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You can't judge Svetich by his cover: Junior point guard fills void in Crown Point lineup

By STEVE HANLON

CROWN POINT – Like most parents, Clint Swan loved going to see his son, Elliot, play basketball as a youngster. It’s the joy of the masses. watching their offspring learn and grow through the ups, downs, wins, losses, smiles and tears of competition.

But while cheering on his boy, the Crown Point boys basketball coach noticed another little Bulldog squeaking shoes on the floors of yesteryear.

That lad is now a junior point guard at C.P. Jack Svetich is his name.

“I’ve been watching Jack play for a long time,” said Swan after his ‘Dogs beat Michigan City 64-53 on Friday night.

Svetich was not one of those players that all knew would be a superstar when they were in kindergarten. “Late bloomer” doesn’t really apply either. The 6-foot-2 floor general plays his game more in the middle.

“We gave him a brand new role this season,” Swan said. “And he’s handling it very well so far.”

Svetich had played the 3 or 4 positions growing up in the Hub. But with the graduation of Drew Adzia after last season, Crown Point basketball became a donut.

There was a hole in the middle after Adzia moved on to Holy Cross.

“I saw Jack play for the first time when he was in third grade,” Swan said. “I watched him grow up. He was more of a wing player, but we noticed he took care of the ball very well. Jack has a real love for the game. He just loves to play.”

Svetich said he grew up playing hoops and baseball in C.P. But at one point in his journey, the heart emoji landed on his heart in bright red.

He began watching Washington Wizards point guard John Wall play the game. And his love for the game leaped to a higher vertical.

“I didn’t have too much varsity experience heading into this season,” Svetich said. “But I owe a lot to how (Adzia) treated me last year. He was a great mentor. At one practice he saw I was struggling. He came over and just told me to calm down, to believe in myself. He told me to not be afraid to shoot.

“Drew was a great help to my development.”

Svetich has never picked up a tennis racket in his life. But a book about this ancient contest also helped No. 22’s ability rise. “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey allowed Svetich to overcome self-doubt, nervousness and/or lapses in concentration on the basketball court.

Consequently, there is no zero in Svetich’s love of hoops.

“That book has helped me to remain calm in big games,” he said.

On Dec. 10 inside the historic Southport gymnasium in Indianapolis, Svetich scored 21 points in the Bulldogs’ 64-53 win. He only had two points in the win over Michigan City, but he grabbed seven rebounds and recorded two helpers.

Heading into the game against the Wolves, Svetich was averaging 9.7 points, with 37 assists.

“We gotta get Jack to shoot more,” Swan said with a smile.

Svetich gives big props to his grandmother, Barb Bruno, for her support of his game, along with the rest of his family. He remembered sitting downstairs watching old cowboy movies with his grandpa, while going out to eat with both of them often.

“She comes to every game, she’s always there for me,” he said. “She texts me every day. I can’t say enough how important she is to me.”

Crown Point (6-5, 1-0) travels to Merrillville (6-3, 0-1) for a big Duneland Athletic Conference game on Friday.

While starting a little later than some, Swan spoke about how Svetich was pressed into varsity duties last season in the sectionals, having the ball in his hands with five seconds left in a tight game.

“Jack is doing now what (Adzia) did last year,” Swan said. “He’s now talking to our younger players at practice, lifting them up, encouraging them. He makes it easy to follow someone like him. It’s been a great story in our basketball program.”


Jack Svetich of Crown Point guards Michigan City's Anthony Murphy during Friday's game. Photo by Marley Hanlon

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