THE MEGAPHONE

Junior basketball player weighs options

Armaan Franklin has received multiple collegiate offers

Junior Armaan Franklin brings the ball up the court during a recent varsity game.

Junior Armaan Franklin brings the ball up the court during a recent varsity game.

Max Wirth, Sports Co-Editor

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Junior Armaan Franklin has not necessarily had the clearest path.

It’s been tumultuous and tough to start; a change in location sophomore year did not pan out and he decided to return to his Irish family.

A successful AAU period got the recruiting gears grinding, though, and his return to the Hill has approached the level of being glorious. The basketball team continues to pump out wins and boasts a shining xx-x record.

Is he the secret weapon Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney needs to start the empire?

If you ask Franklin, that would be “no.” One would say he burst on the scene, but with Franklin, it’s more of a soft walk through the door with a bright smile on his face and a pair of Clark Kent glasses over his eyes. He is not self-consumed, self-righteous or cocky. He remains true to himself and keeps his quiet profile. The spotlight chose the 6-foot, 5-inch  junior, ranked 103rd nationally by 247sports, a service that evaluates and ranks high school players, not the other way around.

This up-and-coming recruiting process has molded Franklin into a floor general, vocal leader and passionate teammate.

“I think becoming the point guard for the first time this season helped me become more of a vocal leader on the court. It has made me talk a lot more during games and practices. I want to win a state championship this year,” he said. The combo guard continues to impress with preeminent qualities on and off the court.

Recruitment was nonexistent until an impressive performance his sophomore year in the Sectional championship. He was the star player for the Fishers, dropping 33 points in a loss to Hamilton Southeastern. His second varsity season was under his belt, gaining more experience.

Returning home

It was time to come back home to East 56th Street.

The spring and summer rolled around, which meant AAU basketball season. The circuit was free flowing. Franklin competed for an Under Armour travel organization, G3 Grind. Smaller Division 1 schools took notice: Evansville, IUPUI and Morehead State.

As junior year started, Ball State, Miami and Toledo had offered. A strong start to the season jump started his recruiting to Power 5 conferences, including the Big East and Big Ten. “The order went Xavier, Butler and then Ohio State. It was surprising at first because I wasn’t really getting any major interest, and once I got the first, the others offered,” Franklin said.

Franklin has shown love to his hometown team. “Butler is nice because it’s close to home. Coach (Lavall) Jordan is a pretty cool guy. He’s nice and easy to talk to. Being able to play in Hinkle would be fun just because of the history it has behind it,” he said. Franklin has unofficially visited the school four times.

The Bulldogs are currently under a new staff, transitioning in leadership. Their previous head coach, Chris Holtmann, is now running the Ohio State program. Ohio State is the most recent school to offer Franklin.

Franklin has visited Ohio State once. “I have gotten really close with their staff. I was a fan of Coach Holtmann while he was at Butler, so I’m glad he started recruiting me to go there,” he said.

The size of the university is a factor, though. Ohio State boasts an undergraduate population of 45,831. “The only thing I don’t like about OSU is just how big it is,” he said.

Ohio State is charging ahead with Holtmann at the helm, racking up 20 plus wins in his first year, and two weeks ago handing Purdue its first loss in the conference.

On the contrary, Franklin’s current favorite school has a mere 4,563 undergraduates in comparison. Down Ohio’s State Road 3 from Columbus, Xavier lies snug in Cincinnati.

“It’s my favorite place I’ve visited. The campus is nice and it’s not a really big school. The coaches and I already have a great relationship. I can’t say I dislike anything about it,” he said. Xavier is currently a Top 10 program nationally, leading the Big East conference.

The Heartland is home to many Big Ten conference schools. The Midwest exults basketball dominance; however, Franklin wants to head east. He wants to compete in “either the (Atlantic Coast Conference) or the Big East.” The ACC is home to powerhouses Duke, Louisville, North Carolina and Virginia. Florida State and Louisville have reached out to Coach Delaney in regards to Franklin’s recruitment. Other ACC schools such as Syracuse and Notre Dame are typically Top 25 ranked but are down this year.

Texts from Texas

The rest of ACC programs have yet to contact Franklin. The breakout season has directed attention of other acclaimed schools, although. “Texas and UCLA have reached out to Coach Delaney about me,” he said.

Another program that has kept a close eye on Franklin’s development is Purdue. West Lafayette sits 70 miles from Cathedral. The Boilers are ranked third in the nation with only three losses on the year. Their head coach, Matt Painter, was in attendance to witness Franklin collect 20 points and grab a team-high six boards. The “MA-ATT PAIN-TER” chants were in full force when Franklin dunked on Carmel’s 6-foot, 9-inch center, John-Michael Mulloy.

Franklin and his teammates, led by Delaney, have sparked a resurgence in the program. Their current record is 17-2, eyeing another tough start to the tournament in the state’s most competitive Sectional, which includes Warren Central and foe Lawrence North. The teams of Irish past had the likes of Eron Gordon and Jordan Walker, who failed to reel in a Sectional championship.

But there are new sheriffs in town, looking to prove their worth and their doubters wrong.

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