The Indy Heat enjoyed a rock-solid 2018 season, riding the talents of high-major talents Trayce Jackson-Davis and Keion Brooks Jr. The dynamic duo combined to average nearly 40 points a game, operating as one of the most productive frontcourts in the country as the Heat went 9-7 during the regular season. Jackson-Davis (Indiana commit) and Brooks (Kentucky commit) have moved on, as have the rest of the 2018 roster, so the Heat will be depending on an entirely new rotation on their quest of earning back-to-back Peach Jam berths. Head coach Jason Delaney will deploy a talented - albeit very thin - rotation. They don’t have the star punch as other rosters, so the Heat will be depending session-to-session consistency and for their players to settle into their respective roles. The Heat feature six players with a 247-star rating, and all eight rotation players own offers from Division 1 schools.
As mentioned before, the Heat doesn’t really have a ‘star’. Instead, the Heat’s rotation is a collection of rock-solid, underrated Division 1 prospects with a point to prove. Junior Justin Powell has a chance to play the part of ‘star’ for the Heat as the 6-foot-6 point guard will have the keys to the car. Powell is a skilled, athletic guard that doesn’t make many mistakes with the ball in his hands. Powell enrolled at North Oldham (KY) after transferring from Montverde Academy, and his return to Kentucky arguably makes him the top prospect in the state. Powell, who recently visited Kentucky and Ohio State, will have every opportunity to improve his stock on the national level. His basketball IQ is off the charts, and with the talent around him, he should put up some impressive numbers.
Junior Jaden Ivey is a somewhat under-the-radar prospect, but the Heat coaching staff is extremely high on the 6-foot-3 guard. Ivey has some unique roots, as he’s the son of Niele Ivey, the starting point guard for Notre Dame on Muffet McGraw’s first national championship team in 2001. Much like his mother, Ivey is a hard-nosed, attacking point guard who competes on both ends of the floor. Ivey averaged 25.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.9 steals in 22 games for Marian (IN) in 2018-19, helping guide the Knights to a 20-4 record. Expect Ivey to put up some impressive scoring numbers as he will be relied on to lead the scoring load for the Heat.
Powell and Ivey will both play major minutes in the backcourt and they’ll have three teammates helping them out. Junior guard Nijel Pack also has a chance to breakout. A 6-foot, 165-pound junior guard, Pack (247 No. 201) is coming off a tremendous junior year, earning All-MIC and IBCA All-State honors for for Lawrence Central (IN). Pack’s versatility is illustrated in his numbers; the do-it-all guard averaged 16.5 points, 4.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 25 games for the Bears, helping lead them to a 22-4 record and a berth in the state championship.
D’Andre Davis, a teammate of Pack at Lawrence Central, is an under-the-radar guard that should excel in Indy’s system. Listed at 6-foot-6, 185 pounds, Davis is a strong, physical guard that likes to get on the boards. Davis averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists for Lawrence Central, partnering with Pack to lead one of the most potent lineups in the state. Junior guard Johnell Davis rounds out the backcourt rotation, and the 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard will provide a spark off the bench for the Heat. Davis amassed 600 points as a junior, in 2018-19, the single-season record at 21st Century Charter (IN). Davis’ season averages don’t disappoint, as the emerging guard averaged 25 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.4 steals, and 3.2 assists in 26 games. He’s currently unranked, but he will have every opportunity to make a name for himself on a national platform.
The Heat will enter the 2019 season with three big men in their rotation, led by highly-ranked Caleb Furst. The 6-foot-10, 215-pound sophomore is highly-skilled and super productive, and he’s fresh off a 1A State Championship win for Blackhawk Christian. Furst dropped 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in the state championship win, capping a season in which he averaged 19.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Furst is great in the post and is more than capable of taking you off the dribble, but his defense is what should stand out in the Heat uniform. He completed dominated on both ends during the high school season, and it will be interesting to see if he does that same against national competition.
Junior rim-protector Kiyron Powell will play big minutes alongside Furst, and the 6-foot-10 big man from Evansville Bosse (IN) should gain plenty of interest from college coaches. Powell will need to be active on the boards and stay out of foul trouble because his length and athleticism will be problematic for the opposition if he’s playing alongside Furst and the third member of the Heat’s frontcourt, Chris Conway. Standing at 6-foot-9, Conway has good athleticism and lives in the paint on both ends of the floor. He’s capable of stretching the floor offensively, and his overall production and efficiency are massively important to the Heat’s long-term success. The front-court doesn’t have much depth, so it will be imperative that Furst, Powell, and Conway stay on the court and out of foul trouble.
The Indy Heat never bring a big roster to the circuit, but running with eight players is a bold move. Outside of their performance on the court, simply maintaining their health will be vital to their success. They will have their work cut out for them in a loaded Division C, but you can be certain that head coach Jason Delaney will have his troops prepared. Powell will have the ball in his hands frequently, but Delaney and company will need either Pack or Ivey to step up offensively. If both perform to their potential, the Heat will be a difficult out. They play tough, disciplined defense and play to their strengths. With eight players on their roster, it is imperative that they stay out of the back-and-forth shootouts that are likely to take place with the new 24-second shot clock. If they stay healthy, this roster has more than enough talent to make it to Peach Jam.
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