MUNCIE — Often, the most vocal player on the basketball court is the point guard.
For the Central boys basketball team, that happens to be Phillip Corthen. He’s the point guard who sets up the offense, keeps the guards and forwards happy and could cause the offense to come to a grinding halt if he makes bad decisions.
He’s also one of the quietest players on the team.
“It’s one of the toughest things to do, learning to talk on the basketball court,” Central coach Jeff Holloway said. “Phil’s quiet and I don’t ever think he’ll be loud.
“He’ll quietly tell players where they’re supposed to be, but I don’t think he’ll ever be loud.”
Corthen is playing in his fourth season with the varsity and basketball has always been a part of his life. He said he started playing when he was two years old and began playing competitively in the fourth grade.
He only played in a few games as a freshman, taking a few shots before moving back to the bench while more established players took over. Even if it wasn’t much playing time, getting varsity experience as just a freshman set him up for future success.
Being loud on the court isn’t a necessity for him.
“They know where I’m at on the court already,” Corthen said. “The chemistry on the team is so good that if I do something, they know how to react without me telling them to.”
He’s the one bringing the ball up court but can jump between point guard and shooting guard at a moment’s notice depending on who else is on the court. Teammates Kolby Mallory and Jamel Barnes are capable ball handlers, and can take over for Corthen if Holloway wants him to take a more offensive role.
Holloway said Corthen is the best scorer on the team and the stats back it up.
He scored a team-high 17.4 points per game last season. In the season-opener against Hamilton Southeastern, he scored 21 and responded the next game with 16 against Yorktown.
Trying to find the delicate balance between shooting enough while also passing to facilitate the offense can be difficult for professional point guards, much less high school players.
With Corthen as one of the best offensive threats, Holloway wants him to shoot if he’s open. Passing up an open shot doesn’t do the team any good, especially when the pass could go to a player who isn’t open.
A shoot-first, pass-second player at heart, Corthen’s spent the last few seasons improving his passing ability and knowing when’s the right time to defer to his teammates. Recently, he’s tried to scale back on his shooting, knowing colleges want to see a complete player.
He said he models his game after Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry, who’s on pace to shatter the NBA’s 3-point record.
Clearly, Corthen sets the bar high.
“I like to shoot the 3 and I’ve got a lot of moves I try to use to get open,” he said.
His voice? Quiet. His confidence? Loud.
Contact prep sports reporter David Polaski at (765) 213-5848. Follow him on Twitter @DavidPolaskiTSP.
Friday’s ECI Boys Basketball Schedule
Start times for all games is 7:30 p.m.
Logansport (3-0) at Central (2-1)
Yorktown (0-3) at Delta (2-0)
Daleville (1-3) at Burris (3-2)
Lapel (3-1) at Wapahani (1-1)
Blue River (2-2) at Cowan (0-2)
Monroe Central (1-2) at Bluffton (3-0)
Wes-Del (2-2) at Union (0-1)
New Castle (3-0) at Shelbyville (3-1)
Blackford (0-3) at Alexandria (2-2)