There is no break in V.J. Beachem's summer. Can you blame him? He's got basketball skills to develop, basketball commitments to meet, a Notre Dame opportunity to prepare for.
On Friday night, for instance, the New Haven standout will be at Indianapolis Heritage Christian High School as part of the Indiana Junior All-Stars squad set to face their Kentucky counterparts. On Saturday night he'll be at North Oldham High School in Kentucky in the conclusion of the two-game series that mirrors that of the more established Senior All-Stars event.
Beachem also has upcoming July trips to Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Las Vegas as part of his travel-ball commitment with the Eric Gordon All-Stars.
Any chance that all this is too much?
“It's fun,” he says. “I never get burned out. Of course, some days you just want to take it off, but you know somebody else is out there working, so you have to work just as hard as them.”
Beachem is committed to Notre Dame as part of the Class of 2013. He's ranked No. 81 nationally by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service. He's considered the nation's 13th-best small forward.
Last year, the 6-7 Beachem averaged 19.9 points. That makes him the third-best scorer on the Junior All-Stars team behind Tipton's Mike Crawford (23.3) and Mishawaka Marian's Demetrius Jackson (22.4).
Scoring is among the reasons why Notre Dame coach Mike Brey offered Beachem a scholarship. The reason Beachem accepted, he says, involves the quality of a Notre Dame education as well as the excellence of the basketball program.
“It's Notre Dame,” he said. “They have the 40-year plan –- 40 years from now (it will still be paying off). Basketball-wise, Coach Brey is great and they have a great coaching staff. Their style of play really fits me. I love the Big East and the way they play.”
What do Notre Dame coaches want from Beachem?
“They love my game,” he said. “It fits their system and the way they like to play.
“I'm working on getting stronger and becoming an overall well-rounded player and more than just somebody who shoots jumpers, more than just going to the rack. I want to do everything.”
That's why Beachem's days are filled with training. He said he gets up around 8:30 a.m. and goes “straight to the YMCA.” He lifts weights on Monday and Wednesday. Then he goes to the gym to shoot and workout. In the afternoon he returns to the gym with his father, then might go back later in the evening.
Beachem played in last week's pair of exhibitions against the Indiana Senior All-Stars. The juniors lost both games, but pushed the seniors hard. Now he gets two shots at Kentucky, with the goal of duplicating the Indiana Senior All-Stars sweep.
“You always want to win,” he says, “but the main objective is to have fun. I've had fun. That's good. It's a fun experience, a once in a lifetime experience. How many guys can say they played in an Indiana All-Star game?
Beachem is one of several Indiana Junior All-Stars who also play for the Eric Gordon All-Star travel team. Others include Zak Irvin of Hamilton Southeastern, Collin Hartman of Indianapolis Cathedral and Devin Davis of Indianapolis Warren Central.
The Juniors girls All-Stars also play Friday and Saturday against Kentucky. They include Snider's Meredith Shipman, Canterbury's Bailey Farley and South Side's Ariana Simmons.
The Indiana girls team is coached by Norwell's Eric Thornton. It will try to make up for the Senior All-Stars two losses to Kentucky last week.