It’s uncommon for a high school athlete to be one team’s leading scorer and another team’s low scorer all in the same school year, especially if that means he’s the best player on both teams.
Eric Moenkhaus accomplished this as a sophomore.
A 6-foot-2 guard for the Greenwood boys basketball squad, Moenkhaus’s 13.3-point average led the way for the Woodmen last season as they produced the program’s highest win total (12) in a decade.
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In the spring he was the golf program’s No. 1 player most of the season, earning All-County honors with a score of 72 at Timbergate Golf Course in Edinburgh. Moenkhaus later fired an 18-hole score of 79 as Greenwood secured a sixth-place finish at the Southport Sectional.
As proficient as he is at both sports, Moenkhaus admits spending more time practicing jump shots over the summer than perfecting tee shots or his iron play.
“Eric tries to work between the two. He plays in some golf tournaments in the summer and has been at our basketball workouts, which are four days a week,” Woodmen boys basketball coach Bruce Hensley said. “You have to be good about managing time, and he’s been very good at that.
“But I welcome kids playing more than one sport. If you like to compete, you’re going to want to play more than one sport.”
Basketball has been Moenkhaus’s athletic passion since early elementary school; he took up golf exactly a week before the start of his seventh-grade school year (2012-13).
All the same, he immediately developed a connection with the latter.
“(Golf) is kind of a natural thing for me. My swing is always there. It’s always pretty consistent. It took a lot of time, though,” Moenkhaus said. “The summer after my seventh- and eighth-grade years, I would golf, like, 72 holes. I would play golf every single day, so I got really good.
“In the summer I’ll take a club out in the back yard and will swing for about 30 minutes. I really don’t focus a whole lot on golf. But if I’m about to be in a tournament, I’ll go hit golf balls four days before that.”
Moenkhaus and Greenwood teammate Max Raker are members of the Indiana Elite Force AAU basketball squad coached by Eric Strohmeyer.
With the Woodmen expected to put one of Johnson County’s best boys basketball teams on the court next season (it started four sophomores in 2015-16), It’s an opportunity for Moenkhaus to tweak certain aspects of his game.
Moenkhaus, who wants to improve his foot speed and overall defense, said he was leaning “about 60/40” toward not playing golf this past school year.
Not playing would have no doubt accelerated his hoops improvement, but the junior is glad he played golf.
Nine- and 18-hole matches in which Moenkhaus is surrounded by nature and few — if any — spectators are a pleasant contrast to noisy gymnasiums during the winter.
“I think it’s a really good decision to play because it takes my mind off of basketball and gives me a break so I don’t get burned out,” Moenkhaus said.
A 3.8 student in the classroom, intends to play both sports his final two years of high school.
“The one thing with Eric is he’s obviously very skilled. But he also has a great work ethic,” said Woodmen assistant golf coach Jason Gorrell. “He wants to be good at whatever he does.”
So far, so good.
Name: Eric Moenkhaus
Born: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Family: Parents, Brant and Kris; sister, Madi, 10
Favorite TV show: “Hawaii 5-0”
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite athlete: Steph Curry
Favorite team: Golden State Warriors