Leal selected as 2020 Mr. Basketball

Back to back to back.

With the naming of Bloomington South’s Anthony Leal as Mr. Basketball on Friday, Indiana coach Archie Miller has now reeled in a program-record three straight winners of the state award.

Leal follows in the footsteps of New Albany’s Romeo Langford and Center Grove’s Trayce Jackson-Davis in claiming Indiana’s top individual prize in boys’ basketball. The 6-foot-5 guard is the first South player to earn the honor since Jordan Hulls in 2009.

As far as city winners, Bloomington North’s Jared Jeffries (2000) and Sean May (2002) have also claimed the award.

Leal was considered a frontrunner for Mr. Basketball coming into the season, along with fellow IU commit Trey Galloway from Culver Academies. As a senior, Leal led the Panthers with averages of18.2 points and 4 rebounds per game. He finished as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,620 points.

On the other hand, he spearheaded a well-balanced squad, which included three other double-digit scorers. South finished 26-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state in a pandemic-shortened season. While he claims the No. 1 jersey as an Indiana All-Star, Leal won’t be able to don it on the hardwood because the state’s series with Kentucky has been canceled this year.

Despite a difficult ending to his prep career, the newly crowned Mr. Basketball will get a chance to represent his hometown school next season with the Hoosiers. IU returns Jackson-Davis, who was a third-team All-Big Ten selection as a freshman.

37 comments

  1. Good for him. He seems like a great young man. And he was/is obviously a team player at Bloomington-South.

  2. Archie has the last 3 Mr Basketballs in 3 years. The previous regime had 2 in 9.

    Building the foundation and building it with the long game in mind. Excited about the future.

  3. If I am not mistaken, I believe this is the first time IUBB has been able to recruit 3 Indiana Mr. Basketball recipients in a row. Interestingly, there is a good chance of making it 4 in a row next year. If Ladner is not able to reclassify or if successful recruiting Trey Kaufman.

  4. With Coach Miller the future is bright as he believes defense is spelled with a capital D. Gotta believe Roberts has added positive chemistry and momentum to IUBB recruiting. He is what I call a ‘pusher’, he makes things happen. Just as Coach Miller. Focusing on BB players that are classroom achievers is key to foundation building vs. Crean’s forever seeking high flying athletes whose BB IQ was lacking or at best questionable. Then had to develop BB skills to be reliable players full of resolve. Like Hoosier HS ballers. Can #4 end up in Bloomington from next years class? I would not bet against it.

  5. Another nice honor for a great kid who embraces the name on the front of the jersey! Quite likely Archie WILL land the 4th straight with Lander or Kaufman. Didn’t Kaufman verbally commit to IU already? Note that he won the Gatorade player of the year in Indiana, fwiw.

    I can’t wait to resurrect all of the comments from the Archie bashers in the near future. That’ll be fun watching them try to catch up to the bandwagon again. I’m on it, been on it, will be on it already.

    1. Who are the “Archie bashers”…..? When you say “all” it makes it sound like more than a handful. There are those here (primarily one poster) always prepared to throw someone under the bus as soon as the first sign of stumbling occurs (it’s still likely a case of ‘CADS’…Crean Attachment Deficiency Syndrome).

      And there are plenty on this thread at the current moment who have questioned what the disintegration of our storied ‘winner takes all’ singular Indiana high school tournament has done to the heart and grit of statewide recruits/hoops. We’ve also discussed the effect of AAU hoops ….and the changing mindsets/priorities it creates.

      Archie was always going to be a major upgrade from the last “regime.” But to believe he is the panacea for all other factors (some less examined and, potentially, challenging our stereotypical beliefs that getting Indiana talent means getting ‘tried and true’ in IQ, grit, shooting technique, tournament/competition tested, etc) is a bit simplistic (as it was in evaluating Crean during the “everything hinges” and “movement” thought to automatically assume banners were on the way because we landed some “Indiana Elite” talent).

      There are underminers, there are relentless bashers who see no hope with Archie (I don’t read a lot on Scoop from that category)…and there are some who are a bit tired of talk and claims who prefer to see actions louder than words.

