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Local standouts will be teammates, roommates at Hanover

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Jaren Hornbeak and Tyler Bryant are both going to Hanover College in the fall to play basketball. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
Jaren Hornbeak and Tyler Bryant are both going to Hanover College in the fall to play basketball. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Katherine Parker Hall became part of the Hanover College landscape decades before Jaren Hornbeak and Tyler Bryant released their first 3-point attempts.

Referred to on campus simply as KP, the red-brick dorm built in 1964 celebrates a half-century of business with Hanover’s incoming freshman class.

Included in the mix are men’s basketball recruits Hornbeak and Bryant, multifaceted guards who’ll do their best to make up for the Panthers graduating three of their top four scorers from last season’s 19-9 squad.

Best of all, they’ll be roommates.

“We’ve known each other a long time but never really been super close. Just being with him this summer I can tell we’re going to fit real well together,” said Hornbeak, a Greenwood Community High School product who was named the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year after averaging 21.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists as a senior.

“We’re both goofy kids who like to have fun. I think it will be a good time,” Hornbeak added.

Wearing Woodmen colors virtually ensured Hornbeak wouldn’t be a fan of Center Grove’s Bryant — and vice versa — during the past three winters.

Center Grove won all three games by an average spread of 23.3 points, including a 59-43 decision at Greenwood on Dec. 27. Hornbeak tallied a game-high 16 points in the loss; Bryant’s nine contributed to a balanced Trojans attack.

The two didn’t guard one another often but made sure to make it memorable when they did.

“I was in his ear. I like talking to Tyler, but it was a good time guarding him. I like guarding my friends just because it’s a bragging right type of deal. It’s a competitive thing. He likes it. He can handle it, no doubt,” Hornbeak said.

“I’m a lot more obvious. You know when I’m talking. Tyler’s more under his breath. He’ll say something to certain players, but he’s not going to run down the court screaming. But he does talk some, yeah.”

Bryant finished his senior season as Center Grove’s second-leading scorer (16.5). The 6-foot-1, 165-pound marksman’s 25 points couldn’t quite get the Trojans over the hump in his final outing, a 54-53 sectional semifinal loss to Franklin Central.

Bryant’s 3.5 rebounds per game ranked him second on the team, while his 72 3-pointers and 195 attempts (.369) were by far tops. Bryant also led the Trojans in steals with 19.

Hornbeak can play point or shooting guard at Hanover. Bryant is a shooting guard to the core, a green-light special whose quick release makes him difficult to defend.

“They recruited me to shoot, so obviously I have to keep getting up shots this summer and making sure my shot is looking good,” Bryant said.

“Another thing I always try to work on, which is hard for me, is to gain weight. It’s a different level whether it’s Division III or D-I. You have to be stronger because you’re playing with men now — 20- and 21-year-olds.”

Bryant committed to play for the Panthers before conducting a sales job on his friend.

“I committed earlier than Jaren did. I committed at the beginning of the season, and he waited until toward the end. While he was making his decision, we were constantly texting because I knew he was getting recruited by them,” Bryant said.

“I needed a roommate and didn’t want to room with a random person, so I kept telling him he should go there and how fun it would be. And how good we were going to be if we both did go there.”

Hanover hasn’t exactly needed much assistance in that department. Coach Jon Miller’s first six seasons produced a record of 96-61 (.611).

The new roomies move into their assigned dorm Aug. 24. That’s a lot of scorer’s mentality in a room measuring 14 feet by just under 11 feet.

“We’re used to each other, and it will also be nice to play with another good player who will push me. Make sure I’m getting to class, make sure I’m going out to the gym. Stuff like that,” Bryant said. “It will just be a good experience because we’ve grown up together and we both love basketball.”

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