Leadership is a personality trait Franklin High School basketball player Jacob Rockey picked up early in life.

Being the oldest of five children — all boys — it’s not like he had a lot of say in the matter.

Rockey, a 5-foot-10 senior who is the Grizzly Cubs’ starting point guard, averages 8.4 points along with team-leading numbers in assists (3.8) and steals (1.6).

His value to Franklin’s squad winning 11 of 18 games this season extends beyond what he accomplishes statistically.

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Rockey’s steady play at both ends of the floor, combined with his leadership presence, will again be on display tonight when Franklin hosts Columbus North.

“I like to be a leader. I feel like that’s sort of my style of play, and I always want to set the tone for the younger guys,” Rockey said. “If you have one guy who sets the tone, they hopefully can follow, and that’s how you become successful.

“I think a lot of my leadership comes from my parents (Kevin and Pam). My dad has always taught me to do whatever I can to be successful and win. I embrace that role.”

The Cubs graduated six players who accounted for 84 percent of the point production on last season’s 17-7 club, including 6-4 forward Andrew Hartkorn, the Daily Journal’s 2015-16 Player of the Year.

Rockey averaged only 3.6 points as a junior. Nonetheless, his return provided third-year Franklin coach Brad Dickey great comfort.

“Jacob has started in all three of our seasons that I’ve been here. He’s really embodied my hopes for a basketball program right from the start with his work ethic and his attitude,” Dickey said. “He’s a very helpful player who cares about the guys to his left and right.

“We’ll struggle just to get practice started a season from now because he’s not here to lead the guys.”

A member of Franklin’s boys tennis program, Rockey played No. 1 doubles this past season as the Grizzly Cubs won sectional and regional championships for the first time.

Two of Rockey’s siblings, junior No. 2 singles player Jonah and sophomore Josiah, half of the No. 2 doubles tandem, also played major roles in the Grizzly Cubs’ 17-3 season.

Jacob Rockey views himself as a basketball player first.

“I’ve just always been a basketball player who plays tennis,” Rockey said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love both sports, but I kind of picked up tennis later in my life.”

Foremost on the Rockey hoops highlight reel this season is his buzzer-beating scoop shot at Greenwood on Dec. 9  that gave the Grizzly Cubs a 48-46 win in a crucial Mid-State Conference game.

That shot has become larger as the season has worn on, considering Franklin is atop the league standings with a 5-0 record. All that stands between the Cubs and an outright title is a victory over Plainfield, which visits Feb. 17.

In January, Rockey delivered a career-best 26 points, as well as an assist and two steals, in his team’s 81-77 defeat of Martinsville. He’s come through with five or more assists in six games this season and made three steals on four separate occasions.

“We’re always confident that Jacob can make a play or assist, and that’s important,” Dickey said.

The Rockey file

Name: Jacob Rockey

Age: 18

Born: Indianapolis

Family: Parents Kevin and Pam; brothers Jonah, 17, Josiah, 15, Luke, 13, and Lincoln, 10

Favorite TV show: “The Office”

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite movie: “The Other Guys”

Favorite athlete: Jeff Teague

Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.