By Ken Severson
Joey Schmitz has been a vital cog of the Center Grove boys’ basketball team for the past two years, helping to engineer victories for the Trojans.
Which is kind of apropos, as the senior wants to be a mechanical engineer after college.
Need a corner three? Need a switchable defender? Need to grease the offensive engine?
Seems that Schmitz has been a main key in turning both the offense and defense for the Trojans.
With a 17.1 scoring average, 1.7 assists per game and 18 steals to lead the 7-4 Trojans, it’s easy to see Schmitz has been a team leader.
“My role is to be more a leader by example,” Schmitz said. “I want our team to go as far as possible, make semi state and possibly state and I know we can.”
Schmitz has been playing hard and leading since his days at Maple Grove Elementary School and Center Grove Central.
While in grade and middle school, Schmitz also played football in addition to basketball, but he made the decision while at Central to forego the gridiron and stick with basketball.
Not a bad decision and one that Center Grove boys’ basketball coach Zach Hahn is likely happy Schmitz did, not only for his play but work ethic.
“Joey is our hardest worker daily. He is an absolute gym rat that loves the game of basketball,” Hahn said. “He works with our youth and trains kids on the side as well as coaching an elementary team in the Center Grove Boys Basketball League. He has been a part of the 50/40/90 club (50% or higher in field goals, 40% or higher on three-pointers, and 90% or higher on free throws) as a sophomore and was close as a junior. He will be right there again this season! That alone is a testament to the work he puts in as a basketball player.”
The scary thing for opposing teams about Schmitz is that he does the bulk of his damage from anywhere on the floor. Schmitz’s versatility gives him an unfair advantage.
Guard him close, he can move and drive. Give him space and he can make you pay, with a basket. Double team him, and Schmitz finds the open man.
And getting the assist and setting teammates up is a big plus for Schmitz.
Especially when the game’s outcome could be in doubt.
“At that point in the game, I try to get teammates involved and motivate them,” Schmitz said. “I want them to feel they can contribute.”
Schmitz does admit the Trojans can do more. Two of Center Grove’s losses this season came by one point in overtime to No. 1 Fishers and highly touted Johnson County rival Franklin.
“It’s a matter of keeping the pressure on and finishing,” Schmitz said. “I have a lot of self-motivation.”
One motivating factor was the disappointment of last year when Center Grove was ousted in the sectional championship by Bloomington North. This coming after a stellar 22-3 record, one of the Trojans’ best seasons in school history.
That self-motivation by Schmitz, plus his leadership will be needed by the Trojans if they are to win their first sectional in three years.
“Joey is a tremendous team first guy,” Hahn said. “He is a great role model for the kids in CG Schools. We are lucky to have him in our program.”
As for the future, Schmitz wants to play basketball in college while he plans to work on becoming a mechanical engineer.
“I hope to play as long as I can,” Schmitz said. I have a couple of Division III offers with Rose-Hulman and Trine, but it’s also possible I could walk on at either Northwestern or Purdue.”
THE SCHMITZ FILE
NAME: Joey Schmitz
HEIGHT: 6 foot 2 inches tall
SCHOOL: Center Grove
HOBBIES: Basketball, golf and pickleball
COLLEGE PLANS: Undecided, but plans to play basketball in college and studying mechanical engineering
FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Damian Lillard
FAVORITE VACATION: Cruising
PARENTS’ NAMES: Amy Schmitz (mom), Kelly Schmitz (dad)