Mulloy attempts to box out his defender during the Indiana vs Kentucky All-Stars game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This annual event dates back to 1940.
Mulloy attempts to box out his defender during the Indiana vs Kentucky All-Stars game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This annual event dates back to 1940.

Going from high school to college basketball isn’t likely to be a walk in the park for most players.

But Carmel’s John-Michael Mulloy just might be an exception as he prepares to suit up for the next level at Butler University.

“I think it’ll be an easy transition for him. I think he’ll continue to get better at Butler. He knows his strengths and he will play to them,’’ said Ryan Osborn, his high school coach the past two seasons.

The three-year starter for the Greyhounds already has a lot of tools and they were on display in last Saturday’s Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He put on quite a show in Indiana’s 120-74 rout.

A couple of us along media row were talking about Mulloy’s play.

We marveled over his performance that resulted in 12 points (5-7 FGs, 2-2 FTs), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots in 12 1/2 minutes.

Mulloy also took a hard spill due to his aggressive play under the basket, but was able to return to the floor several minutes later.

He also handled the ball, displaying big steadiness and poise while accounting for assists on two hard-driving fast-break baskets, and he also took a rebound off the glass and dribbled the distance while driving off the dribble for a score himself.

That was good stuff!

I told Malloy he reminded me of a junkyard Bulldog the way he scrapped and battled during every possession. That brought a chuckle and a basketball-size smile from him.

One of the sportswriters said the more he sees Mulloy play the more he likes him, and that he thinks the 6-10, 210-pounder just might be able to work his way into a starting role in his first season as a Bulldog.

Malloy agreed with the ‘easy transition’ part, but he wasn’t ready to buy into cracking the lineup right away.

“No,’’ he said, smiling and trying to remain humble after hearing of such a possible scenario. “I’m just excited to go to Butler, and I just want to do whatever I can to contribute to the team and help us be successful whenever I get my chance.

“I couldn’t be any happier than where I’m at right now. I want to work my way into playing time and do what I can for the team. That’s all I’m thinking about right now. I want to do my part and I’m anxious to be a Bulldog and hopefully a big part of the Butler family.’’

You could see why the 4-star center/power forward was quite a catch for Butler coach LaVall Jordan. In fact, he was Jordan’s first recruit for 2019-20.

“He is a very skilled and cerebral player,” Jordan was quoted saying. “He is good in the high post with his offensive game, and John, he’s a fighter.

I saw Mulloy play a few times in high school, and there’s no questioning his toughness or his heart or his love for the game. Yes, he already looks to be Bulldog tough!

He’s hard-nosed. He battles hard and is a fierce competitor at both ends of the floor. He isn’t afraid to go to the floor and mix it up for loose balls, and he can be a load to handle underneath once he posts up.

Mulloy said the main thing he needs to work on in the next month and a half is to get with a nutritionist and add some bulk.

“Coach wants me to put on 10 to 15 pounds,’’ he said. “I need to get bigger and stronger.’’

The big redhead who plays long is not about stats, though he averaged 14.3 points per game, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the 2018-19 season.

“John’s a great leader, one of hardest working kids I’ve coached. He’s so selfless. His goal is to win; he’s not about numbers, never has been. He’s a good passer and he knows how to get the ball to the right people,’’ Osborn said. “He knows how to win and he does the things you have to do to win.’’

He’s also a smart kid. I mean, a really smart kid.

Mulloy not only was Carmel’s Mental Athlete recipient, he received the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award after helping the Greyhounds win the 2019 Class 4A state basketball championship at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Mulloy followed Jalen Whack (2018), Michael Volovic (2013), Sam Curts (2012), and Mark Herrmann (1977) in winning the prestigious Mental Attitude Award. All were on championship teams with the exception of Whack, a member of Carmel’s 2018 state runner-up team.

“I’ve received tremendous support from Coach Heady (Scott) and Coach Osborn and the entire Carmel community,’’ Mulloy said. “High school has been fun, and I’m glad to go out a winner, but now it’s time to get to work at Butler . . . it’s all about business now.’’

BASKETBALL NOTES:

*—Stars Honored: Mulloy and HSE graduate Amaya Hamilton each received plaques for their ‘“defense, unselfish play, team work and their all-around play’’ in the 2019 Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series. Pretty cool to see the two lone Hamilton County all-star team members to receive such awards. The 6-2 Hamilton, who leaves for Duquesne on June 21, came up big with some quality play in her 29 minutes on the floor in Indiana’s overtime win. She had 11 points, 5 rebounds, blocked 1 shot and had 1 steal. Six of her points came off a pair of 3-point goals. “I’m blessed to have won a state championship and the All-Star game on this same floor. And to just be selected as a member of the Indiana Girls All-Star team is the ultimate goal for a high school player. What a thrill!’’

*—The Greatest: The great George McGinnis was honored during the All-Star game that stands out as the “greatest one-game performance’’ in the history of the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star basketball series that dates back to 1940. The 1969 Indiana Mr. Basketball from Indpls. Washington scored an incredible 53 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in one game 50 years ago at Louisville’s Freedom Hall.

*—On A Sad Note: Former Merrillville boys basketball coach Jim East passed away on the same day as Saturday’s All-Star game. He coached the Indiana Boys All-Stars in 1996. East had attended 52 consecutive Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Games.

 

*—Mark Morrow, a Hall of Fame Indiana sportswriter, has resided in Hamilton County since 1989. You can follow him in The Times, and on Twitter at mmediamarko12. He can be reached at mediamarko5@gmail.com or by calling 317 460-8018.