      I have bashed plenty of things that don’t appear to be representative of Indiana Basketball (including watching Hoosiers laughing and joking on the bench during embarrassing losses) . I’ve also bashed a reporter for being mean spirited and unprofessional in his assault aimed at singling out one player for inconsistency.
      We all bash in one form or another….If it’s not the head basketball coach, it’s an inconsistent player…it’s someone on our team deemed to be committing dirty fouls…it’s Ramsey….it’s a former football coach…it’s a current football assistant coach. Plenty of “resurrection” of old comments to go around.

      I used to think stuffing our roster with mostly Indiana kids was the panacea…I’m just not so sure anymore. I love Race Thompson’s grit. I still believe A.J. Moye was the most tough-minded kid to wear candy stripes in the last 20 years (give D.J. White honorable mention).

      Archie has rebuilt the relationships throughout every corner of our borders. That’s a good thing ….though we all must concede our statewide basketball has changed immeasurably. Let’s not forget that Indiana Basketball is a mindset and not a birthright. The banners are earned. They don’t hang above McCracken as a symbol of entitlement. Some of our strongest roster pieces of Final Four and championship teams were kids who grew up outside of our state…They were as much ‘Indiana’ as a kid from Bloomington. They embraced the work ethic and the required mindset (Scott May and Isiah Thomas and many less heralded still imperative to the success of a team).

      1. Although this blog has its share of Archie bashers, I follow IU Basketball on Instagram & read the IndyStar on-line. I’m stunned by the lack of intelligence of the game. Many are clearly of the “must win immediately” (MWI) clan.

        We all want to win yet in many cases disagree on what or how to do it. That’s what makes this blog, and others like it, entertaining. But I have no stomach for constant negativity, particularly when it is misplaced. Archie lands Mr. Basketball for the 3rd straight year! He deserves credit for that. Imagine had we lost those 3 to Purdue, MSU, OSU, etc…

        My main point about homegrown talent is that we need kids who understand what basketball means to the state of Indiana. They need to arrive understanding that playing for Indiana is damned important to many of us. In fact, most of us. Indiana kids understand that. They get it. Whether they play for Class A or 3A or 5A, they are the stars to little kids in their towns & cities. I think during the Sampson & Crean eras, we lost that by failing to recruit the state. I think that matters. How many really good IN kids went elsewhere & made Final Fours or won championships over the last 20 years? PLENTY!

        Get & keep the best we have, I say. I’m not saying that is enough, don’t get me wrong. I’ll take the Mr. Basketballs from OH, IL, NH, MN, or BFE too!

        1. Agree…

          But Crean did land a very important recruit from Indiana. And that came with a sort of double edged sword. And that one signature recruit secured a far lower than mediocre X’s and O’s coach for many additional years.

          I want Indiana kids but we should be careful to not anoint them (or the coach) in the manner we did during the overblown hype of the “movement.” Let them prove their worth and desire. Let them prove their unselfish love for team. Allow Archie to prove his own skills beyond recruiting. We did the “savior” thing….Been there, done that.
          It’s time to be realistic about ourselves ….and to never ignore the talent who may have more “Indiana” attributes than the kid in your backyard giving you goosebumps because he’s from your hometown….(or arrives with your ideologies having zero to do with basketball).

          I sort of like what the governor of Kansas said when she held her ground and believed it was too soon for the opening of churches for Easter Sunday: “I always thought basketball was our shared religion.”

          Crean never really distanced himself from Indiana…He never really recruited any area more favored than another. He first and foremost recruited kids sharing his own doctrines/ideologies. It just so happened that the most heralded singular recruit from our state (the one who would save his job) aligned with his ideologies. Sweeney does the same thing at Clemson…. It works in the South. I’m sort of thankful that it proved not to work in Indiana. I prefer a true passion for basketball being the only filter required to wear the candy stripes..(along with trying to make kids better students). It should be all business…and all basketball. We’ve drifted from that. I admired Knight mostly because he kept all the outside differences away. The common thread was always about the game of basketball.

