Prairie Height vs Westview Sectionals

Westview High School senior Charlie Yoder (5) looks up as he drives to the basket in this March file photo from the Class 2A Sectional at Westview in Topeka.

TOPEKA — What does one of the most prolific scorers in Indiana high school basketball history do after his prep career is over?

Change his diet, of course.

That’s what recent Westview graduate Charlie Yoder has done as he prepares for the next step of his basketball career.

“I just stopped eating sugar and bread and just start concentrating on eating a lot of protein and fruits, stuff like that,” Yoder said. “I’ll do about anything to help me become a better basketball player. I think it’s worth it, especially with the progress I’ve made so far.”

Yoder announced on April 20 that he was committing to Incarnate Word, a Division-I school in San Antonio, Texas, to continue his basketball career. Rather than enroll at the school right away, though, Yoder was going to go to a post-grad program for a year before starting at Incarnate Word beginning with the 2021-22 season.

In June, Yoder made it public that his post-grad year would be at SPIRE Institute/Academy in Geneva, Ohio. The news was first reported by Outside The Huddle.

While at SPIRE, Yoder will get a chance to play basketball while also taking a couple of classes that can count as credits towards his college degree. Going to SPIRE allows Yoder to get his body ready for Division-I basketball without losing a year of eligibility at Incarnate Word.

“It’s just really nice there; just their facilities are amazing, really,” said Yoder of SPIRE. “We just talked to them and I think they can help me get ready for college. They play a high level of competition. Last year, I think they had six kids go Division-I, so my teammates are high level as well. I’ll be competing against really good competition every single day.”

Yoder said he plans on starting at SPIRE the week after Labor Day in September. The basketball team travels around the country playing in tournaments, which may be restricted this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yoder isn’t worried about games being lost, though.

“They only have 50 kids anyway at the school and all of them are athletes, so I think they’re under a little bit different rules than the NCAA,” Yoder said. “They can do what they feel is best, so I think they’ll have us come because it’s pretty safe, really. There are not that many people there.”

While the pandemic has limited some of the things Yoder can do, he’s still been able to train daily in his barn, which features half a basketball court in it. He’s also played with friends at the park and competed in smaller tournaments throughout northern Indiana. That and his changed diet have helped Yoder become an even better player this summer.

“I’ve just been working on continuing to gain strength and my athleticism,” Yoder said. “It’s been really cool just to see my body change.”

Yoder will have a familiar face at most of his games, as his dad, Rob, resigned as head coach of the Westview boys program to spend more time following Charlie’s post-high school career.

“I think he’s enjoying it so far,” said Charlie of Rob’s newfound free time. “He trains a few kids in our barn, so that keeps him close. I think he’s kind of enjoying not worrying about anything else other than working me out, and I think he’s excited to be able to go places and see different parts of the country.”

It was an incredible four-year career for Yoder at Westview. He finished 25th all-time in state scoring with 2,163 points. He holds numerous program records at Westview, including most wins as a varsity starter with 91. Yoder was selected as an Indiana All-Star this year, the first player in program history to be selected for that honor. He says the latter is what makes him the proudest of his time as a Warrior.

“There’s a lot of teams that had Indiana All-Stars and they have (their jerseys) somewhere in their gym,” Yoder said. “We have a really storied program, and to be able to be the first at our school is really special. To have little kids look at it and say they can do whatever they want, even though they’re from a small school and a small town, that’s kind of special to me.”

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.

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