Courvoisier McCauley has averaged over 30 points per game
Senior staff writer
When the state’s leading boys basketball scorer leaves Emmerich Manual High School to go home, he enters a different world.
Courvoisier McCauley, 18, lives with his mom, 16-year-old sister and 4-year-old brother in one of the worst crime-riddled neighborhoods on the Eastside. Shootings, robberies, fights, drug abuse and break-ins are a way of life in his zip code.
This 6-5 senior wants no part of that sordid life.
“I want to make it out and better myself,” McCauley said. “Coming from that area just wants to make you get away. That’s why I stay in the gym a lot. I feel like that’s my way out. When I’m in the gym nothing else means anything except making my next shot.
Basketball, he affirms, is his way out, a path to success and a way to pay back his mom.
McCauley came to Manual for his junior year after attending Shortridge. His work ethic has improved on and off the court, and he is determined to raise his grades to a 2.3 GPA in core classes.
On the court, he is working harder than ever at Cummins Gymnasium at Manual or Ransburg YMCA, where he went after practice on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He also conditions with trainers at Ransburg and IncrediPlex on the Eastside.
His newfound work ethic is paying off.
McCauley hit a dramatic last-second 3-point shot Saturday against Crispus Attucks to left the Redskins to 70-68 victory in the semifinals of the city tourney at Tech. The Tigers went ahead by one point with eight seconds. McCauley had a team-high 24 points, with 6-8 sophomore Jalen Johnson adding 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds. (Manual lost to Cathedral 91-67 in the championship game Monday, in which McCauley scored 31 points and played the entire second half with four fouls.) Manual won the city tourney in 1983 and 1998.
McCauley is eager for success with the Redskins.
“My situation keeps me striving and pushing,” he said in an interview before the tourney began. “I want to give back to my little brother, my sister and my mamma when I get older. She means everything to me: I’ve never had a father (died before he was born), so Mamma has been my father too. We have had struggles but she always found a way.”
Unlike Manual’s golden decade of the 1960s, Redskins basketball is overlooked. However, the Redskins had lost only one game before the city tourney last week. They face Connersville at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Hoosier Hoops Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Through Jan. 8, McCauley was the state’s leading scorer, averaging 31.1 points per game, per MaxPreps.com, slightly ahead of junior Michael Robertson of Central Christian, 30.3 points, and well-publicized senior Cooper Neece of Cloverdale, 30.1 points.
Last year he averaged 27.2 points and was the state’s No. 2 junior scorer and sixth overall.
“I’ve always been able to shoot the ball,” McCauley said. “Coming from Manual, people overlook what happens here. We are 11-1, I’m averaging over 30, and we have a pretty good team. A lot of kids at other schools get more publicity when they score 20 points.”
Coach Donnie Bowling contends that McCauley has proven himself against teams from larger high schools. He scored 34 points against 4A Fishers, a season-high 41 points against 3A Marion and 30 against 3A Northwest. The Redskins’ schedule toughens Feb. 4 at North Central, Feb. 10 at Brownsburg and Feb. 18 at New Albany.
Manual has length on offense and defense with McCauley, Sembly (13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists), Johnson (11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds) and TJ Walden (13.9 points).
“This is a great group of guys; we have a bond,” said McCauley of his teammates. “We treat each other as brothers. Our chemistry off the court is phenomenal, and we keep together on the court.”
McCauley has received offers from Division 1 Iona as well as D II Chaminade, Kentucky State, Central State and Saginaw Valley. He’s aiming higher by enrolling next year at Commonwealth Academy in Springfield Mass., where he wants to improve his standardized test scores and his game.
With complete confidence, McCauley said, “I don’t want to settle for less. I feel like I am a D1 athlete. I want to play at the highest level.”
Bowling explained, “He sees that he can really make it in D1. We think the academy will give him a different opportunity. He will be on a funded AAU team. Instead of being an unknown, he can be playing on a nationally top team.”
McCauley and his teammates are looking forward to the second half of their season and to the state tournament.