“It is an achievement that goes along with [athletic director Greg] Fisher’s philosophy that the coaches have adopted that they have to share athletes,” Hoover said. “You’re better off having the best athletes playing basketball also playing softball and track than trying to horde players and just specialize. It doesn’t work in a school of 1,300. It might work at Ben Davis with 5,000, but it won’t work at 1,300.”
Hoover also chimed in about the NCC losing New Castle and Huntington North following the next school year.
“I feel terrible. New Castle has been in the league since 1926,” he said. “The great players in every sport at New Castle that have competed in the NCC, and they’re going to turn that over. I just feel bad because they’re gone. I’m a history major. ... The NCC isn’t going to be the same with New Castle gone. It wasn’t the same when Lafayette Jeff left, and now that they’re going to be back it restores some of that tradition and mystique.”
Jennings also picked up the $750 Pat Aikman Scholarship at the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star basketball games Saturday. She graduated fifth in her senior class at LHS with a GPA over 4.0.
“It exemplifies what athletics are supposed to be about,” Hoover said. “It’s supposed to be about athletics improving the whole person and the whole person includes athletic and academic achievement. It’s like Jasmine [Penny] being Academic All-Big East, that’s a tremendous honor. Or [Dave] Schellhase being Academic All-American, or [Randy] Wittman being Academic All-American. It is what athletics are all about, athletics improving mind and body.”
Jennings wasn’t the only member of her family that had a big week. Her younger sister Whitney had a starring role for the Indiana Junior All-Stars this week. Hoover said her stellar performance can only help in the 2014 Miss Basketball race.