FORTVILLE — The least recruited player among four senior starters, Jake Stafford wasn’t sure what his basketball future held in the late winter of 2010 — if it included basketball, at all.
Part of the Mt. Vernon sectional-winning team, Stafford averaged 10.3 points and 4.2 rebounds that season, but he watched talented teammates Daniel Turner, PJ Hubert and DeArmond Davis get looks from NCAA Division I schools, while Stafford received interest from NAIA Marian, Goshen and the like.
“It was tough, because they’re all really good players and I was kind of the fourth man,” Stafford said. “I was considered good ... but I think I was underrated, and I didn’t get the looks that they got. I wasn’t even 100 percent sure I was going to play in college.
“But, that put me in a position where I had to prove myself even more, and I think it’s helped me a lot over the years. And look where I’m at now in my career.”
Where Stafford is now is starting at forward for the Marian basketball team. The six-foot-4 junior is averaging 11.4 points and a team-high 7 rebounds for a 9-4 Knights team that figures to only improve under first-year coach Todd Lickliter, the former Butler and Iowa chief.