By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Fresh off a high school football season that saw the Concord Minutemen capture Class 4A sectional and regional championships senior Franko House has earned an individual reward in another sport.
The 6-6 guard-forward on Monday inked a national letter of intent to play NCAA Division I basketball at Ball State University in Muncie, accepting a full-ride scholarship offer.
“I made a couple of visits to the school and after talking things over with my family Ball State just seems like a good fit,” House said. “The coaches at Ball State stress academics, which is something I was looking for. I like the campus and the members of the team I met were nice.”
House plans to study pre-pharmacy in college.
“Some of the other schools that were offering me scholarships didn’t have the program Ball State does in that area,” House said.
House scored 335 points as a junior for a Concord basketball team that posted an 18-5 record, 358 as a sophomore for a 15-9 squad and 157 as a freshman for a team that finished 17-5. That all adds up to 850 career points and a 50-19 record entering his senior season.
House was a four-year starter in football as the Minutemen finished 8-4 in 2009, 10-1 in 2010, 9.3 in 2011 and 11-3 this past season for a total of 38-11.
The youngster had a decision to make as he had numerous offers from schools in both sports.
“In the end it came down to my first love and that is basketball,” House said.
Among the schools to offer him a scholarship were nearly all the ones in the Mid-American Conference.
“Ball State is a good fit. It’s a program where he can step right in a help them out,” Concord basketball coach Steve Austin said. “I left the choice between the sports up to him. He is good at both. He told me three years ago that he wanted to play college basketball and then play pro football.
“Ball State was interested in him because he has the size and strength to post up inside or he can go outside and hit the shots.”
Franko’s mother LeAnn Shreiner-Evans is thrilled about the decision.
“It’s a blessing,” she said. “I put him in sports to keep him out of trouble and with the hopes of him getting a college scholarship. As a single mom I knew money for college was going to be tight without the help of a scholarship.”
Franko will be her third child to go to college. Her daughter Whitney Evans graduated last year from Indiana University at South Bend and her other son David House is set to graduate from Manchester College this spring.
“I have definitely had a day like this in the back of my mind,” House said about the signing.”I just didn’t know exactly where I would be going.”
Concord Athletic Director Dave Preheim said, “I don’t think these kids realize what they are getting. They have the chance to get a college degree without going into debt. They aren’t going to have any student loans to repay.”
Billy Taylor, 1995 graduate of Notre Dame, is in his sixth season coaching the Ball State Cardinals. Under his direction, the Cardinals have placed either first or second in the MAC Western Division three of the past four seasons. Prior to coming to Ball State he was the head coach for five seasons at Lehigh. At Notre Dame, he was a four-year letterwinner.
“Ball State is a program that is moving in the right direction,” House said. “There are some other recruits in the incoming freshman class that will help. Coach Taylor is well spoken and he knows what he wants to do. He has a good plan for the program.”
House spent last summer working on his game.
“He prepared well for his senior season,” Austin said. “He played a lot of AAU against some of the best players in the country.
“He should be in a position to step right in and help Ball State right away.”
House and his classmate DuWhan Alford (signed to played football at Eastern Michigan) have both been regulars in Concord football and basketball over the past four seasons.
“They have been the cornerstones. You really can’t talk about one without mentioning the other,” Preheim said. “And their leadership has not just been in sports. Both have been willing to put in the time to be successful in the classroom. Neither one has ever been in trouble. They do the right things and make the right decisions.”