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Ex-Center Grove hoops star heads to Indiana Wesleyan

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Being one of the new faces on campus isn’t a new concept to Jonny Marlin.

Nor will it be when the former Center Grove boys basketball player begins making friends at Indiana Wesleyan University at some point this summer.

The 5-foot-10 point guard recently signed to play for the defending NAIA Division II national champion after two seasons as a walk-on at Indiana University.

Marlin began his college basketball career at IPFW, where as a freshman in 2011-12 he started 28 games and averaged 4.3 points and 3.5 assists.

The move to Indiana Wesleyan, a private Christian college in Marion, promises to be a comfortable fit for Marlin, a devout Christian.

It’s likely Marlin also will see plenty of court time given his experience at the Division I level combined with the Wildcats graduating two All-American players in Jordan Weidner, a guard, and RJ Mahurin.

“It’s a Christian campus, and they just came off winning the national NAIA tournament. I’ve played against some of the players on the team,” said Marlin, referring to Zac Vandewater and 6-9 Columbus North product Tyler Greathouse.

“There’s no doubt if you grow up playing the game that you want to play the game. I knew my time (to transfer) was either now or never because I was scheduled to graduate next semester.”

A business management major, Marlin is likely to graduate next spring from Indiana Wesleyan. He will have two seasons of athletic eligibility remaining.

Marlin through his IU experiences was able to live out a dream having been a diehard Hoosiers fan all his life. He has no regrets whatsoever.

“I came in with a certain expectation, and it just blew me away how crazy people are for IU basketball. Those are just incredible memories that I have, and coach (Tom) Crean said he would help me as much as he could,” Marlin said.

“And I’ll leave IU with about 200 pages of notes that, as hopefully a future basketball coach, will help me.”

Marlin loved breaking down film and closely studying game plans. Crean’s practices, he said, were extremely efficient with not a second of wasted time.

After sitting out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Marlin appeared in 18 games this past season. During one stretch he took part in six straight Big Ten games, including Indiana’s home victories against league powers Wisconsin and Michigan.

Crean’s practices and those games in which he played improved Marlin as a player.

“Going against Victor (Oladipo) my first year here and Yogi (Farrell) all of last year ... at least Yogi and I were about the same size,” Marlin said, laughing.

At Center Grove, Marlin’s senior season netted him averages of 16.6 points, 6.8 assists and 2.3 steals as he led the Trojans to the Franklin Central Sectional title in Class 4A.

Earlier in the 2010-11 season Marlin’s 53-point day enabled the Trojans to capture the prestigious Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle with wins over eventual state champions Washington (3A) and Bloomington South (4A).

Marlin is the fourth member of the IWU recruiting class, joining 6-6 Jacob Johnson of Mooresville, 6-3 Michael Winowiecki of Saugatuck, Mich., and 6-6 Ben Carlson of Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill.

“We’re excited about Jonny. Obviously, he’s a high-character kid who brings so much to the table,” said ninth-year Indiana Wesleyan coach Greg Tonagel.

“Faith is very important to him, and there is a culture that exists at our school. When we evaluate players, it’s how do they make their teammates better, and that’s what Jonny does.”

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