It’s no accident that Eugene German led the state in scoring last year.
21st Century coach Rodney Williams says it can be hard to pry German away from the gym.
“The guy is an unbelievably hard worker,” Williams said. “He eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. Sometimes, we have to kick him out of the gym.”
The road to the top hasn’t been easy for German, a 6-foot senior guard.
He began as a freshman at Andrean, but left for Roosevelt before he ever played a game because it “didn’t work out.”
His stint with the Panthers was short, too. German never played a minute there after fracturing his left hip practicing at the Hudson Campbell Sports and Fitness Center in Gary.
After the restless, injury-plagued freshman season, German ended up at 21st Century, which is where he attended middle school.
It’s been a happy reunion for German.
His success there the last two seasons earned him a scholarship to Northern Illinois, where German will likely play point guard.
DeKalb is a long way from the sometimes troublesome streets of Gary. German is proud and thankful for what he’s been able to accomplish and overcome. “Being surrounded by drugs and violence, you have to have a strong mind not to be influenced by that,” he said. “I’m in the gym all the time trying to stay away from that.”German is part of an athletic family. His sister, Princess German, prepped at Bowman. She plays basketball at the University of Indianapolis.
German’s brother David Jr. was a guard on the 21st Century team that won sectionals in 2013. His father David played for Gary Mann in the 1980s.
Eugene said David Jr. has provided the inspiration needed to make sure he stayed on the college path. David works at the steel mill. “He’s a big piece of what is going on in my life,” Eugene said. “He pushes me all day. He sends me long text messages and tells me I can be great.”
German’s greatness has been developed in grueling workout sessions. He showed it off last year on a team that needed the scoring punch during the season.
Well-traveled Eugene German a basketball shepherd for 21st Century
21st Century’s Eugene German, 10, loses the ball to Bowman’s Izaiah Cole, right, during a game last season. (Jim Karczewski / Post-Tribune)
German averaged 32 points last season. He shot 35 percent from 3-point range and 55 percent from the field, according to Williams. German averaged 17 points as a sophomore.
Last year, against Fall Creek Academy, he scored 50 in a 101-67 victory. He had 44 against Indianapolis Homeschool and 39 against Hammond.
Williams indicated he just tries to stay out German’s way. “We just let him go,” Williams said. “He can score any way possible.” Last year, the Cougars struggled, finishing 10-14. They lost to state runner-up Marquette by only five points in the sectional opener. Williams believes the team has more offensive help this year with Core’Von Lott and DeAndre Gholston in the lineup.
German is optimistic, though, because help is on the way.
Two players — Xavier Smith, a 6-5 transfer from Chicago, and Tarik Booker, a 6-0 freshman — will be eligible to play in the next six weeks.
The Cougars (2-2) have lost to Bowman and Griffith, ranked No. 3 and No. 1, respectively, by the Post-Tribune.
However, with Marquette moving to Class 2A, 21st Century is a team to watch as the year progresses and could make a run in the state tournament.
“I think we have a chance to go all the way if we bond,” German said.
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