Robertson, Oden lead legendary teams

The Crispus Attucks dynasty of the 1950s occupy the No. 1 and 3 spots in the ESPN RISE look at all-time great high school basketball programs in Indiana. ESPN RISE

"Hoosier Hysteria" not only involves great individual talent, such as Larry Legend and the Big O. Indiana is also known for its legendary teams.

On a national scale, most veteran prep observers consider the 1983 Baltimore (Md.) Dunbar team the greatest high school unit in history. Add to the equation programs that draw talent from all over the country and world, such as Virginia's Oak Hill Academy, and the Warriors' 1993 unit is right on par with that '83 Dunbar team that drew players from the greater Baltimore area.

Neither of those teams, however, made history quite like the 1955 Indianapolis Crispus Attucks team, which checks in at No. 3 on our list of elite teams from the Hoosier State. Read on to see if you agree with our elite 10 and make sure to leave a comment about our selections.


1. Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis) 1955-56 (31-0)
The '55 Attucks team lost one game, whereas the '56 team gets the nod as Indiana's best because of its status as the first unbeaten team in Indiana's now defunct one-class tournament. The Big O himself, Oscar Robertson, led both Crispus Attucks teams. Robertson was No. 1 on our all-time Elite 100 player list.

2. Lawrence North (Indianapolis) 2005-06 (29-0)

The Hoosier State's most dominant big man, 2006 EA SPORTS Mr. Basketball USA Greg Oden, led the No. 2 team on our list. His Lawrence North team went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 ranked FAB 50 team and ended the season with a state-record 45-game winning streak. The Wildcats were only the third team to win three consecutive state crowns and capped off their title run with a romp of Muncie Central, which leads all programs with eight state titles.

3. Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis) 1954-55 (30-1)

Coach Ray Crowe's club became the first team nationally to win a state title with an all-black starting lineup. The Big O was Attucks' best player, but 6-foot-5 Willie Merriweather was a senior all-American that averaged 20 points and shot 94 percent from the free throw line.

4. Washington (Indianapolis) 1968-69 (31-0)

The Continentals, led by future Boston Celtic Steve Downing and Mr. Basketball USA George McGinnis, get the nod over '71 E. C. Washington for the No. 4 spot by winning the toughest Final Four field in state history. The semifinalists had a single loss among all four clubs.

5. Washington (East Chicago) 1970-71 (29-0)
The Senators were ranked No. 1 nationally by the National Sports News Service, the producers of the first national rankings. The late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled those ratings and they were continued by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into what is now the ESPN RISE FAB 50 nine years ago. Washington featured future NBA standout Junior Bridgeman, future UCLA guard Pete Trgovich and future Major League pitcher Tim Stoddard.

6. Marion (Marion) 1984-85 (29-0)

Marion joins now-closed Crispus Attucks as the only school with two teams on our elite list. Marion won three consecutive titles between 1985-1987 and only the '85 unit finished with an unblemished record. The Giants were ranked No. 5 nationally.

7. Roosevelt (East Chicago) 1969-70 (28-0)

Sandwiched in between two legendary single-class state title clubs, Roosevelt is arguably the most overlooked team of all-time in Indiana. The Rough Riders were led by arguably the state's most underappreciated individual talent, the late Jim Bradley.

8. Muncie Central (Muncie) 1959-60 (28-1)

Muncie Central's 1960 unit cracks our elite list, but ironically, was not a state championship club. The Bearcats held a 32-point winning margin through 28 games before East Chicago Washington stopped them in their tracks, 75-59, in the state title game.

9. Marion (Marion) 1986-87 (29-1)
This unit edged Lawrence's North's '05 club, led by juniors Oden and Mike Conley Jr., for this spot. Lawrence North avenged both of its losses, including one to FAB 50 ranked Indianapolis Arlington, but Marion was undefeated in state. Coached by Bill Green and led by co-state Mr. Basketball Jay Edwards and Lyndon Jones, Marion lost only to Lafayette of Lexington, Ky. by four points during a holiday tournament in Lexington.

10. Milan (Milan) 1953-54 (28-2)

Our first nine teams are known beyond the borders on Indiana, but none captured the imagination of fans nationally quite like Milan. The high school with 161 students shocked the basketball world by winning the 1954 state title. Milan's legendary season was loosely portrayed in the 1986 film "Hoosiers."


(Listed by tournament year)
1911--Crawfordsville (16-0); 1920--Franklin (29-1); 1923--Vincennes Lincoln (34-1); 1930--Washington (30-1); 1936--Frankfort (29-1); 1942--Washington (30-1); 1943--Fort Wayne Central (27-1); 1950--Madison (27-1); 1957--South Bend Central (30-0); 1959--Indianapolis Crispus Attucks (26-5); 1961--Kokomo (28-1); 1963--Muncie Central (28-1); 1964--Lafayette Jefferson (28-1); 1974--Fort Wayne Northrop (28-1); 1975--Marion (28-1); 1986--Marion (26-3); 1988--Muncie Central (28-1); 1991--Gary Roosevelt (30-1); 1995--Indianapolis Ben Davis (32-1); 1997--Bloomington North (28-1); 1998--Indianapolis Pike (28-1/4A); 2000--Marion (28-1/4A); 2003--Indianapolis Pike (29-0/4A); 2004--Indianapolis Lawrence North (29-2/4A); 2005 --Indianapolis Lawrence North (24-2/4A); 2009--Bloomington South (26-0/4A).