          Saviors? Let’s not go there again.

  6. Bob Knight’s first IU recruiting class: 8 total, 5 from outside Indiana
    Quinn Buckner: Dolton, IL
    Craig Morris, DeGraff, OH
    Bobby Wilkerson, Anderson, IN
    Jim Crews: Normal, IL
    Scott May: Sandusky, OH
    Tom Abernethy: South Bend, IN
    Trent Smock: Richmond, IN
    Don Noort: Worth, IL

    Mike Davis first IU recruiting class: 4 total, 4 from outside Indiana
    Marshall Strickland: Kingston, MA
    Bracey Wright: The Colony, TX
    Roderick Wilmont: Miramar, FL
    Daryl Pegram: Los Angeles / Worchester, MA

    Kelvin Sampson’s first IU recruiting class: 6 recruits, 5 from outside Indiana
    Eric Gordon: Indianapolis, IN (IN Mr. Basketball)
    Jamarcus Ellis: Chicago, IL
    Jordan Crawford: Detroit, MI
    Brandon McGee: Chicago, IL
    DeAndre Thomas: Chicago, IL
    Eli Holman: San Francisco, CA

    Tom Crean’s first IU recruiting class: 6 total, 4 from outside Idinana
    Jordan Hulls: Bloomington, IN (IN Mr. Basketball)
    Maurice Creek: Maryland / Chatham, VA
    Derek Elston: Tipton, IN
    Christian Watford: Birmingham, AL
    Bobby Capobianco: Loveland, OH
    Bawa Muniru: Tuma, Ghana /Durham, NC

    Archie Miller’s first IU recruiting class: 5 total, 2 from outside Indiana
    Robert Phinisee: Lafayette, IN
    Romeo Langford: New Albany, IN (IN Mr. Basketball)
    Damezi Anderson, South Bend, IN
    Jerome Hunter: Pickerington, OH
    Jake Forrester: Harrisburg, PA

    1. You sort of missed the point, but that’s o.k.. You can’t necessarily compare recruits from our state during our heyday to instate recruits now coming without the same set of influences and tournament experiences. Class basketball changed everything. AAU has far more influence….Guys may be sold as much better than they actually are….And then you have the sort of money dangling from the NBA to add to promoting much more individualistic mentalities to the entire process.
      And, of course, many of those same changed variables have influences upon the out-of-state recruits as well.

      There is way more selling of talent rather than the caring much about the blue collar work once part of growing up tested in high school ball. Guys come in saying what they plan on “doing for Indiana”…They understand the history and say all the things our ears want to hear…But are they as tested? Are they as invested? Does the pursuit of winning something as a collective mean as much to them as their individual achievements?

      A recruit from our borders gets all our panties in a fuss because we believe it’s the 1970s and ’80s again. We think of the legendary players like Downing, Alford, Cheaney, etc. We think we’re getting the same apples from the same old orchard…Sadly, all orchards have a life span. We also had a worm disease in our orchard courtesy of the IHSAA when they infected our h.s. basketball tournament to over-sweeten results for all (blue ribbons and titles for all the many different “classes”). How much did that kill/spoil the balance and unique flavors that one-of-a-kind orchard? And how does it taint the orchard and the mindsets with each passing decade as 150 Indiana kids are on rosters as state finals instead of 25?

      And what does it do to the spirit of a young man who will never get the rare chance to be a David going up against a Goliath? And what does it do to the Goliath to believe no David could ever give him/her a run for the money? What does it to do drive …and what does it do to humility?

  7. I’m struggling to find what recruiting class John Laskowski was a part of. Can anyone clarify that for me?

  8. Laz entered IU in the Fall of 1971 and became eligible for varsity competition in the 1972-73 season.

  9. The class you refer to as Knight’s first was actually his second. Laz and Steve Green and maybe one other player were his first in 1971.

