[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/28/art.obamabball.gi.jpg caption="An Obama supporter will battle the senator on the basketball court."]HAMMOND, Indiana (CNN) - Barack Obama will put his well-reputed basketball skills on the line in an effort to register young voters in this hoops-obsessed primary state, his campaign announced Friday.
Obama's staff is hoping the chance to play a game of 3-on-3 pick-up with the presidential candidate will entice Indiana high school students to register their friends to vote in the state's May 6 contest. Every student that signs up at least 20 new voters before Indiana's April 7 registration deadline will be eligible to be picked to play against Obama in a game the campaign is calling "The 3-on-3 Challenge for Change."
Students who will be 18 by Election Day this November are eligible to vote in the state's primary.
One winning student will be selected for the game, and he or she will then pick two friends to take on Obama's team at their own high school. Obama's squad will include at least one college student who also signs up new voters, but the campaign has yet to determine who will be the third member.
The Illinois senator played basketball in high school, when he was a member of Punahou High School’s 1979 Hawaii state championship team, and he continues to work court time into his campaign schedule.
Obama was described as "fiercely competitive" on the court in an examination of his hoops prowess last year by the New York Times. A more recent Sports Illustrated story written about Obama's game before the Iowa caucuses heaped praise on the senator's easy jump shot.
The contest was announced Friday by former NBA player Calbert Cheaney, the Evansville native who was named the state's Mr. Basketball in 1989 before going on to play for Bob Knight at Indiana University, where he became the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby