Jordan O’Donnell column: A letter to the Mr. Indiana Basketball voters

“In 49 States, it’s just basketball, but this is Indiana,” they say.
But what truly defines “Indiana Basketball”? Before we unravel this question, let’s ponder: What is Indiana?
We are the crossroads of America, where small towns with one stoplight and bustling diners paint the landscape. Yet, beneath the surface, we are communities whose heartbeat pulses with the rhythm of our schools, sports and the unwavering support of our neighbors. We are the backbone of hard work, the essence of blue-collar America, standing firm at the core of what makes this nation great. With pride, we embrace basketball, weaving our state into its storied history.
From the underdog tale of Milan’s farmers toppling giants to the legendary Larry Bird, our roots run deep in the soil of basketball lore. Damon Bailey, Cody Zeller and many more have left indelible marks, not just as players, but as leaders and champions in their communities.
Enter Jack Benter. A beacon of hope, a symbol of resilience. Hailing from a town where everyone knows your name, he’s captured the hearts of his community for three years running. Today, he stands not just as a player, but as a champion.
Sure, Flory Bidunga may be hailed as the prodigy, but Jack Benter embodies Indiana Basketball. He epitomizes the grit, the passion, the sheer determination that defines us. Ask anyone across the nation to paint a picture of “Indiana Basketball,” and without fail, they’ll sketch the likeness of Jack Benter.
In the quiet town of fewer than 3000 souls, a hero rises. A young man who’s made his community proud, who’s ignited the spirit of an entire state. Jack Benter, the epitome of Hoosier Hysteria, etching his name into the annals of Indiana Basketball forevermore. Today, he’s not just a player; he’s the living, breathing soul of our beloved game.
Jordan O’Donnell is a 2010 graduate of Brownstown Central who now lives in the Crothersville area.