  10. But take a look at the roster for Knight’s first Final Four of ’73 (the shocker that put Knight (only his second year at Indiana) going up against mighty UCLA , Wooden and Walton….That Hoosier roster was almost entirely made up of homegrown talent (outside of a first year, Buckner).
    The team was loaded with Indiana kids (and was even shy of McGinnis who went to the NBA via ‘hardship’ rule if not mistaken).
    Green, Abernathy, Crews, Ritter, Downing, Laskowski….and eight MORE on the roster from Indiana. 14 of the 19 names were from our state (and, again, that didn’t include McGinnis who forever regretted not staying and not playing with his high school teammate, Downing,
    against UCLA).
    And when Bobby went outside the borders, he knew the important pieces he needed to complete the package. He wasn’t looking for “late bloomers” or “upside.”
    He was getting the same tried and true..and unselfish …and fundamentally strong as the depth from Indiana. Uwe Blab was probably Knight’s biggest project…But compared to the A-Hope projects and the never-bloomers we saw in “bigs” during the last regime, Blab looks like Bill Walton.

    1. Buckner and Crews were both from Illinois. McGinnis did leave school after his sophomore year via the hardship early entry protocol, but it was to the ABA (Indiana Pacers), not the NBA. Blab was actually a high level recruit, by the way, who was pursued by most of the Big Ten, as well as Duke (he chose IU over the Blue Devils).

      1. For some reason I was thinking Crews was from Southern Indiana (Evansville)…Did he coach at Evansville or a while…or was it Army?

        Anyhow, good job keeping me honest. You’re almost as good as Chet. Come to think of it? Nah. That’s just my imagination running away with me.
        My memory ain’t so hot anymore. Then again, I should give myself a break. I was a very young lad barely out of elementary school and just becoming a Hoosier fan at that time…Downing left the biggest impression on me…but I think it was his rather humble attitude and demeanor on the court. He was like the Walter Payton of Hoosier Hoops….Never the ‘big shot’ with the big mouth. An assassin on the board and smooth as could be with the turnaround jumpers off the glass. But I imagined him to be a rather gentle giant off the court.
        Anyway…I’m blabbering again.
        Correction: 13 of 19 from Indiana on Knight’s first Final Four team of ’72-73 season….Would have likely been one more had McGinnis remained in college.

  11. I long for the Davids already with blood on swords who once faced the Goliaths….

    Indiana was once a testing ground for all high school hoops talent. It was beyond unique. So sad it all had to be destroyed because standing on top mattered more than who you faced.

    1. It is sad H4H, very sad,

      We long for the grand single class tourney in Indiana that sadly was yet another casualty of the participation trophy mentality infecting our culture. Here is the really sad part about the whole thing. Go to any of those small communities who were supposedly so deprived of being able to compete for a state championship and listen to those who remember. They will speak to you with the pride of a state champion about their little school winning the 1953 sectional or the 1961 regional. You will find some exceptional areas that will tell you of that special year their school managed to make it all the way to Hinkle, didn’t win, but played in the Final Four!

      What the loss of the single class tournament was really about was two thing: First, the participation mentality culture didn’t want to see those precious little egos damaged by finding out you don’t always get your way every time. Secondly, it made it a lot easier for HS administrators to look “good” in the eyes of their local community. A sense of accomplishment is found in how hard the task is, not because we lowered the bar.

      Since we did away with the single class tournament please tell me, where is the Milan caliber legendary story among any of the class champions?

      1. Scott Skiles’ performance on championship night was beyond legendary….Some of the most unbelievable bucket making you’ll ever witness.

        They don’t make them like that anymore….Nobody has the game to back the swagger. They have YouTube videos with music set to all the everyday games against inferior competition….They carry around printouts of their ‘Rivals’ rankings. They have their AAU coach write glowing biographies of “ceilings” and “upsides.”
        What ever happened to just winning…..? It’s a world of sell. Every achievement requires a marching band and a parade.
        When’s the last time anyone here recalls a truly legendary performance from a Hoosier?

