BLOOMINGTON – Allen Iverson was known as “The Answer” during his NBA career. Eugene German shares some Iversonlike qualities with his ability to shake defenders and score around the rim. Tremell Murphy has a different nickname ready for German, his IndyStar Indiana AllStars teammate.
“He’s like a walking question mark,” Murphy said. “You don’t know what he’s going to do. Opponents can’t guard him. He’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anybody play like him at the high school level.”
There were questions about the 6foot German, even after his selection to the Indiana AllStars.
That may be surprising, considering he led the state in scoring for two consecutive years at Gary 21st Century, a Class A program that has only been sectional eligible since 2012. Only four other players have accomplished that since 1979-80, the latest being 2010 IndyStar Mr. Basketball Deshaun Thomas.
But if fans hadn’t heard much about German before this week, they aren’t alone.
10 things to know about the Indiana All-Stars
“He shocked me,” said Tech guard C.J. Walker, who is German’s roommate this week. “I heard he averaged like 30 something at 21st Century. I knew he could score. I’m just seeing it in person now. He’s showed it and proved it.”
The Northern Illinois recruit came off the bench to lead the AllStars in scoring on Tuesday at Bloomington South, going for 19 points in a 11896 win over the Junior AllStars
He hit a couple of long 3pointers, but most impressive were his drives to the rim. He finished once with an underhand scoop shot that would have scored somewhere between unlikely and impossible on the level of difficulty scale.
“Eugene finishing at the basket is ridiculous,” said 2016 IndyStar Mr. Basketball Kyle Guy.
German’s performance added credence to his 33.5 point scoring average as a senior. He led 21st Century to a 207 record and a Class A semistate appearance, where the Cougars lost to state champion Liberty Christian. German scored 40 or more points nine times as a senior, including a 51 point explosion in an 81-71 loss to La Lumiere, a prep school power.
Despite all of those impressive numbers, German was far from a shoo-in for the AllStar team. He knew that prior to the Top 60 Senior Workout in early April at Marian University.
“If I didn’t go to the Top 60 Workout, I definitely wouldn’t be on this team,” he said. “I talked to my dad and he said I needed to go down there and bust my butt. Most people didn’t know about me. I led the state in scoring but they didn’t know about me until then.”
Indiana All-Stars director Charlie Hall called German’s performance “the best I’ve ever seen at a Top 60.” If he was on the bubble before, German validated his spot on the 13 player roster that day.
“My first nine shots went in,” he said. “I worked hard all that week and willed my way onto the team.”
There are players on the AllStar roster who were familiar with German’s game prior to the Top 60 Workout and All-Star week. Murphy, from Griffith, and East Chicago Central’s Damien Jefferson were teammates with him on the grassroots SYF team from northwest Indiana.
German attended 21st Century as a seventh and eighth grader before transferring to Andrean as a freshman. He was planning to attend Gary Roosevelt as a sophomore but returned to 21st Century when Roosevelt coach Renaldo Thomas was replaced.
“He showed he’s supposed to be here,” said Murphy, who scored 10 points on 5 for 5 shooting on Tuesday. “He’s a phenomenal player. It’s about time other people recognized he’s this good.”
Left, Senior Eugene German (3), of Gary 21st Century, taps hands with teammates after being introduced at the Indiana boys junior All-Stars versus senior All-Stars, at
German has basketball ties in his family. His father, David German, was a point guard at Gary Horace Mann and graduated in 1982. His older sister, Princess German, starred at Gary Bowman and the University of Indianapolis. She set a UIndy single season record for points last year as a senior, averaging more than 21 a game. Older brother David German Jr., also was a standout at 21st Century.
“My dad taught me everything about the game,” Eugene said. “He couldn’t shoot as well as me. I’m not a great shooter, but they didn’t have the 3point line when he played. So he would get to the basket and penetrate.”
German wasn’t heavily recruited. He jumped on the Northern Illinois offer, he said, because he felt he could compete for playing time right away. Plus, it’s not far from home. The Huskies won 21 games last year under fifth year coach Mark Montgomery.
“(Montgomery) said he likes scoring guards,” German said. “I like to score. Everybody knows that.”
Playing this week for the All-Stars fulfills a dream German has had since the fifth grade. He plans on making the most it.
“I’m always fired up,” he said. “I’m aggressive on offense and defense. That’s how I like to play.”
No question about that.
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 4446649.