January 23, 2009

Hale continues to impress

While not much attention is given to the southern part of Indiana, Donnie Hale and his undefeated New Albany team are trying to change that mindset. The No. 3 ranked team in the 4A rankings shut down Silver Creek, 92-57, while it was another big day for the 6-7 forward.

Hale finished the game with 26 points on 11-for-16 shooting. He pounded inside for three monstrous dunks and also stepped outside to display his perimeter game, including a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range. He added 12 rebounds and two blocks in the win.

Those kind of numbers are starting to propel Hale to the top of many school's wish list despite not getting a lot of coverage early in his high school career.

"He was a sophomore last year and was the player of the game in the Hall of Fame game in New Castle," New Albany head coach Jim Shanahan said. "I mean, he has always played well. I guess people need to find out more about him, I don't know. All I know is that he can play.

"He can start anywhere in the state. He can play inside and outside and that sets him apart from others his size. He is the real deal, there is no question about it. He can play at any school he wants to."

Hale has been putting up impressive numbers so far this season. Before Friday's game, he was averaging about 21 points and 13 rebounds to help vault the Bulldogs to an 11-0 record. He was also hearing from numerous schools around the country, most notably in the Midwest.

Xavier and Purdue have been the only two schools so far to offer the three-star forward a scholarship. He has also been hearing from Indiana, Kentucky, Ball State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Marquette, Virginia and Penn State.

Despite hearing from those schools, he doesn't plan on committing anytime soon and isn't leaning toward any school.

"I don't have a leader right now. I am wide open," Hale said. "I will start to think about it more after the season. (I will decide) probably before my senior season year."

Hale sees a majority of his time underneath the basket for New Albany, but that might change slightly once he hits a campus. He expects to play the three or the four, wherever he is needed most.

"I am more confident down low because I play there more," Hale said. "But I have been working on my perimeter and it showed tonight with my two three-pointers. I know I won't be a big guy in college, but it won't be that big of an adjustment."

And while he doesn't have any idea where he may end up, he wants his future fans to know about his game.

"I want people to know I always play hard and that I will never back down. No matter what."

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