By Mark Ambrogi
Center Grove High senior Marcus Ankney has developed into a great shooter, but he can do so much more.
“Marcus is a complete player,” Center Grove coach Zach Hahn said. “He can score at all three levels. He can shoot off the catch, coming off screens or shoot off the bounce. He can finish in transition, knock down pull up jumpers, and make transition threes. The biggest improvements Marcus has made are his willingness to guard the opposing team’s best player and his vocal leadership. Marcus is one of the best players in the state of Indiana and should be an Indiana All Star.”
As of Feb. 14, Ankney was averaging 16.2 points of 58.2 percent shooting for the Trojans (17-2). He has made 35 of 67 from a 3-point range (49.3 percent).
“I definitely have extended my range on the 3-point line,” Ankney said. “I have made the most improvement by being able to get to my spot, and either pull up or drive all the way to the rim. I also have improved by being able to stop and shoot behind the ball screen.”
Ankney, who also was averaging 3.6 rebounds per game, said one of his goals has been to be a more vocal leader this season.
“I have focused on talking more in practice, encouraging my teammates as much as I can, and when things get down, I try to stay positive,” he said.
Hahn has noticed.
“I believe his vocal leadership and the rest of the seniors leading by example are why this team has had great success this season,” Hahn said. “Their relentless off-season work ethic is another reason for their success.”
Ankney agreed that the hard work has paid off.
“I think the most important thing for our team was the work that we put in during the off-season,” Ankney said. “We were all in the gym, every single day, bringing in each other to work out.”
As a junior, Ankney averaged 14.3 points. He shot 50.7 percent overall, including 40 percent from a 3-point range.
Ankney has been playing basketball since he was 4 years old. He gave up football and baseball after third grade to concentrate on basketball.
“I love the work ethic that you have to put into this game to be good. I love playing the game and that nothing ever comes easy,” Ankney said. “I love the team aspect when everyone comes together and there is a bond that no one can break.
Ankney will play for Indiana Wesleyan University, an NAIA program, next season.
“When I first visited the school, I really liked the campus,” Ankney said. “I think that always helps when you like the campus but for me it was the coaching staff. They have a great coaching staff that cares about the players and that want the best for them.”
THE ANKNEY FILE
COLLEGE PLANS: Attending Indiana Wesleyan University to play basketball and major in business.
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Kyrie Irving
FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math
FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC: Rap
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Peaky Blinders”
PARENTS’ NAMES: Steve and Cheryl Ankney