A tradition continued

Eighth annual basketball showcase brings excitement and basketball joy to SHS


Ryder Harris

Junior Nickens Lemba tips off against Heritage Christian junior Myles Colvin. Colvin is one of Purdue’s class of 2023 recruits.

The FORUM Tipoff Classic has brought together the best schools in Indiana basketball for eight years. The SHS FIeldhouse is the sole home of this exhibition of talent. 

For almost a decade, the Classic has been a playground for future college and NBA players all over the state. Notable names, like the number 14 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft, Romeo Langford, NBA player Kyle Guy, Indiana University starting forward Trayce Jackson-Davis and former NBA player Caleb Swanigan have all appeared in this showcase. 

On top of that, every single Indiana Mr. Basketball, an award given to the best high school basketball player in the state every year, has had a chance to perform in the Classic since it began.

“I think it is a good annual event to showcase the best players and teams in the state,” IndyStar sports reporter Kyle Neddenriep said in an interview with The Journal. “It gives people a chance to see teams they otherwise wouldn’t see on a daily basis.”

The future is bright for the next class that just rolled through the Classic on Dec. 11, which included senior Fletcher Loyer, a Purdue commit from Homestead, and Braden Smith, a senior at Westfield, who will also continue his athletic career at Purdue. Both of the future Boilermakers played each other in the final game of the Classic.

“It’s pretty cool, I think I played against him one time in travel basketball,” Loyer said. “To play him with my high school team and to play against him is really cool.”

The Classic is a big part of the community according to long time fan Kelvin Beamon, who has attended the Classic every single year. Beamon always sits in the same spot on the bleachers, front row at center court, and watches every game throughout the day.

“It’s great for the community. You always meet other guys who travel all over just to see great basketball,” Beamon said.

The SHS Fieldhouse has been home to the Tipoff Classic since its inaugural showcase in 2013. Being the 11th largest gym in the state, the 13th largest in the nation and due to the convenient location in the middle of the state, it was a natural choice.

“Everybody seems to enjoy playing in the Southport gym and coming to it to watch games,” director of the FORUM Tipoff Classic Trevor Andershock said. “It’s really a perfect location.”

Andershock said they also do what they can to give smaller teams a chance to play in the showcase to give themselves more recognition. Teams like Barr-Reeve or Central Noble finally get the chance to play on the bigger stage of the SHS Fieldhouse.

“When they play in the FORUM Tipoff Classic they get to be seen by state-wide media.” Andershock said. “The players and the teams get a lot more attention by playing in big events like ours.”

The Tipoff Classic has featured some of the biggest names in Indiana basketball. It has showcased NBA players, Division 1 college players and the best high school teams in the state.

Because of the historic Fieldhouse, SHS has been given the opportunity to host this showcase each year, according to Andershock.

“It is a great facility, fan friendly, good location, the people of Southport are really great,” Andershock said.