GARY | For three days in early November DeShawn Franklin's name was written at the top of Marvin Rea's list.
It wasn't the paper that the 6-foot-2 junior wanted to be on.
"The first three days of tryouts I was going to cut him," Rea said. "I didn't think he'd make the team. First day, I couldn't cut him. I brought him back. Second day, the same thing. Third day, he kept kicking sand in my face.
"He worked so hard, he is such a competitor and fighter, I eventually realized I had to have him on my team."
Franklin is a football player first. Last fall he had more than 600 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Getting to basketball late, missing the fall conditioning, put him lower on the list.
But his toughness has been a big bonus for the Eagles, who will play LaVille in Saturday's Class 2A North Judson Regional semifinal.
"I knew I was on the bubble," Franklin said. "There were guys there working every day and I was out on the football field. I learned a lot from (Pipkin). He's a good player and has a good work ethic. He goes hard every day.
"That's what I try to bring to the team."
Franklin's stats don't jump off the page. This season he's averaging six points, four rebounds and two steals.
But in three postseason games, Franklin is at nine points, seven rebounds and three steals. Franklin scored nine points and was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in Saturday's 76-63 win against Bishop Noll in the Wheeler Sectional championship.
He played football in gym shoes, a growing trend at Bowman.
"DeShawn is one of those players you have to have," Rea said. "He's our Dennis Rodman, a tough guy on our team. He's a heck of a rebounder, just a tough kid."
Franklin knows he'll have to have his mouth guard in if the Eagles are going to win their second 2A regional in a row.
"Especially this time of year, everyone has to step up," Franklin said. "We can't take anyone lightly. If we lose we're done. We have to play Bowman basketball.
"Keep the tempo up. Run the floor. We have to give everything we have the entire game."
Ready. Set. Hut.