Focused. Intelligent. Determined.
Those are three qualities that Columbus North girls basketball coach Pat McKee used to describe senior Ashlyn Huffman in his nomination letter for the Point Guard College Heart of a Champion Award.
Earlier this week, Huffman was selected as the Indiana girls recipient of the award, which serves as a scholarship for the nearly $900 cost of attending a Point Guard Camp this summer.
“What they’re looking for is an athlete that has demonstrated overcoming some type of adversity,” said Anderson University assistant men’s coach Tom Beach, who oversaw the selection committee. “She had three knee surgeries, and she’s still going, so that’s pretty amazing. A lot of people might make it through one or maybe two. To overcome that and to continue playing, I think it’s pretty neat.”
Huffman’s first ACL injury came between her freshman and sophomore years at Franklin Central, just after she returned from participating in her first Point Guard Camp. She transferred to Columbus North before her junior year, and after playing most of the season, tore a meniscus in the regional and missed the semistate and state finals.
Shortly after her return from that injury, Huffman tore the ACL in her other knee, causing her to miss the first five games of her senior season before returning to help lead the Bull Dogs to another regional title and earn a first-team All-State selection from the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association.
Huffman is looking forward to returning to a Point Guard Camp for the first time in three years. Contrary to its name, Point Guard Camps aren’t just for point guards, but for all basketball players.
Huffman, who happens to be a point guard, hopes to learn more about the game and further develop her leadership skills.
“It was incredible,” she said. “It was very difficult. You get up at 7 or 8 and you do three-a-days. It’s very exhausting. You’re going to watch film and then apply it. They teach a lot of everything, a lot of the game that you think you know, but you don’t know. They break the game down to the basics of just reading things. It’s very helpful.”
The camps are run by Point Guard College staff members, with help from college coaches and players. Beach said campers don’t play games or scrimmage against each other.
The camps’ main sessions are called “Think the Game.”
“They’re teaching basketball, but the lessons they learn there can help them in life,” Beach said. “They’re going to sit in a college lecture hall and listen to some skill. They’re going to watch video of NBA players and college players doing a skill, and then going into the gym and practicing that skill.”
Huffman has committed to play at Cedarville (Ohio) University and plans to major in premed. She will sign her national letter-of-intent on Wednesday during a signing ceremony at North.
Off the court, Huffman ranks 36th in her class of 435 with a 4.046 GPA on a 4.0 scale. She scored a 1,400 on the SAT and a 30 on the ACT.
Huffman is a member of North’s Student Athletic Board and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and served as event coordinator for a North football “Coaches vs. Cancer” game, which raised more than $2,400 for the American Cancer Society. She also contributed to the Columbus Fire Department’s “Cheer Fund,” served as a counselor for youth basketball camps at North and assisted with Parents Night Out in conjunction with her church, where she helps with the special needs class.
Last week, Huffman returned from a mission trip to India with some of her church members. She plans to join her future Cedarville teammates on a mission trip to Ireland in August.
“With such determination and aptitude, not to mention her caring and compassion for others, I can assure you that Ashlyn Huffman will excel in academics, in athletics and in life in general in college and beyond,” McKee wrote in his nomination letter.
Name: Ashlyn Huffman
School: Columbus North
Position: Point guard
Key senior-year stats: 9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg
Key honors: Three-time All-Conference Indiana; two-time All-State; Indiana Junior All-Star; Academic All-State
College choice: Cedarville (Ohio)