend Washington

2010: Courtney Moses, Oak Hill

2011: Bria Goss, Ben Davis

2012: Jessica Rupright, Norwell

2013: Stephanie Mavunga, Brownsburg

2014: Whitney Jennings, Logansport

2015: Ali Patberg, Columbus North

2016: Jackie Young, Princeton

2017: Karissa McLaughlin, Homestead

2018: Amy Dilk, Carmel

2019: Jorie Allen, Bedford North Lawrence

2020: Sydney Parrish, Hamilton Southeastern

2021: Jayla Smith, Lawrence North