INDIANAPOLIS -- The gymnasium at Lawrence North High School, plunked in one of the city's northeast suburbs, has seen a lot through the years.
There have been state championship teams led by legendary coach Jack Keefer.
There have been celebrity college coaches in the stands, eager to extend offers to Keefer's latest stars.
There have been eventual NBA players, big like Eric Montross and Greg Oden and small like Mike Conley, Jr., and, who knows, maybe one day West Virginia's Eron Harris.
He's but a 6-foot-2, 190-pound freshman with the Mountaineers, averaging 6.2 points in 15.1 minutes per game, but enjoying an expanding role lately as a reliable player who makes key plays in important spots.
Harris played his high school basketball here, about 75 minutes southeast of Purdue, where he and WVU (8-8) will play the Big Ten's Boilermakers (9-8) at 2 p.m. Saturday in a nationally televised game on CBS.
Harris said 15 or so family members will zip up Interstate 65 to the West Lafayette campus.
He could only guess about the number of friends and fans, the ones who filled bleachers where this journey began in the fall of 2011.
A tip led WVU Coach Bob Huggins to one of Keefer's practices at that Lawrence North gym that had seen so many things, but hadn't seen something quite like what Huggins would witness.
Keefer likes to put his players through something he calls the Celtics drill. Racks each holding five basketballs are placed in five spots arching around the 3-point line, an equal distance apart from one another.
Make five at one station, move to the next.
"You just shoot around the horn until you hit 50," Keefer said.
"It takes quite a while to make 50 shots."
With Huggins watching, Harris needed 56 attempts.
"As I understood, West Virginia didn't have too many shooters last year," Keefer said, an understatement for the Mountaineers team that set the school record for worst 3-point shooting percentage in a season. "Coach Huggins said, 'You've got a scholarship right now.' "
Harris hasn't stopped with the clutch moments since. He's done something special in each of the past three games.
The first came Jan. 9 in a road win against Texas, when the Mountaineers were passing through a late possession in a tied game and Harris sneaked into the left corner for a go-ahead 3 with 16 seconds to go. The second was Saturday's home loss to No. 16 Kansas State, when Harris rescued a possession going nowhere with a go-ahead jumper on the right baseline with 25 seconds remaining.
The third, and the best, was in Wednesday's loss at Iowa State. Harris was 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the final 10:57 and led the rally from 18 points down to tie the score with 11 seconds remaining.
"He's a big moment shooter," teammate Kevin Noreen said of Harris, who shoots a team-high 41 percent from 3-point range.
Basketball 'a way of life' in Indiana
They live for those moments in Indiana.
"High school hoops in Indiana is where it's at, man," Harris said. "Everyone knows that."
What WVU fans new to the Big 12 are learning about the passion devoted to Texas high school football and the preparedness of those players is what Harris and all the other Hoosiers know to be true about high school basketball in Indiana and in this city.
"It's just so important to these people," Keefer said. "We fill our gyms. A lot of times a kid doesn't go to a Division I school like Eron has and goes to a small Division II school. He'll have 1,000 people in the stands and feel like, 'I had more people than this when I was in high school.' It's a way of life here."
Lawrence North can squeeze about 4,000 into its stands, be it when Lawrence Central brings the rivalry across town, a nationally televised showcase for Oden and Conley, Jr., in December 2005 or a can't-miss occasion against the state's Mr. Basketball Eric Gordon and eventual runner-up North Central in 2007.
It's like that throughout the city and the state, and the fervor grows as you move away from Indianapolis.
"In those places, you scream and yell as long as you can," Keefer said.
The cities and counties that don't have the quick and easy access to distractions like the Colts, Pacers and auto racing cherish their high school basketball.
"They've got great organization and they've got really good coaching in Indiana basketball," Huggins said. "They really do coach them up and do a good job teaching them and getting them ready."
Keefer has been in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame since 2007. The year before, Sports Illustrated and USA Today named him their national high school coach of the year, something no coach in the state had ever won before.