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Furst beats out Kaufman-Renn for Mr. Basketball Award

Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian star Caleb Furst excelled in every category last season.

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 3:32 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2021 5:12 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian star Caleb Furst excelled in every category last season.

On Friday, he received his biggest reward yet. The two-time state champion wrapped up a dominant senior season by adding this year's IndyStar Mr. Basketball award to his collection of honors.

Furst received 73 votes from a statewide panel of coaches and media members, outpacing runner-up Trey Kaufman-Renn of Silver Creek. Kaufman-Renn, Indiana's 2019-20 Gatorade player of the year, received 47 votes. Both are headed to Purdue next season.

“It means a lot,” Furst told The Indianapolis Star. “Obviously I’m very humbled and very honored to receive this recognition. It really means a lot. You always want to put the team first so that’s always been on the forefront of my mind, especially with everything that happened last season with the state tournament getting taken away from us.”

The 6-foot-10 Furst averaged 21.4 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last season, leading the Braves to a 28-3 mark and their second straight state title. The 2020 boys basketball tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also dished out 3.0 assists last season and was named the Class 2A Trester Mental Attitude award winner.

Blackhawk Christian was a runaway tourney champ, too, winning every game by at least 13 points.

But the Mr. Basketball voting was more competitive.

Kaufmann-Renn also led his school to two state titles, though in Class 3A. Blackford guard Luke Brown, a Stetson recruit who finished his career with 3,011 points to rank No. 4 on the state's career scoring list, was third with 40 votes.

But after breaking the school's career records for scoring (2,067 points) and rebounding (1,254), Furst managed to become the first Fort Wayne player and first Purdue recruit to win the award since Caleb Swanigan in 2015. He's also the first Class 2A player to earn the honorary No. 1 jersey for the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game since DeShaun Thomas of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in 2010.

The two-game series is scheduled for June 11 in Owensboro, Kentucky, and June 12 in Indianapolis.

And all this came during a season in which Marc Davidson, the 48-year-old coach at Blackhawk Christian, has been battling renal epithelioid angiomyolipoma, a rare cancer that has spread into his lungs.

“One of his main things was that we need to be tough and selfless and always play together,” Furst said. “He really instilled that in us since my freshman year and we really enjoy being around each other off the court. He’s really pushed me in a lot of different ways. And I think that helped me be a leader and let guys know why we do certain things. … He is a great example of how to stay strong and persevere through a tough situation.”

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