Posted on

Kessinger to join Trees

Kessinger to join Trees
Kessinger to join Trees
Corydon Central senior basketball player Bronson Kessinger is seated while teammates, friends and family gather to hear his college commitment Monday. The forward announced he will play college basketball at Indiana State University. Photo by Brian Smith

Bronson Kessinger isn’t afraid to admit how hard the basketball recruiting process is.
He’s lived it since the eighth grade.
On Monday morning, the 6-foot-8 forward was seated at a table, circled by teammates, family and friends in the commons area on the second floor of Corydon Central High School.
After thanking coaches, family, friends and God, Kessinger broke the news.
‘I will be attending Indiana State University,’ he said.
Applause followed.
Kessinger kept the decision a secret, only telling his parents, along with the coaching staff at Indiana State during his official recruiting visit last weekend.
‘I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to go,’ Kessinger said. ‘I wanted to check them out one last time, knowing what I was getting in to. (Indiana State) Coach (Greg) Lansing is my guy. The team was a bunch of great guys. I can’t wait to be part of the family.’
Other schools that made Kessinger’s final four were Ball State, Toledo and Western Kentucky.
‘I really liked Ball State and Western Kentucky,’ Kessinger said. ‘It was just a matter of fit and where I would be happy at.’
Kessinger took official visits to Ball State and Indiana State. He took a countless number of unofficial visits to other schools that were recruiting his hoops services.
For Corydon Central, Kessinger was part of the Panthers’ co-Mid-Southern Conference championship team that posted an impressive 19-4 record while being ranked much of last season.
As a junior, Kessinger averaged 17.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while also reaching the 1,000 career point total. He shot 56 percent from the field to go along with 26 steals and 31 blocked shots.
The season-ending loss against Silver Creek in the Class 3A Sectional semi-final is still on Kessinger’s mind.
‘It’s nice to have (the commitment) out of the way so I don’t have to worry about who is in the crowd watching,’ Kessinger said. ‘We need to finish our goal from last year. We want that sectional. It’ll be hard with Silver Creek, but the goal is (to) win conference, sectional and try to compete at regional.’
It was a busy summer for Kessinger as well. He was selected an Indiana Junior All-Star and also played the spring and summer AAU circuit with Under Armour Grind.
‘It was a great opportunity to play for the all-stars,’ Kessinger said. ‘All the coaches that recruited me knew it was a big deal. The thing in July (AAU recruiting period), I paid attention to was who was at my games. Coach Lansing was at every one of my games. He let me know I was a priority and the No. 1 recruit they needed to get. That stuck out to me.’
His AAU coach, Jim Reamer, also coached current Indiana State senior Justin Gant, a North Vigo product. The similarities to Gant is part of the draw the Sycamores see in Kessinger.
‘Justin Gant played for my AAU coach, and Lansing said I remind him so much of Gant,’ Kessinger said. ‘I talked extensively with Coach on how they would develop me. I’ll be able to make an impact immediately because they’ll lose Justin Gant. I may fill his shoes after he graduates. I want to be a big part of the team come freshman year.’
Kessinger said he is undecided on a possible major but wants to be around basketball when his playing days are over. Located in Terre Haute, about three hours from Corydon, Kessinger said the location is close enough for family and friends to visit and watch him play in person.
‘I have a few friends already in school up there,’ he added. ‘It’s one of the premier schools in the Valley.’
There is tradition with the Sycamores, most notably the alma mater of hoops legend Larry Bird. He led Indiana State to an NCAA runner-up performance in 1979.
Indiana State is coming off a quality season in the Missouri Valley Conference, going 23-11 overall (12-6 in MVC) while reaching the finals of the league tournament. In the championship, the Sycamores lost to No. 2 Wichita State.
Setting sights on the MVC and an NCAA tournament bid will push Kessinger.
‘This year, it’s supposed to be a really good conference and, hopefully, they’ll get multiple teams in the tournament,’ Kessinger said. ‘I want to win a Valley championship and play in an NCAA tournament. I feel like Indiana State is a great place to do that.’
The dream to play college basketball has been with Kessinger for a long time. He recalled telling his parents of those aspirations.
‘I told them, when I was about 8 or 9 that I wanted to play for Louisville,’ he said. ‘They could have been like any other parent and said I was stupid and pick something else, but, they kept supporting me.’
Kessinger went on to thank the Corydon Central coaching staff: Jamie Kolkmeier, Greg Robinson, Dylan Harl and Tom Emily.
It was the process ‘ visits, phone calls, emails, text messages ‘ that sometimes took a toll on Kessinger.
‘It was great to start with, but there have been some times where I just wanted it over with,’ he said. ‘It’s a blessing, but it can be annoying sometimes and stressful. I’m glad it’s over with, and I know where I’m going.’
One of Kessinger’s favorite parts of the process were visiting schools and campuses ‘ Clemson and Xavier as examples ‘ in the Midwest and Southeast.
‘I went to Louisville a few times then saw the behind-the-scenes stuff at Indiana. Everybody here loves to hear about the Indiana experiences,’ Kessinger said.
Through it all, when the early signing period rolls around on Nov. 12, Kessinger will be part of the Sycamores.
‘Other schools were great, and I’m thankful for them recruiting me,’ he said. ‘But, at the end of the day, Indiana State is where I’ll be the happiest.’