  12. My bad…ABA for McGinnis. Then later with ‘The Doctor’ at Philadelphia.

    Surprised Blab was pursued by Duke..I listened to Dakich interview Blab a couple months ago. Interesting to hear Blab’s thoughts on the Knight reunion. He seemed to think it was all rather unsavory due to Knight’s obvious declining health.

    The main thing I remember about Blab was a classic statement from my girl friend (now my wife of many years) when watching a game featuring Uwe. She said….”He’s a giant…or a big dork.” I got a giggle out of her for many years for that comment. She was never a big sports fan and was short on the lingo. She acted as if those things had to be mutually exclusive. For being a novice, she was spot on. I’m not sure if I ever made up my mind as well. My memory was also of a giant whose game could not make up its mind. Some nights there would be glimpses of real potential…Other nights he just seemed to go up and down the court like a giraffe with arthritis.
    Wasn’t Uwe’s last name pronounced ‘Blah?’
    Ew-Vague Blah·sé…..or a big dork.

    NBA

    Drafted seventeenth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1985 NBA Draft, he never proved to be a significant contributor. His first four seasons were with the Mavericks, and he played for both the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs in his final year. He finished with NBA career averages of 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game at the center position (courtesy: Wikipedia).

    1. Uwe’s last name was pronounced “Blop”. He was, by the way, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, as well. Very intelligent guy.

      1. Don’t remember Don Fischer pronouncing it that way….but maybe I just never paid close enough attention. Wilt ‘The Stilt’ Chamberlain was known for the ‘finger roll’…..Uwe should have patented the ‘Blop Drop.’ Instead of the one emphatic dunk per game he was averaging in the NBA, just take it above the rim and do the ‘Blop Drop.’ He would have had something uniquely fit for his name…Probably gets more playing time because of it…Fans start cheering for the Blop Drop. Confidence builds….More minutes. Soon averages 6 points/game.
        There is “intelligence”….and there is “creative intelligence.”

        1. Easter egg hunts at Uwe’s house conclude with the ceremonial ‘Blop Hop’…?

          Uwe never really took a charge. He took a ‘Blop Flop’….?

          If Uwe starts a peanut farm in Texas, will it be known as Blop’s Crops?

          No Swifter in the kitchen shall ever replace the ‘Blop Mop’…?

          When he couldn’t hit the side of a barn on his jump shot, Knight suggested he enroll in IU’s School of Bloptometry…?

          Tough crowd…tough crowd Hope you didn’t expect these jokes to be whoppers. They’re from the Home of the Blopper.

          1. No need to share your living habits/arrangements.

            But ding!..ding!..ding!…ding!…ding!…ding! We HAVE A WINNER!
            Clarion finally used ‘too’ as the appropriate option over ‘to.’ Maybe it was just a typoo..? Maybe your fingers were simply on a roll with the ‘oo’ in “goofy” and “coon” and they couldn’t slam on the brakes in time for ‘to?’ You now share a place with the pigs on the farm. You have been cured!
            I would occasionally do exercises ….Type the following twice a day: “The goofy coon was stuck in my living room during the typhoon. I was stuck in the room, to.”

          2. Keep talkin’ to the coons…They’re very smart. Maybe stop feeding them Cheetos. ….or is it Cheetoos?

  13. I could be wrong, but didn’t Blab recently make an appearance as a villain in ‘The Hunters’ starring Al Pacino? Sort of a ‘Third Reich’ version of ‘Jaws‘ from the James Bond flicks (Moonraker?).

  14. Bob Knight quotes…? What better way to pass the cabin fever time?

    “Congratulations on the birth of your first child. I’m glad to hear that mother and son are doing well. P.S. Don’t ever let your husband hold this kid over anything but a bed.” -congratulating Uwe Blab’s wife (Uwe had let the ball get away from him more than once or twice.)

    “God couldn’t care less if we win or not. He is not going to parachute in through the roof of this building and score when we need points.” – Talking to Steve Alford, “Playing for Knight”

    More in the link below…Enjoy.

    https://jaysteeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/coach-bob-knight-quotes/

  15. Back to the class basketball “debate”….I have not heard any arguments for it since it got passed. And I’m not sure how it did or what drove it. Although, I do remember Knight being openly for it, and back then, that held weight.

