INDIANAPOLIS -- Nick Gamble limped across the Ben Davis High School court. The first game in what loomed as another busy basketball day in another busy basketball week and the Homestead senior to be appeared vulnerable.
He was not.
“I'm fine,” he said with a smile. “This is just the way I walk.”
Gamble had pushed a fierce point guard pace in a Thursday midafternoon game as part of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Top 100 Basketball Showcase. This was an early chance for some of the state's best Class of 2013 talent (some, such as Trey Lyles and Trevon Bluiett, missed the event to participate in national tourneys) to make an early impression in the Indiana All-Star selection process.
Gamble, who averaged 16 points and five assists for a powerful Homestead squad last season, is among the best.
It also was part of the July evaluation period for college coaches. Indiana associate head coach Steve McClain was there. So was new Marian University coach Todd Lickliter, Indiana State coach Greg Lansing, Ball State coach Billy Taylor and plenty of others.
Gamble was determined to take full advantage. In the short term, that means getting a jump on making the All-Star squad, which will be determined next spring. Long term, it means showcasing his college potential.
“Making the All-Star team would be very cool,” he said. “It would be a dream come true. That's always been a goal of mine. I keep working every day trying to show what I can do, and go from there.”
Where Gamble goes to college remains to be seen. Chicago State and Illinois-Chicago have offered scholarships. Evansville and Akron are interested. He's also gotten a few NAIA offers.
Gamble can commit at any time, but he can't sign until this November as part of the early signing period.
He said he's in no hurry.
“I'm looking for a great environment,” he said. “Education is first. Then I want a program I can fit into where my game fits. I don't want to have to go through an adjustment period. I don't want to have to sit for three years and then play. That all factors into my decision.”
Gamble is not yet college ready, and he knows it.
“At the next level I have to get stronger and quicker,” he said. “I have to think the game better. Improve my jump shot and improve my ballhandling and my game all around.
“The next level is a different beast. You've got to stay ready. You've got to keep working to keep up with those guys.”
College coaches have offered suggestions, primarily involving his pull-up jumper.
“I have to work on my one- and two-dribble pull-up and getting stronger with the ball,” he said.
On Thursday, players had early afternoon drill sessions before being divided into teams that offered little time to develop chemistry and timing. But if the performances were sometimes rough, the opportunity was still appreciated.
“It's a great experience playing with the great players here,” Gamble said. “I have a lot of friends I've played with before. It's a great experience trying to learn something from all these guys, play hard and compete.”
Competition doesn't end. Today and Saturday Gamble's Fort Wayne Legit travel team plays in the Best of the Midwest tourney in Fishers. Next week -- after just one day off -- they travel to another AAU event in Orlando, Fla.
“You have to stay in shape and stay ready for this,” Gamble said. “We've been playing good basketball. Hopefully we can win a tournament in the next few weeks.”
Does all this nonstop basketball ever get old?
“Not at all,” he said. “I enjoy this. I could do it all day. Basketball is my passion.”