Johnny Marlin grew up envisioning himself one day being varsity coach of a high school boys basketball program.
Little did he know he would be 25 when it happened.
Greenwood Christian Academy’s first-year coach, a 2011 Center Grove graduate who remains the Trojans’ career assist leader, is learning how to run the show from the bench as opposed to from the backcourt.
“First off, it’s a huge learning experience for me, but it’s been a complete joy and a lot of fun,” Marlin said. “There are obvious challenges, because coaching is harder than playing.
“I would love to still be out there, but that time is over with.”
The on-court responsibility belongs to junior holdovers Payton Modlin, Quentin Steele and Cooper Britt. Modlin is back after averaging a team-high 15.7 points, while fellow guards Steele and Cooper produced norms of 12.1 and 7.1 points, respectively.
Senior guard Cayden Bauscheck, who averaged 4.2 points, also returns.
This quartet combined to knock down 70 percent of the Cougars’ 3-pointers, with Steele’s 44 treys leading the way. Modlin produced double-digit point totals in all but one of GCA’s games last season and had five or more rebounds on eight occasions.
Juniors Elliott Murray and George Apgar are also being counted on to play more significant minutes.
As many as four transfers are expected to contribute to Greenwood Christian Academy’s season, led by senior guard Kegan Owen. Others are junior guard Trey Spears and 6-foot-3 sophomores Champ McCorkle and Andrew Anderson.
This infusion of new talent should help the Cougars surpass the 51.3 points they averaged during the 2016-17 season — the program’s lowest total since the 2007-08 campaign (45.4).
“The transfers bring a lot to the table,” Steele said. “They help tremendously because they all play a fast style of basketball and they can all shoot. We’ve worked hard, and right now we’re just staying humble and taking it one practice at a time.”
Nov. 21;Hauser;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 25;at Greenwood;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1;at Heritage Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 2;at Edgewood;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4;Bethesda Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 9;Indianapolis Lutheran;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 12;at Southwestern (Shelbyville);12:30 p.m.
Dec. 29-30;at Monrovia tournament
Jan. 6;Indianapolis Shortridge;8 p.m.
Jan. 9-13;Johnson County tournament
Jan. 16;at Irvington Prep;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20;Trinity Lutheran;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26;at Central Christian;8 p.m.
Jan. 29;at International School of Indiana;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1;at Morristown;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9;at Edinburgh;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10;PAAC playoffs;TBA
Feb. 13;Waldron,7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16;Brown County;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20;University High;7:30 p.m.
Head coach: Jonny Marlin
Last season: 7-17, lost to Morristown in sectional opener
Key returnees: George Apgar, Jr., G; Cooper Britt, Jr., G; Cayden Bauscheck, Sr., G; Payton Modlin, Jr., G-F; Elliott Murray, Jr., F; Quentin Steele, Jr., G
Fresh faces: Andrew Anderson, So., F; Champ McCorkle, So., F; Kegan Owen, Sr., G; Trey Spears, Jr., G
Outlook: Last season’s 1-2 punch of Modlin and Steele is joined by Roncalli transfer Owen, who averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 assists for the Rebels a year ago. Sophomore transfers McCorkle (Franklin) and Anderson (Center Grove) are both 6-foot-3 and expected to man the interior for the Cougars. Spears, who played at Martinsville last season, becomes eligible Jan. 6 by virtue of IHSAA transfer rules.