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March 23, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Leaving off Key poor choice

A mistake was made in leaving Frankton’s Kelsey Key off the Indiana All-Star Team.

There, that needed to be said. She scored over 100 points more than any other girls basketball player in the state, and there is no doubt in my mind that there aren’t 14 senior players in the state better than her.

So when I heard about this miscarriage of justice, I went right to the source of the problem, Charlie Hall, who is the game director of the Indiana All-Stars and makes the final decision about who is in and who is out.

I got Hall on the phone and explained my perplexity. He is a man used to getting feedback about people he left off the team.

“I get these calls from all over the state. This is not meant to be an honor of exclusion. It is meant to be one of inclusion,” he said.

There’s a problem with that theory, at least from his perspective. The players that have been included are happy and so are their supporters so Hall really doesn’t hear from them. So he’s left with calls about people who have been — sorry Charlie — excluded. People like me.

“Kelsey has got great credentials,” admitted Hall. “I see everybody in the state. Who do I take off the team to put her on? If I had another uniform, I’d hook her up.”

The topic gradually moved to a facet of this selection process that I hadn’t considered. This team that Hall picks has to actually go out onto the floor and play. That’s a truth that we at the HB don’t have to consider when naming our honored team.

So if the top 12 seniors in the state in any given year are guards, all of them can’t be on the team.

“There was one year when I had two centers on the team who couldn’t play a lick, but I had to have a center,” said Hall.

Hall coached the Kokomo WildKats to a state championship in 2003. That team was also unbeaten at 26-0. So he has credentials in that area.

In 1973 and again in ’74, Hall, while playing for Kokomo, led the North Central Conference in scoring. But he didn’t make the all-star team. He was championed in his local newspaper, and it was suggested that perhaps Hall should have made the team over this kid from Springs Valley — Larry Bird.

“I know what Kelsey is feeling,” said Hall. “I am second in scoring average in Kokomo school history to Jimmy Rayl. I have to disappoint eight to 10 Kelsey Keys every year.”

I came away from the conversation no less convinced that Hall made a mistake.

He even admitted, “Maybe I’m one scorer short. We’ll find out.”

But I also came away convinced that Hall has a job to do, and it isn’t an easy one. He admits he’s not always right, but he also always has the final say. That’s just the way it is.

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