'Potential' is a buzzword that is always associated with the sports world whether it be high school, college or professional.
Northview senior Heath Chamberlain has plenty of it when you consider that in just one year of high school basketball, the 6'7 center averaged 12.8 ppg. and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting better than 60 percent from the field.
It took Marian College coach John Grimes just one visit to see Chamberlain play to see the potential that lies within the Northview senior.
"I didn't know much about (Chamberlain)," Grimes said. "But seeing him play in the sectional, I liked the way he handled himself and played. He really intrigued me. He has a lot of promise and potential."
Northview basketball coach Mitch Lancaster saw the same thing before the 2004-05 season began for the Knights.
"He had great hands and good footwork from the beginning," noticed Lancaster. "From the beginning he really took in what the coaches were saying and as he got better, so did we as a team."
In his varsity debut, Chamberlain added seven points and seven rebounds against Martinsville as Northview perhaps surprised a lot of people with a win after graduating seven seniors from the previous year's team. But the Knights rallied together as a group despite having little varsity experience. Chamberlain was a big part of that, providing a consistent effort night to night before really breaking out with a 10 point, 15 rebound effort versus Edgewood in the season's sixth game.
In the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic he averaged a double-double and turned a lot of heads as the Knights advanced to the championship game. But perhaps his brightest moment might have been in a rescheduled conference game versus Owen Valley
The Patriots overcame a 10 point Northview lead in the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it to overtime. Front court partner Nick Wells had scored 20 points in regulation but was sent to the locker room with a migraine headache, but Chamberlain took over, scoring 19 of his 23 points in four overtimes, pulling down 12 boards as the Knights won a key WIC matchup.
"I think before the season a lot of people were skeptical (about Chamberlain's ability)," commented Lancaster. "But he proved a lot of detractors wrong. I'm glad we had him as long as we did."
Chamberlain was a four year football player for Northview, winning the Mental Attitude Award this year and being selected to participate in the Wabash Valley All-Star Football Game on June 25 at Rose Hulman.
At Marian College, located in Indianapolis, Chamberlain would like to focus on Sports Management in the academic realm and hopes to help the Knights climb back to the top of the Mid-Central College Conference standings.
"My goal is to just get better and help out the team as much as I can," noted Chamberlain. "I've got to work on my speed and agility and I can always get better at my post moves."
Marian College finished last season at 14-11 in one of the tougher NAIA Conferences in the country as Huntington College (No. 9) and Taylor (No. 16) were both nationally ranked and Goshen (21-11), Grace (18-13) and Spring Arbor (19-15 were all over the .500 mark.
The Knights will graduate two players from last season's team, but will return a veteran crew that includes three of their top four scorers and a pair of 6'5 forwards along with a 6-7 center.
Chamberlain will have the opportunity to learn from those experienced veterans who all averaged double digit scoring and combined to pull down 16 rebounds per game.
"He'll be behind three seniors," commented Grimes. "It'll be a good opportunity for him to play behind some experienced players of that caliber in practice. (Chamberlain) will need to work on the same things that most freshmen have to, working on the intensity of the college game."
"If he continues to work hard he has the potential to be great," noted Grimes.
Lancaster believes that for Chamberlain, the sky is really the limit.
"He signed a college scholarship after having played basketball for about six months. I think Coach Grimes can put him on a basketball program, that if he continues to improve at the same rate he did this year, your going to see a great player, but an even better person."