Leisurely paced basketball? Are you nuts? Who would want to play like that? Certainly not Shane Hall. He's the 6-8 Class of 2014 forward from out-of-the-mainstream Johnson Central High School in Kentucky looking to make a recruiting mark.
But along the way, consider this -- Hall doesn't do half-court basketball well. Yes, it sometimes becomes a necessity, like listening to your mother tell you why you should eat peas (we thought, now that we're just SLIGHTLY past 30 years old, that we'd be beyond that; over the weekend, we discovered we were not), but who wants necessity when there's all this fun to have.
After all, isn't basketball a game a passion? Shouldn't you play because you love it?
For Hall, the No. 72 ranked player in his class if you believe Scout.com, a national Internet recruiting service, basketball love comes on the run. He's strong and athletic and thrives on the move.
“I like an up-and-down-the-court team,” he says. “A team that fast breaks. A team that's always going.”
“I don't like half court at all.”
And then, he waffles. Just slightly.
“Half court is OK, but I like getting up and down the court the whole game.”
Enter Indiana coach Tom Crean. He likes half-court approaches almost as much as Hall. Crean's Hoosiers pushed the pace last season, and that was without a true point guard. Now they have freshman Yogi Ferrell, who was signed in part because of his all-blur ability. This group could put the “Hurryin'” back in the Hoosiers.
Yes, that intrigues Hall, who's already taken two unofficial visits to Bloomington.
“I like the (Indiana) coaches,” he says. “They're mostly about what I want to do on the court, which is get up and down the whole game.”
Indiana, Virginia Tech and Alabama-Birmingham are the highest-profile teams consistently recruiting Hall. Kentucky and Louisville have expressed interest, with Miami of Ohio and Northern Kentucky also in the picture.
“(Miami and NKU) are at all my games,” Hall says. “I see the Northern Kentucky guy at every game. He doesn't miss.”
College coaches provide feedback from what they've seen from his games. The verdict -- get bigger (he only weighs 205 pounds), and develop a better shot.
“I try to play strong against the big guys in the post,” he says. “I try to push around a little bit. It's a little bit hard, but I try to push back.”
Hall does his pushing now for the Louisville Magic travel ball team, a national step up from his previous Hoop Dreams team. He joined the squad this month and it includes D'Angelo Russell, one of the nation's top guards, and Quentin Snider, a Louisville commit. The team won the Adidas Invitational last weekend in Indianapolis.
“On this team, everybody can score and do something with the ball,” Hall says. “We win more, and go farther in tournaments, so more coaches see us.”
Yes, that matters when you're an under-the-radar guy trying to prove you belong in elite company.
“Shane's played very, very well,” Magic coach Ellis Myles says. “It's not just one thing he does well, he does everything well. That's what we need from him.”
Hall is set to meet that need the next two weeks of the July evaluation period. It's a hectic schedule, and one Hall loves -- to a point.
“I enjoy all the games,” he says. He flashes a smile. “The practices are a little hard, but I make it through them.”
When scholarship offers come, and they're certain to, Hall says he's in no hurry to accept.
“I'll probably wait until my senior year to decide. You never know what players are going to commit, what's going to change over the years.”
In the meantime, Hall will use the rest of the month to improve his game, work on his shooting, and build his fitness.
“I don't want to take any breaks on the court so it looks like I can run the whole game,” he says.
You don't have to like peas to understand that.