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Armaan Franklin Talks Family, Love of the Game & Joining IU Basketball

Photographer: Rolly Landeros 

Armaan Franklin’s interest in basketball was evident even as a baby. For the average 8-15-month-old infant, a normal attention span is around one minute. When Cathedral senior guard Armaan was just 6 months old, he sat mesmerized on his mother’s lap and watched an entire WNBA Houston Comets game without moving.

Basketball had his attention even then.

With two older brothers playing basketball and growing up in a gym, there was a pretty good chance that basketball would be his sport, but his mom, India wanted to give him opportunities to play other sports. So at the age of three, Armaan participated in a youth soccer program. When it was over, the woman who organized the league called to see if Armaan would be returning for the second session. Armaan was sitting next to his mom and overheard the conversation. She said, “Armaan are you going back for the second session?” and without hesitating, he looked up at her and said, “Nope, I think I’ll retire.”

Even at three years old, Armaan knew he wanted to play basketball.

By age four, Armaan’s desire to play basketball was growing stronger asking his mom every day “Can I go try out?” “Can I play?” to which she would wearily respond, “You can’t Armaan, you’re too young, and you’re only four.”

It was the same routine dozens of time throughout the day and likely because he spent most of his youth in gyms watching his two older brothers play in basketball leagues. India realized that distracting him was becoming increasingly more difficult so she decided to use a typical parent tactic. Let the coach tell him he was too young.

India simply asked the coach if he could try out for the team knowing that he needed to be five or six years old to play in the league. She explained to the coach that he has a strong desire to play the game and explained that he had been begging her every day to play and with a wink to the coach, she said, “And if my son can do the things the other kids are doing, then maybe he could play.”

Deep down she was hoping the coach would back her up and tell young Armaan that he was too young to play, but that was not how it all played out that day.

“He was out there killing it and I was thinking, this is not how this was supposed to turn out,” she recalls.

So at the age of four, he played up with the five and six-year-olds, and that was the beginning of his journey.

India is not only his greatest fan, but she has been cheering on two older brothers who started young and also played at the college level and has logged more than 24 years in gyms around Indiana and around the country cheering on her boys. But before the basketball family dynasty began, India’s sister, Coquese Washington played high school basketball, then for the University of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball program under legendary Head Coach Muffet McGraw. Washington completed her degree program in three years and would play in the first year of the WNBA eventually helping the Houston Comets win the WNBA Championship before using her law degree to serve as the organizations’ first president. Today she is the Penn State Women’s Head Basketball Coach, and she has had an enormous impact on Armaan and his brothers’ love for the sport.

It is hard to imagine that at the end of Armaan’s sophomore year he was so far under the recruiting radar. He had lost confidence in himself and it was affecting his life inside and outside of the game. Armaan began working with a trainer before he left to play with his AAU team on the Under Armor circuit, and he worked with him all summer. He got his confidence back and even though he was still under the radar, India told him, “It’s ok, just keep working and keep at it. Keep at it. He kept working out, kept training and any opportunity he got to train, even two times a day, early in the morning and late at night.”

His confidence was evident to everyone that watched him play.

Eventually, others began to see the transformation, and the coaches began to attend basketball games, offers to visit schools began to take place and eventually more than 14 Division I offers began pouring in. Armaan’s best friend, Purdue-commit, Isaiah Thompson, was pulling hard to have him join him in West Lafayette. About a month before he decided to commit to IU, India would have never guessed that is where he was going to go. When the decision was made to attend IU, they both felt this was the best place for him to continue his career.

“I am excited about playing on a huge stage in the Big Ten, playing with and against National level competition,” Armaan says. “I am just really excited to play in the college atmosphere to push me to be a better player. With the success the IU Basketball Program is having, I’m excited about joining the team after graduation. The team is headed in the right direction, and Coach Miller is guard-oriented, which is great for me as a guard.”

Closing out his Cathedral career strong, Armaan talked about his Cathedral family.

“These guys are more like my brothers,” he says. “We love playing together, but we hang out outside of basketball, too. Coach Delaney has expected a lot out of me. He pushes me to be better, and I am so grateful for his support. As a senior leader, this has been a good experience to step out of my quietness and shyness and become more of a vocal leader.”

In a few short months, Armaan will step onto the IU campus for the first time as one of the top prospects in the state in the class of 2019. The future looks bright.

Rapid Fire Round

Most Inspiring NBA Player:
“Definitely Kawhi Leonard with the Toronto Raptors. He is a small forward and quiet, like me, and he stays humble and maintains a level-head.”
What are you going to study at IU?
“I’m going to study Sports Management. If I don’t make it to the NBA level, I want to help others achieve their dream.”
Favorite Netflix Show
“The Office”
Advice to younger players
“Stay patient, don’t try to rush anything, work hard and just realize that all your hard work will pay off in the end. Don’t get upset about one game or one play.”

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