Noblesville High School senior guard Luke Almodovar’s passion for basketball is understandable. He’s had a quite a mentor.
His grandfather, Billy Keller, was a star guard at Purdue University and played seven seasons (1969 to 1976) with the Indiana Pacers in the ABA. Keller, a 1965 Indiana Mr. Basketball from Indianapolis Washington High School, also was a basketball coach at the University of Indianapolis for seven seasons.
“Growing up, any time he could, he would try to get the ball in my hands and work with me,” Almodovar said. “I didn’t realize it then, but it really helped me out a lot learning from him. He’s a great teacher and great coach.”
Keller is Almodovar’s mother Jill’s stepfather. These days, Keller watches games from livestreams in Florida.
“Almost after every game he calls or texts me to give me things to work on,” Almodovar said.
The 6-foot-3 Almodovar, who recently accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, is averaging nearly 17 points per game for the Millers, who were 13-5 as of Feb. 10. He averaged 12.6 points as a junior and 11 ppg as a sophomore.
“On the court and off the court, I feel I’ve improved as a leader,” Almodovar said. “We’ve lost a few games we shouldn’t have, but it helps learning from our losses.”
Noblesville coach Scott McClelland said he noticed more of a commitment from Almodovar this season.
“He was not only working to improve individually, but to help our team,” McClelland said. “From a basketball standpoint, he’s hit 40 (three-pointers) in 18 games. He’s shooting over 50 percent from the 3-point line. He’s shooting 56 percent from the field. He’s had a good senior year.”
Almodovar said he wants to play in college right away, so NAIA program Saint Francis was a good fit.
“I want to play next year,” said Almodovar, who plans to major in business and minor in communications. “I don’t want to go to a big school and sit on the bench. The opportunity was perfect.”
Jill, whose maiden name is Lyon, played on Noblesville High School’s 1987 girls state championship team. She played volleyball at Purdue Fort Wayne and so did Almodovar’s father, Norman. Jill has previously served the NHS head volleyball coach three times. Almodovar’s sister, Lexie, is a NHS graduate who plays volleyball for the University of Dayton.
Favorite subject: Science
Favorite athlete: LeBron James
Favorite musician: Luke Bryan