Coal Grove Hornets’ All-Ohio senior basketball standout Conor Markins signed a letter-of-intent to play at Wheeling Jesuit University. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated from left to right, mother Noel Smith, Conor, and father Brad Markins; standing from left to right, Hornets’ assistant coach Kevin Vanderhoof, Hornets’ head coach Jay Lucas and Hornets’ assistant coach John Large. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)
Coal Grove Hornets’ All-Ohio senior basketball standout Conor Markins signed a letter-of-intent to play at Wheeling Jesuit University. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated from left to right, mother Noel Smith, Conor, and father Brad Markins; standing from left to right, Hornets’ assistant coach Kevin Vanderhoof, Hornets’ head coach Jay Lucas and Hornets’ assistant coach John Large. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Archived Story

Hornets’ Markins inks with Wheeling Jesuit

Published 11:06pm Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

COAL GROVE — In 1966, the Academy Award for best motion picture went to “A Man For All Seasons” about St. Thomas More.

If Hollywood does a remake, movie producers might want to cast Coal Grove Hornets’ senior Conor Markins in the lead role.

However, they just might have to change the name of the movie to “A Player For All Seasons.”

Markins — who played five sports his senior and junior years — settled on one season at the college level as he signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball with the Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals on Friday.

“Basketball was definitely my favorite. I enjoy playing it more than any of them,” said Markins. “But honestly, all the sports I enjoyed playing a lot because I just like being around my friends all the time.

“I played five sports this year and my junior year. Some of them I like more than others, but really it just comes down to being with my friends and I enjoy than anything and I think that’s what I’ll miss the most being with my friends”

Markins was an All-Ohio Valley Conference player in football and basketball. He was also first team all-district in both sports and special mention All-Ohio.

He was a member of the golf team and he plays baseball and runs track during the spring.

“It definitely wore on me. There were times when I wished I wouldn’t have played so many, but the key that really helped me take a step as a basketball player was playing football and running track,” said Markins.

“My sophomore year I was just a 5-10, 185-pound 3-point shooter and I couldn’t put the ball on the floor or drive, but I went out and played football and dropped about 25 pounds and I got a lot stronger, a lot faster and a lot more athletic.

“I think that’s what made me take the next step as a basketball player. I mean, I couldn’t guard a soul or run and jump as a sophomore. Now that’s some of my best attributes. I guess they all go together. Every sport, if you think of it the right way and use it the right way, helps each other.”

Markins averaged 15.5 points, 9.5 rebounds a game, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game and scored more than 1,000 points in his career.

He said the Cardinal coaches plan to use him as either a point guard or a shooting guard or both.

“I think I’ll be able to play the one or two. I played a lot of one this year. Really, I played one through five. In college, I think probably play either a one or two. I think I’ll be fine at either,” said Markins.

“I’d rather play the two because that’s what I grew up playing.”

Ohio Wesleyan, Alderson-Broaddus, Marietta were the other main schools whop pursued Markins, but he settled on Wheeling Jesuit for a variety of reasons.

“I really liked Wheeling’s campus and they fit my style of play. The coaches really seemed like straight-up guys and I knew that if I deserved to play I would,” said Markins.

“It felt like home there and it felt like a good college of choice for me. It feels like where I belong.”

Wheeling Jesuit is an NCAA Division II program and is part of the Mountain East Conference that includes Div. II national runner-up West Liberty.

Coal Grove head coach Jay Lucas said Markins is not only one of the best players he’s coached, but one of the hardest workers.

“Conor grew so much over the three years that I coached him, not only as a basketball player but as an athlete,” said Hornets’ head coach Jay Lucas.

“Today is just a culmination of a kid who had a dream and went out and achieved the dream. Nobody deserves it more than he does in my opinion.

Markins plans to major in history with a minor in education with plans to teach and coach.

“First of all, I want to be successful in school. That’s the reason I’m going there. That’s what I’m most excited for,” said Markins.

“But playing ball-wise, I want to play next year, but I’m not going in there expecting to play 30 minutes a game. I’m going to be realistic about it. Over the summer I’m going to work my tail off and really get after it and hopefully when I get up there I can earn a spot and play a couple of minutes a game and help the team however I can.”

Conor is the son of Noel Smith and Brad Markins.

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