Charlie Yoder is the top uncommitted prospect in the state of Indiana as of April 16.
It is about the only think that Yoder has yet to accomplish during his senior year of high school, even if his non-committed status won’t last much longer.
While he spends his time before the decision putting up shots on the court in his family’s barn, Yoder can look back and see that the list of his high school accomplishments has gone from intense to nearly unparalleled as he broke record after record with Westview during the 2019-2020 season. It is because of that status that he has been named the 2019-20 Outside the Huddle Boys Basketball Co-Player of the Year.
The majority of the focus of Yoder’s senior season went to his scoring and rightfully so. Yoder broke every conceivable school and county record, teetering on breaking regional records in the process. Yoder became just the 55th player in the history of the state to break 2,000 career points and finished his career in a sectional semifinal loss as the 25th best scorer that the state has ever seen with 2,163 points. In our area, just three players – Bishop Luers’ Deshaun Thomas, Whitko’s Logan Irwin and Bellmont’s Seth Colclasure – have ever scored more points in their careers.
Shrinking it down to a smaller level, Yoder also decimated long-standing Westview records. Among them are these:
• Third Westview player to ever score 500 or more points in consecutive seasons.
• Most points scored in a single season: 734.
• Most points scored in a career: 2,163.
• Most points scored in a single game: 52.
“Honestly I think he handled it pretty well. The scoring thing just kind of happened,” said Westview coach Rob Yoder, who is also Charlie’s father. “Sometimes when you are going through a season or a career, it just feels like that is what is supposed to happen…at the end of it, you look back and you just say ‘wow, did that just happen and did I just watch that happen?'”
“You got to enjoy it a little bit, but you also have to stay focused. Remember that is not as important as winning basketball games. That is what you are judged on is how you win and your team success,” Charlie Yoder added. “The points are great, but at the end of the day all that matters is winning basketball games.”
Needless to say, Yoder separated himself from nearly ever player to ever wear a Warrior jersey during their career and it culminated in him being named the school’s first-ever Indiana All-Star. During that run to pass 2,000 points, Yoder passed a 46-year-old school record for scoring held by Gary Yoder and eventually passed Gaylene Scott’s county scoring record too. On Westview’s senior night win over Concord on Feb. 28, Charlie Yoder capped off his record breaking year by scoring the aforementioned 52 points to break his school’s single-game record and also tying the 8th best single game in area scoring history.
For all of the big games that Yoder had putting the ball in the basket, it shouldn’t be lost that he established multiple triple doubles. That went to show how multi-dimensional that Yoder was for the Warriors, playing aggressor on the glass and posting the best single-season average for assists per game in program history. In the final win of his high school career, in the first game of the sectional round, Yoder grabbed 20 rebounds and five assists to go with his 35 points.
“I think it shows that I am more than a scorer and I will do whatever it takes to win. I don’t have to score to be happy, the only thing that really matters to me is getting the ‘W’,” Yoder said.
“He got a lot of attention and I think for him to be able to put up the numbers he did, to really not get to play his natural position that much this year, I think it probably speaks volumes about how versatile he is and how much more he can do than just shoot the ball,” Rob Yoder said. “He got a lot done. And give his teammates credit too for helping him get into spots to be successful.’
There was also chance for Charlie Yoder to get a (to him) unparalleled look at the attention he was getting on his scoring march. Maybe not odd for many teenagers, but Yoder joined Twitter during the season and that itself got quite a bit of attention. He says he joined the social media service just to follow some of the programs that have been recruiting him and wasn’t expecting all fo the shoutouts he got along the way.
Charlie also saw a unique path by being able to play for his father Rob. One of the longest tenured and most successful coaches in the area, Rob Yoder passed 300 career wins this season with Charlie leading the way. Yet with plenty of pride beaming on the inside, Rob and Charlie’s relationship at game time always looked straight forward as coach and player; all business when it needed to be.
“It is a really special experience, not a lot of people can say that they’ve gotten to play for their dad in Indiana and not a lot of people can say they have had the success that we’ve had,” Charlie said.
“Anybody that has coached their son probably will tell you that at times it can be difficult and at the same time very rewarding,” Rob Yoder said. “Now that he is gone and I am no longer his coach and I can just look back as a dad, I just feel very blessed for the people he got to be around and play with, very proud of him and his work ethic and how hard he worked at it to be the best he could be.”
Wherever Charlie Yoder ends up next, he likely won’t see the same fanfare that came with playing inside Westview’s spiraling gym with wall to wall attendees nearly any night of the week. Yoder grew up in that gym as father Rob patrolled the sidelines as the head coach each of the past 17 seasons. He saw the greats come before him, witnessed state final level teams, broke some of those records himself and played the last game of his career there.
People who have been to a game at Westview know how special a night in Topeka can be.
“Them accepting me as a freshman and watching me grow, that is pretty special. I wouldn’t rather do it with another school. God put me at Westview for a reason and I just love everything about it,” Yoder said. “Our fan group is tremendous. Everyone loves basketball and the support I get and our team gets is incredible.”
Yoder sees that support as a big basis for success, helping Westview basketball transcend just the players that come through the program. This season, the Warriors were overlooked coming into the season. The NECC was stacked at the top and Westview graduated the majority of their Sectional title team from 2018-19. Although Yoder was back, the Warriors weren’t picked at the top of the conference by many.
So of course, they won a share of the NECC title.
“It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who we lose, Westview is always going to probably be really good and one of the top teams in the NECC,” Yoder said. “I think that shows our depth as a program and it is a testament to our coaches and how they develop players.”
“Our community takes a lot of pride in having a good basketball program, you can see that in the support that we get,” Rob Yoder said. “Through all of his career, he has been able to win. People get caught up in the scoring, but to me 91 wins as a starter is a more impressive stat. The transition from what he came in with and around him to what he left as, the one thing that stayed the same is he was always on a team that figured out how to win.”
Westview went 21-4 over Charlie Yoder’s final season while he posted an area best 27.3 points per game. He was also one of just four players in the area to average a double-double by averaging 11 rebounds per game as well. Yoder shot 53 percent from the field and 82.4 percent from the free throw line while adding 5.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game while being named All-NECC for the fourth straight time and part of the Outside the Huddle All-Area team for the second time.
Now that his career is over at the high school level and Yoder has an unprecedented free time to look back at his career as those shots flow on his own court, it isn’t hard to know how he wants to be remembered. And all of it is rooted in those who watch him, just as he watched Westview Warriors when he was a kid in that sprawling gym.
“For the little kids, I just wanted to show them that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter that they are from a small town or anything else,” Yoder said. “The basketball players at Westview just mean something different. When I was a little kid, those guys were like NBA players to you, Just to be able be one of those and have little kids looking up to me like that has been pretty special.
“What I want to be looked back on is just a winner; somebody that put winning first and was a great teammate and just did everything they can to help their team be successful.”