Montgomery readies for last basketball rodeo

Photo by Marlena Sloss/The Herald


The top high school baseball prospect in the state might also just be the best basketball player in Southern Indiana. If he isn’t the very best, his name will come up in the conversation among local coaches.

Colson Montgomery begins his final basketball season Saturday for Southridge as the Raiders open their 2020-21 season at Evansville Mater Dei. Prep Baseball Report rated Montgomery the top prospect in the Hoosier State for the Class of 2021, and he is currently committed to continue his baseball career at Indiana University.

Whether he will play college ball in Bloomington remains to be seen, since he could also get chosen in the 2021 Major League Baseball First-year Player Draft, and sign with the team that selects him.

But that’s a decision and a discussion for the down the road. Montgomery is also a star basketball player, as he is the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer. He doesn’t need to worry about his future on the diamond at this exact moment because he can just focus on playing high school basketball.

“It’s a blessing, honestly,” Montgomery said. “I’m thankful for everything and all the opportunities that have come through all this, and being able to just go out and be a kid and play basketball. Not many kids get to say that. I’m just really humble and blessed about it.”

“He wants to just be a normal kid,” Southridge coach Mark Rohrer said. “I've said these things to his parents, I've said these things to people in the community, my friends and family — think about the things that we were having to worry about and decide at age 17 and 18. It is not the same thing that he has to, and I've always just been so impressed with his maturity about it, his attitude and really I think that comes from his parents (T.J. and Lisa), too, that he is a very humble kid, and he just wants to be a normal kid.

“He wants to go out this winter and win a bunch of games with his friends, his teammates — the guys he’s been playing with forever, and have a really special basketball season,” Rohrer continued.

Montgomery told the Herald on Friday that he’s been playing basketball, “Ever since I could since I could walk, pretty sure.”

Opposing teams try to slow him down on the court — but their efforts aren’t always successful. He could have picked basketball instead of baseball, and have ended up as a cager at the NCAA Division I level. Montgomery broke the Southridge single game school scoring record during his freshman season, and he broke his own boys record last year as a junior.

"We're not talking about a kid here that could have potentially been a Division II basketball player," Rohrer said. "We're talking about the IUs, the Purdues, the Louisvilles of the world that, as a freshman and sophomore, he's getting major attention from."

Rohrer looks at the best seniors in the state inCaleb Furst from Blackhawk Christian School and Trey Kaufman from Silver Creek, and he thinks Montgomery would be right there with them if he dedicated his life to basketball 12 months out of the year.

The third-year Raiders coach is impressed, however, with his star player's commitment to the sport — even though big things await for him on the diamond.

"He loves it, and he cares a tremendous amount about basketball," he said. "I do think that that is just a really special attribute that he has is that he is able to balance things appropriately. When he is in a basketball game, he is 100 percent locked in."

Rohrer will contend that Montgomery is one of the best basketball players in Indiana — if not the best.

"He goes out and mentally plays like that, physically plays like that, even though he knows it's not necessarily his career choice," Rohrer said. "That is a very unique and special thing, obviously. It says a lot about his character that he is able to still go out and give what he does to the game of basketball that he still loves, and I think that's a really neat thing."

Montgomery thinks it'll be tough to put the basketball down for good after his senior year is over, but he knows all things come to an end. He wants to make his last prep hoops campaign a memorable one, and not get too stressed or try to do too much.

"It's last go around," Montgomery said. "You got to enjoy it a little bit, right?"

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