Following a nice performance at a recent tryout in Indianapolis, Greencastle High School senior guard Justin Bartrum made the Indiana team for the upcoming USA Junior National Festival in Columbus, Ohio. The festival will run from July 21 through 27.
Among the competitors, Bartrum was one of 10 selected from the state. The team competing at nationals will be rounded out by five players from Iowa.
"It felt pretty good to make it," he said.
The Junior Nationals Festival will feature teams from 40 states as well as one from Canada. Bartrum said he is feeling a mix of excitement and nerves as the competition nears.
"I'm more excited than nervous because it's an opportunity to play against better kids and different competition," he said.
Bartrum played point guard for the Tiger Cubs during his junior year and looks forward to the experience this tournament will give him heading into his senior year for GHS.
"I think it's going to improve me in a lot of areas and it's going to help me out a lot in the long run. It should get me into the groove heading toward the season," Bartrum said. "All the other players pretty much know about it. They're pretty excited."
As for his teammates for the next week, Bartrum doesn't know much about them yet. While this will be a challenge, he chooses to look at the positive side of the experience.
"I played one day in Indianapolis, but all the kids who made it weren't on my team. So I don't know anybody," he said. "That's the good part about it, to play with people you don't know and to have to adapt quickly as a team. We'll have to find our role players and who our scorers are."
The team will arrive and check in on Monday. They will also practice together that day. The competition begins with a game on Tuesday. Following seven games on Wednesday and Thursday, the teams will be seeded for a tournament that begins Friday.
Bartrum also expects to benefit from the instruction of Coach Marcus Floyd, who is the head coach at Spoon River College in Illinois.
"I think he's going to have a lot to offer and to throw at me, so I'm real excited about that," Bartrum said.