    It is “our” state, it would seem to me the will of the people SHOULD prevail. Put it on the state ballot & see what happens.

    A little anecdotal story now…a highly influential donor got a visit from the ISHAA commissioner a few years ago, who was there asking for a lot of money for an ISHAA project being contemplated. The donor told him that he would support it under one condition, eliminate class basketball. The commissioner got up & walked right out of the donor’s office without even shaking hands or saying anything. True story. Names withheld to protect their anonymity.

  16. I believe school consolidation “drove” it…. Privilege likely also ‘drove’ it. There is nothing privilege hates more than some small town nobody from a small town school kicking them in the teeth. My guess is it really wasn’t the mom’s and dad’s of smaller schools needing blue ribbons for Lil’ Joey…and Lil’ Susie because their opportunities were so slim going against Goliaths/bigger schools. My guess is the privilege wanting to shut out those who are not intimidated by size or status. Five great players can still come out of a small community…Such beliefs were at the heart of our storied tournament. It doesn’t take but a rare great class or great couple of players to grow up together in school system to form into potential Davids to take down many Goliaths…..Personally, it was those sorts of stories that made it forever unique and fun for me. A thin roster can still be a very talented roster….And the bonds these kids form some of these very tight and small rural/small town environments can make for some unbelievable chemistry and bonds on the floor. It’s what basketball is truly about. It’s about never undervaluing the strength of how five can become much stronger than their individual parts.

    I don’t recall Knight being for multi-class basketball. I don’t tend to agree with basketball being “social distanced.” But if he was for a change multi-class hoops because some polling group hired by the IHSAA said it was the “will of the people” (translated: will of the privileged afraid to get their ass kicked by an “underclass”…or less-than class), then his word is as good as Trumps (he’s also for everything Trump declares). Stick to coaching basketball, Bob.

  17. We have multi-class arenas…to designate privileged in their sky boxes from the common fans given “general” admission. I guess when Knight was coaching, we only had “General” admission.
    But times have changed. Now we have division. Might as well have multi-class basketball, too. I mean, we all know the common fan can never stack up or compete against the sky box elite. And we all know the small town team (far more common across a rather rural state) can never compete with the high school “elite” of the consolidated/city schools. Gosh, I know I’d never want to compete against someone seen as more elite. Who wants to be embarrassed and run out of gym. That’s just too cruel in this politically correct world we live.

  18. Upon further deep analysis….and critical thinking (yes, all sarcasm there), too, I have concluded, without verifiable evidence, Bob Knight probably would have favored “multi-class’ basketball.

    Why? Same reason he hated losing to teams like Cleveland State and Pepperdine in the first round of an NCAA tournament.

    Knight believed preparation “trumped” all (see above link to Bobby quotes).

    But what made our single/one class h.s. basketball so beautiful were the things you could never plan for….You could never plan for heart beyond anything you’ve ever witnessed. You could never plan for the intangibles and what goes into the thought processes of kids who have lived a life off the biggest stages and out of the limelight. You could never plan for what Skiles of Plymouth did against Roosevelt …It can be one night when all gods of basketball bless the unsung for all the hard work and dedication. It can be one night when everything coming out of your hands has destiny tied to nets ripping to every shot splashing through the center of the cylinder.
    You can’t plan, rank, or prepare for the truly legendary and beautiful things in sport. One night can defy all logic and all probabilities….and shoot a lot of plans from even the most astute perfectionist right down the crapper.

    The NCAA should adopt “class” basketball and keep those nobodies (smaller conferences and small schools) out of the brackets as well. We can live without a Morant or a Curry n March Madness just as Indiana can live without every next Scott Skiles in the only Indiana tournament that once mattered.
    Then again, nobody would then care (as is the case with Indiana h.s. basketball now). You see, some still believe the “nobody” can still shock the world. It’s rare….and it pisses people off who no-too-soon forget they were once a “nobody,” too.

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