In AAU girls basketball circles, Cassidy Hardin always has had a reputation as a deadly 3-point shooter.
Hardin has looked to diversify her offensive repertoire this summer while playing for Indiana Flight Thunder.
“I’ve been trying to work on my two-point game,” said Hardin, a Center Grove junior. “I’m definitely working on my mid-range jumper. I have a lot of trainers working with me on that and implementing it in my game. I’m slowly getting there.”
Hardin often trains with former Center Grove boys basketball standout and Indiana Wesleyan player Jonny Marlin, who also played a season as a walk-on at Indiana University.
Hardin’s AAU coach is Marlin’s father, Tony.
A 5-foot-9 guard/forward, Hardin has been a key contributor on the Trojans’ varsity squad past two seasons.
In AAU competition, she always has the green light from 3-point territory.
“If I can see the rim, I’m going to shoot it,” Hardin said. “In high school, we’re kind of short, so I’m needed more for rebounding. I don’t get to shoot as many 3’s.
“It’s hard to go back and forth between the two (roles) because they are so different, but it’s good for me to work on my game.”
Hardin averaged 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Trojans last season. She made 38 percent from beyond the 3-point line (66 of 175).
She currently has nine college offers, including six from Big Ten schools — Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern. The other three are Missouri, Iowa State and Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I’m not in any rush to make a decision,” Hardin said. “I’m open to any school and seeing who is interested. I visit campuses and see what I like. It will definitely start speeding up once September comes around.”
Academics, Hardin said, will be a major factor in her decision.
“I want to be a doctor, so that’s my biggest stipulation,” Hardin said. “Right now I’m leaning toward anesthesiology.”
A versatile athlete, Hardin and doubles partner Bailey Sammons finished with a 12-5 record at No. 1 doubles for the Trojans’ girls tennis team this past spring.
“I don’t really start picking up a tennis racket and start practicing until after basketball season,” Hardin said. “I’m a little rusty, but (assistant tennis coach) Steve Schoolcraft helps me a lot with getting back into rhythm.”
Hardin plans to continue playing tennis. Her sister, Carleigh, a senior, played No. 2 doubles last season for Center Grove.
“We tried to play together my freshman year,” Hardin said. “We can be hard on each other since we’re related. My coach figured it was best we split up because we took it really seriously. It was still fun to play with her.”
Hardin said tennis provides a nice break from basketball.
“Obviously, I still have to do basketball during that time, but it’s nice to do a different sport,” she said.
Hardin once played basketball, softball and tennis at a high level, but something had to give, so she quit softball in sixth grade.
Basketball always has been her priority athletically.
“When I was little, I had more fun with basketball,” Hardin said. “I started picking up on it really fast.”
Basketball might be her favorite because she had a lot of success from the start.
“The first game I remember she was playing a Sunday game and she scored 15 points,” said her father, Greg Hardin. “That’s not a ton of points, but for a 6-year-old, the coaches were like, ‘Wow.’ She’s always been a good shooter.”
Hardin is able to practice on a half court at her home. The family also has an outdoor tennis court, which doubles as a basketball court.
Hardin is the youngest of her family’s four children.
“I’m super competitive,” Hardin said. “Having older siblings, I wanted to be better than them, so I wanted to work really hard. My brother (Cameron) always jokes he can beat me at basketball, so I have to prove him wrong.”
THE HARDIN FILE
Name: Cassidy Hardin
Favorite class: Chemistry
Favorite book: “Divergent”
Favorite TV show: “Friends”
Favorite player: Stephen Curry
Favorite athletics moment: “I hit 11 3-pointers in an AAU game (against Michigan) and we won in a close game (in 2015). I was proud my hard work was paying off.” (It was the second time she has hit 11 3-pointers in an AAU game)
What do you do to relax? “I read a lot. People think I’m weird, but I really like reading. Other than that I don’t have too much downtime because I’m training or traveling for sports.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? “If I can play in the WNBA, that would be awesome for a little bit. I would go to medical school and try to be an anesthesiologist after that.”