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Willis, Troutman will be key cogs for Kentucky

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2013 Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Classic

 LOUISVILLE – Bullitt County will be well represented this weekend as the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Classic plays two games in the annual summer series between the two basketball crazed states.

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Bullitt East seniors Derek Willis and Rusty Troutman will both be looked at to play key roles in the boys’ games for head coach Allen Feldhaus Jr.’s team.

Kentucky and Indiana will clash on Friday night at Freedom Hall in Louisville. The girls’ game will start at 5:30 p.m. with the boys’ contest to follow at around 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the games will move north with the two contests taking part at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The girls’ game on Saturday will start at 5 p.m.

The Kentucky portion of the games are sponsored by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. Ticket prices on Friday range from $10 to $19.

Willis and Troutman were back in Mount Washington on Monday as the Kentucky All-Stars scrimmaged a group of Junior All-Stars from the state. The Senior group, despite just starting to work together, easily won 110-83. Individual scoring was not available from Monday’s workout that lasted just 90 minutes.

On Monday, both Willis and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Dominque Hawkins, were late for the scrimmage in Mount Washington because both have already started classes at the University of Kentucky. In fact, they both had work-outs with the Wildcats before making the trip to Mount Washington where they arrived at halftime.

Both Willis and Troutman played for the Kentucky Junior All-Stars last season. That group played against a team from Indiana that includes many of the same players that they will face this weekend.

“I know most of their kids,” Willis said after the Monday scrimmage. “We’ll have to play hard to accomplish what we want to do.”

The 6-9 Willis is aware that he will have to play a little closer to the basket with this team because he and Lexington Catholic’s Jack Whitman (6-9) are the only Kentucky players taller than 6-7.

“I know I’ll have to play inside,” Willis said. “Jack and I are the only big guys.”

Willis and his teammates will have the pressure of wearing ‘Kentucky’ across the front of their jerseys.

“Other than just trying to win, that’s the only pressure,” Willis said.

Troutman isn’t taking any summer classes at Bellarmine University where he will play next season, but he realizes how tough it is for Willis and Hawkins this week.

“It’s kind of hectic for them,” he said. “I feel sorry for them, but it won’t be a problem for us.”

Troutman will have pretty much the same responsibilities with this team that he had at Bullitt East.

“I just need to knock down some open shots and get to the rim to grab some garbage,” the 6-5 wing player said. “I’ll just play my role and hustle.”

Troutman feels that the Kentucky All-Stars are becoming a family as they prepare for the big weekend. The team had gotten together three times for work-outs before conducting a walk-through on Monday before the scrimmage. The team will practice this week including another scrimmage on Wednesday at Madison Central before playing on Friday.

“We have to execute our stuff,” Troutman said. “We have a ton of plays we can use. We’ll just have to play hard.”

Willis and Troutman are just the third and fourth Bullitt County players to play for the Kentucky Boys’ All-Stars, joining Bullitt Central’s Jerome Hoosier who played in 1992 and then Robert Troutman who played with the Kentucky All-Stars in 2007. Robert and Rusty are brothers.

Bullitt East also had multiple girls play with the All-Stars in 1983 when Carla Coffey (Young) and Andy Anthony played.

The Kentucky boys have not beaten their Indiana counterpart since winning 95-78 in 2008 in Louisville. That is the only win for the Kentucky boys since 2004. Kentucky has not swept the series since 1986 when Rex Chapman was the state’s Mr. Basketball.