It took all of seven days for the coaching staff at IUPUI to convince Brock Heffner that the Horizon League and Indianapolis were the places to be in the fall of 2021.
Heffner, a talented 6-foot-7 forward from Grafton, was in Indianapolis for a club tournament last weekend and received an offer from IUPUI coach Byron Rimm II on August 15. While in Indianpolis, Heffner and his family took a quick drive over to the campus to check it out. Official visits are not allowed at this time by the NCAA due to COVID-19, but even though Heffner wasn't able to meet the coaching staff or players in person, he did get a sense for the campus and city.
A few days later, Heffner was involved in a zoom call with Rimm and the idea of playing at the Division I level and in the Horizon League, not to mention against former Grafton teammate Alex Huibregtse (Wright State) and Wisconsin Playground Club teammate Cade Meyer (Green Bay), came up along with style of play and the structure of the program.
Heffner, who also considered NCAA Division II offers from Emporia State, Northern Michigan and Northern State, was convinced IUPUI was the proper fit so one week after receiving the offer he committed to the Jaguars program.
"My family and I sat down for the zoom meeting with coach Rimm and came away feeling they had to most to offer so I decided to go with IUPUI," Heffner said. "Coach Rimm stressed from the beginning of our zoom meeting the importance of academics and discipline within the program. That appealed to me.
"As far as playing style, he mentioned I would be able to play the small-forward position as long as I remain consistent with my perimeter jump shot. I think I can play inside and outside so that appealed to me as well. I will be working on making my jump shot more consistent so that when defenders close out on me, I can either shoot or drive to the basket. Adding pieces to my game will be important."
Heffner was able to do just that while competing with the Wisconsin Playground Club in events during July and August.
Showing plenty of aggressiveness on both ends of the court, Heffner became a dependable scorer, rebounder, defender and all-out hustle performer for coach Ritchie Davis' program.
Heffner picked up seven offers from NCAA Division II programs, but was hoping he'd also get a strong look from some DI schools. When that happened, all of his hard work and dedication to the game paid off.
"My role with Playground was a bit different than with Grafton when I had to score and rebound at a high level," said Heffner, who plans to study business at IUPUI. "I had to play my role and I think I did that well. I knew my role was to play hard on every possession, grab some rebounds, defend and score when the chances came."
Heffner averaged 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for Grafton as a freshman, but then missed almost all of his sophomore season with an injury.
He came back strong last winter, averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds as the Blackhawks finished 17-6 under coach Damon James.
Grafton must replace Huibregtse and his 24.2 ppg and 7.2 rpg, but the Blackhawks do welcome back senior forward JP Benaschzawel (6-7) and senior guard Tyler Tsui (5-8), both returning regulars along with Heffner.
Heffner, who earned second-team all-North Shore Conference honors as a senior, believes Grafton can be in the mix with Nicolet, Cedarburg and Whitefish Bay, among others, for the league title in 2020-21.
"My first goal is always to win the conference title," Heffner said. "I believe in my guys. We play hard and want to win the title. And with coach James on our side ... you know he'll have a thing or two up his sleeve to help us win."
Heffner is the eighth player in Wisconsin's class of 2021 to commit to a NCAA Division I program. He joins Racine St. Catherine's Tyrese Hunter (Iowa State), Brookfield Central's David Joplin (Texas), Nicolet's James Graham (Maryland), Monroe's Cade Meyer (Green Bay), Waukesha West's Cam Palesse (Valparaiso), Onalaska's Gavin McGrath (North Dakota) and River Falls' JT Dougherty (Army).