Bloomington – One of the best kept secrets in the state of Indiana is out.
Franklin Central's 6-8, 225-pound forward Patrick Bade had been getting recruiting interest from some of the country's top football programs, but his basketball skills had been somewhat overlooked. That's changed after a big junior season and some strong start to the AAU season with the Indiana Elite LNO squad.
In the last two weeks, Bade has been offered scholarships by Miami (Ohio) and Iowa, and he's also been hearing from Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Xavier, Penn State and Butler.
"There have been a lot more schools showing interest in me," said Bade, who averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior. "My high school coach just says it takes time."
Apparently, Bade's time has now come. After starting off his high school career as a exclusively a center, he's developed his ball handling and shooting to the point that he's being recruited as either a big forward or wing forward. He was recently selected as one of the six "core" members of the Indiana Junior All-Star team along with North Montgomery's D.J. Byrd, Lawrence North's Stephan Van Treese, Winchester's Tyler Koch, Marion's Scott Wood and Batesville's Colt Ryan.
"I feel like I've developed a lot," said Bade. "I've matured in my game, and I've worked hard on my game. I think my post play has improved a ton, and also my ability to shoot outside has gotten better. Now I can shoot the 3 every now and then, and I can handle the ball pretty decent. Then, I can go inside and create mismatches and play inside if I need to."
Bade said he was getting some token interest from Indiana when Kelvin Sampson was in charge of the program, and it's picked up a bit since Tom Crean has taken over. The Hoosiers haven't offered a scholarship, but Crean and Bade have talked and the new IU coach has told him he's going to keep his eye on him this spring and summer.
Crean got his first chance to watch Bade this weekend, as he was one of more than 100 players to compete in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association's Top 100 Showcase at Ben Davis H.S.
"Coach Crean is checking out everybody in Indiana," Bade said. "He said he's heard a lot about me from a lot of people and he's looking at all the recruits in Indiana because he doesn't know exactly what's here yet. He said he plans to try to keep the Indiana players in Indiana."
While Indiana figures to be a big draw, Purdue would be an attractive option to Bade as well. He said he's been hearing from Purdue, Iowa and Northwestern the longest, and Purdue already has one of Bade's former high school teammates, JaJuan Johnson, playing in West Lafayette.
"Purdue's really coming on," Bade said. "They had that great class last year, and I feel (Coach Matt Painter) already has some good recruits coming in for my year as well."
Bade says there's an attraction to stay in-state, but he won't shut the door to any opportunity that might come his way.
"Distance isn't a factor," Bade said.
New opportunities figure to keep coming for this talented in-state forward as he continues to turn heads during the AAU season. He'll be in Lawrence, Kan., this weekend for the Jayhawk Invitational before returning to Indiana to compete in the Adidas May Classic the following weekend.
"(Playing with Indiana Elite) has helped me immensely," Bade said. "I think that's what kind of helped me break out from under the radar."
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