Franklin College sports information director
For as long he can remember, John Beineke has always been one of the tallest kids on his basketball teams. He was just never one of the strongest or most physical.
No longer a lanky guard who shies away from contact, Beineke is a sturdy center whose aggressive presence is an invaluable component of Franklin College’s 4-5 basketball team.
A 6-foot-7, 235-pound junior, Beineke is the Grizzlies’ second-leading scorer (14.4 points per game) and rebounder (6.8 rpg) and is the Heartland Athletic Conference’s leading field goal shooter at 66.2 percent per game.
The numbers belie the fact that the former standout guard at Perry Meridian High School is still new to playing in the low post.
“Being physical, posting up hard, using my body, it was never really a part of my game in high school,” said Beineke. “I love it now. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
Franklin coach Kerry Prather thinks the same thing. “He came to us without a lot of post skills. What John has had to warm up to is the constant physical battle, the physical contact of inside play. As much as anything, I’m proud of the fact that he hasn’t shied away from that. He’s really done a great job of applying himself.”
“Growing up I was always a tall kid, always one of the tallest on my teams,” Beineke said. “I was also really thin, so I wasn’t much of a powerhouse, by any means.”
Combined with his height, Beineke’s ball-handling and shooting skills served him well in high school. But on the recruiting front, his lack of an inside game was a bit of a liability. Unable to find a suitable college home, he gave up basketball and enrolled at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and quickly realized that his passion to play was too strong to suppress.
So he reached out to the Grizzlies, who warmly welcomed him as a center, a position he had to quickly learn and, more importantly, bulk up for.
“What I explained to him was, we really didn’t need a big dose of what you did in high school,” Prather said. “But what we do need is a guy your size willing to learn how to play inside.”
A software engineering major, Beineke immediately went to work refining his skills and getting stronger. The learning curve has been swift, as has the strengthening process. The proof is in the results as he is one of the conference’s top players.
“I wanted to change my body and put a lot more muscle on,” Beineke said. “I had never been a real strong guy. That took some time. ”