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Gabe Cupps Q&A

Centerville High School (OH) and Midwest Basketball Club (OH) star Gabe Cupps is a prospect Pro Insight has tracked for quite some time, as we’ve watched him become college-ready over the years. We recently caught him at the Beacon Orthopaedics Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational, where he led his team to a victory over Southern California Academy. The future Indiana Hoosier won Ohio Mr. Basketball last season as a junior and led his team to the state championship game, while averaging 14.3 PPG, 6.8 APG, 2.5 RPG, and 2 SPG. 

Recently, Cupps spent time with Pro Insight’s David Hendren to discuss his unique basketball journey, his short and long term goals, receiving advice from LeBron, and much more. 

For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A Series, we present Gabe Cupps, from Centerville, Ohio:

Pro Insight: Give us some background — in your own words, catch everyone up — how did you get to where you are today?

Gabe Cupps: My dad has always been a basketball coach so I’ve always grown up around the game. Basketball was the only thing I knew to this point of my life. As I started to get older, I was working out and he would take me in the basement to work on ball-handling drills and stuff like that. It became a passion for me and I’ve continued with it and worked hard and it has led me to this point now. 

PI: How old were you when you started playing basketball and when did you start taking it seriously?

GC: I was probably 4 or 5 years old but when I started taking it seriously would be the 4th grade, which was around the time I started playing with the Blue Chips. That made me want to work even harder to be able to compete at that level. 

PI: When did you realize you could possibly get to that next level and get a college scholarship?

GC: It was always a dream of mine, but it never became real until I was actually getting scholarship offers after my sophomore year, which was when I got my first offer. Before that, my mindset was just to work as hard as I can and to see what happens. 

PI: Talk about your experience with the Midwest Basketball Club. 

GC: Obviously, my dad was the coach of that team too. We played the right way, which took a lot of college coaches and AAU programs by surprise the way we played and that’s why we were able to be successful, even if the other teams had more athletic guys. I think we moved the ball, which is rare in AAU, which is definitely the way I like to play. I got to play with friends and teammates that I really enjoyed. 

PI: What was it like playing with Reed Sheppard and how would you say you guys complement each other on the floor? 

GC: Ever since I started playing with Reed, he’s been one of my favorite guys to play with. He and I being different guards — him being more of a scoring guard and myself being more of a creator — really complemented each other and it made the game a lot easier to play together. He’s one of my closest friends off the floor, too, so it was always fun to be around him and share those memories together. 

PI: What’s your favorite all-time memory on the basketball court?

GC: My favorite on-court memory was winning the state championship and hugging my dad my sophomore year.

PI: How has it been playing for your dad in both high school and in AAU?

GC: Early on in my freshman year, we butted heads a little bit because we are both super competitive and wanted to win, so we both were going to speak our mind about what was right. We have gotten a lot better as time has gone on, whether it was through the AAU or high school season, at learning where each of us was coming from and combining our ideas. We wanted to listen to each other and not get defensive with one another. 

PI: What would you say has been the best part?

GC: The best part has been spending time with him and creating those memories. A lot of kids don’t have the relationship that I have with my dad, so I’m grateful to be around him. We share the same love for the game and that is something really important to both of us. 

PI: How about the worst?

GC: The emotions can be difficult at times. If it was someone that I didn’t know or didn’t know me as well as my dad, then it would be a very different encounter each time we would have a problem. Since we know each other so well, we push each other's buttons a lot easier. 

PI: How would you describe you guys' relationship both on and off the floor? 

GC: During the early high school years, especially at the gym, we could talk basketball, but once we got home, we weren’t talking about basketball. My mom helped us separate those two scenarios, especially if we got into an argument. Now, we can both handle it and see where each of us are coming from and talk about basketball wherever. We can just be a family, dad and son, anywhere now. It has changed throughout the years. 

PI: What are your goals at Centerville for the rest of this season?

GC: I’m just hoping we can get everyone to click and have the same energy, which I think will lead to us being very successful. If we can get everyone bought into the role that they need to do, I think we will win and have a lot of fun. 

PI: How would you describe your growth as a player throughout your high school career?

GC: My leadership has grown a lot. I have been in a leadership position all four years and have gotten better at running a team. Obviously, my skill set has improved just from working for four years, but I think the game has slowed down and I have been able to play at my own pace compared to my freshman and sophomore years. 

PI: Congratulations on your commitment to IU. What set them apart from all of your options?