Through the highs and lows of a whirlwind freshman season, you could always count on two things from Cadyn Ellis: effort, and a smile on his face.
“Why are you not playing more?”
That was a question posed to Ellis by a family member after two games went by with few minutes to be had. But it was one chilly November evening in practice before a game that would set the tone for the remainder of his season where Ellis’ flipped the script.
Upon hearing that he was going to be unexpectedly put into the starting point guard’s role, Ellis knew he had to hit the switch from newbie getting a feel for being a first-year IHSAA player to a team leader.
“I just remember him coming up to me and saying ‘I got you, coach’ when finding out that he was going to be thrust into a starting role,” recalls Head Coach Bart Doan. “And he practiced like it. He didn’t take a day off the rest of the year, whether he was starting or coming off of the bench. Cadyn is an absolutely great student-athlete to coach.”
But Ellis fully admits that making the leap to the high school level has been wrought with challenges on the court. The Fishers native has cut his basketball teeth on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) courts, but speaks to the difference in style of play that he has to adjust to.
“The (IHSAA) high school basketball experience is different from AAU,” he muses. “There are more rules and regulations and you have to be more disciplined.
But this student-athlete hoping to go to school to be a lawyer after graduation knows already who is and is not to be argued with.
“In AAU, you can flex on guys,” he continues, “but if you do that here, (the referees) will call a tech.”
That being said, the Ellis defines his first season at Riverside as a success, hearkening back to the moments of proving others wrong that felt like his personal summit for the year.
“The best part of the season was when people told us we couldn’t beat certain teams, and then we beat those teams,” he says as he nods approvingly.
And though splashed across his red backpack containing all of his basketball belongings says “Fishers” on it, he says the basketball bond at Riverside has made the transition one he has enjoyed.
“What I like about Riverside is that every day it’s like visiting your family’s house,” he says. “Everybody is close to each other.”
As Ellis puts his frosh campaign behind him and looks to the future, he’s focused on his on-court goals with laser specificity, working on the things that will help him become a better player.
“I need to work on my shooting … especially my floater … and my focus,” he attests of his off-season basketball plans.
Ellis once again will keep sharpening his skills at Indy Elite over the summer, but this time with much more experience as to what he can expect in the fall behind him.
“Cadyn’s one of those kids, that, as a coach, you cannot do without,” adds Doan. “You ask him to do something in practice, and not only will you get it, but you’ll get it with every bit of effort he’s got along with less than zero complaining. There could be big, positive successes ahead for him if he does the right things.”
Food: steak, medium rare
Athlete: Stephen Curry
Movie: Polar Express
Restaurant: Longhorn Steakhouse
Post-Graduation: Go to school and become a lawyer