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Scott Drew’s best childhood friends relive his life in Mishawaka before his national title

It was something he dreamed about right here in Michiana.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Scott Drew grew up around basketball in Michiana.

His father Homer, was the head coach at Bethel and IU South Bend before taking the Valparaiso head coaching job, which is where Scott’s brother, Bryce, hit the legendary game winning shot for the Crusaders over Ole Miss in the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

On Monday, Scott helped lead the Baylor Bears men’s basketball team to its first ever national title.

It was something he dreamed about right here in Michiana.

The national champ Scott Drew is back home in Waco

“We want to thank you guys very much for all of the support you have given us,” Drew said at the team’s arrival at the Waco Airport on Tuesday.

But his old home was Mishawaka, Indiana. Drew lived in the Blair Hills neighborhood from 1976 to 1988.

“I spent half of the time texting my dad and my brother, did you see it,” Drew’s childhood friend Scott Johnson said. “When they panned in on him, I would get all excited for no reason.”

Johnson and Jeff Ceile were good friends with Drew growing up.

“He never had a bad word to say about anybody,” Ceile said.

Another one of his buddies was Jay Ponteri, who lived just down the street from the Drews.

“I think he was instilled with and encoded with a passion for the game,” Ponteri said.

That passion for the game was instilled in Mishawaka. Drew attended Fulmer and Elm Road Elementary, Grissom Middle School, and Penn High School until he transferred to Valparaiso High School during the second semester of his senior year. Drew was a star for the Kingsmen tennis team.

“Very intense,” Ciele said. “Nothing changed from the time he was this tall to the time he was this tall now, because he was short.”

“Definitely competitive,” Johnson said. “He was an athlete.”

Not only did his childhood buddies know he was destined for big things, so did Grissom Middle School. He was voted as the school’s Greatest Leader in eighth grade.

“It wasn’t a wing it,” Johnson said. “We were going to do this play.”

“He had a plan,” Ceile said. “He had a plan to get it done right.”

Drew would be the one to draw up plays for his buddies at his Blair Hills home, where they created a lifetime of memories.

“Everything happened on this court,” Johnson said. “I don’t how many times we all tried to shoot the game winner. I never quite made it. It worked out for Bryce. He got it done.”

The Drew’s backyard touched the Johnson’s backyard. The Blair Hills neighborhood kids would spend all of their time together in these joint backyards playing sports until dinner time, and were back out playing again once dinner was over.

“It laid out like a perfect diamond,” Johnson said. “So when you say what did we do, this is where we spent our time. It was either on the basketball court or right here, this was also transferrable into a football field. We could do whatever we needed to do. We spent a ton of time here. It was fun.”

But what was even more fun than that, was watching their childhood best friend Scott Drew win it all for Baylor in Indianapolis.

“I was very happy just to see Scott coaching on the sidelines,” Ponteri said. “It feels pretty natural.”

“To see everything that he did come to fruition, from raising it up from where it was, to where it is now, is pretty awesome,” Ceile said.

Ceilie says he would love to see Drew coach the Fighting Irish someday but his buds believe he should go for title No. 2, and then No. 3 down in Waco at Baylor University.

Michiana is certainly proud of Scott Drew, especially his childhood best buds.

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