GREENFIELD — It’s not that Josh Mundell is different, per say. He wears a size 11 basketball shoe and enjoys eating Italian food — not much different than most boys his age.
And like other high school athletes in Indiana, Mundell roots for the Indianapolis Colts and avidly watches college hoops, specifically the Indiana Hoosiers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
But what sets the Greenfield-Central senior guard, who also plays baseball, apart from the crowd? An incredible work ethic.
“Josh is just one of those kids, when he steps between the lines, he’s going to give you everything that he has,” Greenfield-Central head basketball coach Michael Lewis said. “We constantly talk about toughness in our program, and Josh is the epitome of that. He’s just a special kid.
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“Every once in a while you come across a kid who cares more about the program than he does about himself.”
And the moment he’s patiently been waiting for has finally come.
As the seventh man on a senior-dominated team (20-5) last season, Mundell played sparingly and took on any role Lewis needed that particular night. Whether it was a couple of quarters of action or 30 seconds, the 6-foot-1 guard never complained. He was always ready.
Mundell averaged 1.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game as a junior and played in all 25 games for Greenfield-Central. He had a season-high of seven points, twice, and pulled down six rebounds in a win against New Palestine.
Now, however, Mundell is a full-fledged rotation player for the Cougars and has spent a majority of the season in a starting role while occasionally coming off the bench. Again, whatever Coach Lewis needs.
Mundell racked up back-to-back career nights in the early portion of the season, scoring a career-high 12 points against Indianapolis Marshall and New Palestine. He also added two 3-pointers and four rebounds against the Dragons and is currently averaging 6.3 ppg, which ranks third on the team.
“It means so much to me to get to play my senior year with a great group of guys,” Mundell said, who added 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. “No one cares about the statistics, just winning.”
One of his best plays of the season came against Connersville on Dec. 20, when the senior pulled down a one-handed rebound and lifted it back to the rim for two points — all while being clobbered and fouled by a defender.
But it wasn’t always like this. Mundell remembers going from a starter on the freshman team to a bench warmer on the junior varsity squad his sophomore season. He wasn’t satisfied with his role.
“I started working harder,” Mundell said. “I wanted to play, but I didn’t show it in a bad way. I always worked hard in practice and showed a good attitude every day.
“Someone got sick, and I started my first game at Mt. Vernon and scored 14 points. I started every game the rest of the year.”
He worked, then waited. Worked and waited. But eventually his time came. Just like it is now.
His competitive drive, Mundell noted, most likely stems from having a large immediate family, including three brothers.
The oldest brother, Tyler, is a freshman at Notre Dame University and is the smartest out of the group, Mundell said. His two younger brothers, Brady and Caleb, are freshman twins at Greenfield-Central. Brady recently began receiving playing time on the varsity basketball team, while Caleb was a key member of the varsity soccer team in the fall.
“(My family) might have been the biggest influence on me,” Mundell said, who dealt with younger and older sibling rivalries as the middle child.
But going into this hoops season for the Cougars, Mundell knew he would have a much larger role on the team. Not only could he be counted on to bring a toughness to the Cougars, Mundell would bring leadership — not just vocal. Mundell is at his best when leading by example.
“One thing we were a little concerned about coming out of last year was who was going to step up and fill that leadership void we lost,” Lewis said. “Josh has picked up that torch and done everything we’ve asked of him and more.
“He is an unbelievably mature person for his age.”
Mundell, who sports a 3.85 grade-point average, is also active on the student radio, WRGF, and helped announce football games this fall.
On the baseball team, Mundell played a similar role for head coach Robbie Miller last season. He started in center field Friday nights when the team’s ace, senior Drey Jameson, was on the mound and usually hit in the ninth spot in the batting order. He finished the season with six hits, four RBIs, three stolen bases and just one error defensively.
Although still uncertain on a college or career path, one thing is certain: If he’s ever unsatisfied with his current position, Mundell will take every necessary step to change it.
With a friend, 2016 Greenfield-Central guard Blake Robertson, attending Hanover, Mundell said he might attempt to walk on to the basketball team if he decides to go to the school. It would be unwise to doubt him, too.
“I just believe I am more competitive than most people,” Mundell admitted. “I always think that I am going to win. Never count yourself out and never step down from a challenge.”
Josh Mundell, Greenfield-Central
Sports: Basketball, baseball
2016 basketball: 6.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 78 percent from free-throw line, 61 percent from field, season-high 12 points — twice.
Family: Joseph, father; Brenda, mother; Tyler, brother; Brady and Caleb, twin brothers
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite sport: College basketball
Other: Radio at Greenfield-Central (WRGF)