A nine-hour bus ride back to the Indiana Wesleyan University campus Wednesday provided Jonny Marlin sufficient time to reflect.
His five-year, three-school college basketball career had ended, and the former Center Grove High School point guard was a national champion.
On Tuesday night, he helped lead Indiana Wesleyan to the NAIA Division II national championship.
Playing a team-high 38 minutes, Marlin scored 10 points, dealt four assists and grabbed three rebounds during the Wildcats’ 69-66 win against St. Francis (Indiana) in the title game at Point Lookout, Missouri.
“It’s something that as a kid you dream about, but when that moment happens you’re in shock more than anything else,” Marlin said. “For the first three minutes after the game everything was just a blur.”
Defeating an opponent that had already beaten the Wildcats three times during the season capped a memorable March for Marlin.
Earlier this month, he received the 2016 National Christian College Athletic Association Division I Pete Maravich Award. The honor recognizes excellence in competition, skill, academics and Christian service during a player’s career.
Marlin was named the NAIA Division II Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player while earning a spot, along with teammates Lane Mahurin and Bob Peters, on the All-Championship Team.
In five postseason games, Marlin averaged 14.2 points, five rebounds and 4.2 assists.
“(Tuesday) night was not one of my better games,” Marlin said. “It wasn’t a stat-stuffer by any means.”
Marlin started his college career at IPFW before transferring to Indiana University following his freshman season. He spent two years in Bloomington as a preferred walk-on before transferring to Indiana Wesleyan, where he played two seasons.
Marlin helped guide the Wildcats to the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II Tournament as a junior, but a 79-75 loss to eventual champion Davenport (Michigan) ended their season.
This time, Indiana Wesleyan closed just like it had in 2014, when it won the national title a year before Marlin’s arrival.
“It’s a good feeling,” Marlin said. “I’m sure the first one may have been sweeter, but this was the first one for me, so it’s pretty special.”