There have been times Bryce Brockett has been told by the Lutheran High School basketball coaches to pass the ball to players besides J.C. Faubion ... but it's hard to do.
There might not have been a more productive combination in Indianapolis-area high school sports in years. Faubion is leading the state in scoring at 35.0 points per game, according to varvee.com. That comes after a football season in which Brockett, as the quarterback, hit Faubion for 24 touchdown passes. That would have tied the state single-season record if Heritage Christian's Anthony Warrum hadn't scored 26.
"The coaches are always on me to throw to people besides J.C. because we do seem to have that special bond," Brockett said.
Lutheran coach Tom Finchum, however, laughed off the suggestion there's ever a problem with Faubion getting the ball, regardless of the sport. On the basketball court, the senior is shooting 52.9 percent overall, 48.9 percent on 3-pointers, and the Saints are 6-3, their best start since the sectional championship team in 2009-10.
"In my 21 years, he's by far the best player I've coached," Finchum said. "I've coached a lot of good players who played in small colleges. I never had a 1,000-point (career) scorer all those other years.
"We're trying to win the game. I think we understand (Faubion needs the ball in his hands)."
Faubion, who has a school-record 1,347 points, can score inside and outside and has a knack for driving to the basket.
His game has expanded since he was a thin, 5-10 freshman. He has always been a scorer, averaging 22.5 points as a sophomore and 24.4 last season. But as he has grown to 6-4 and spent more time in the weight room, he has improved his skills closer to the basket and seen his rebounding average increase from 3.3 to 6.2 to 11.0 (tied for 10th in the state).
"I've been attacking and developed more of a down-low game," Faubion said. "I've gotten better at finishing. My pull-up jump shot has gotten a lot better. I've tweaked a lot of my game by getting the ball off quicker when I release it. I've been able to shoot with people on me and not just when I'm open."
Brockett added: "It's hard to overplay him one way because he can beat you in so many ways. We've seen every kind of defense thrown at him, box-and-one and triangle-and-two. Even though he is their No. 1 target to stop, most teams still can't do it."
Faubion said if defenders help, scoring becomes more difficult.
"If it's one-on-one, I feel I can score on just about anyone," he said.
Junior point guard Beau Barham said most of Faubion's points come in the flow of the offense. Barham said the players understand Faubion gives the Saints the best chance to win.
"When we need a big shot, he's the guy to go to," Barham said. "We like to give him the ball as much as we can."
Brockett said the attention on Faubion often opens possibilities for other players.
"I don't think I'm forcing as much," Faubion said of his 3-point percentage increasing by more than four points from last season's 44.3.
Faubion's career high is 42 points, which he hit once last season and three times already this season.
His father, Jeff Faubion, said his son is a gym rat, constantly shooting at the YMCA or their basket at home.
Although Faubion played football all his life, he almost gave it up in high school due to his thin frame, but his father persuaded him to play for one season. He ended up with 95 catches for 1,536 yards and those two dozen touchdowns.
"I ended up liking it," Faubion said. "I have pretty good hands; I just developed in football, too, where I got bigger and stronger."
Faubion is getting interest from both college football and basketball coaches. Although he said he most likely will play basketball because he likes it best, he is open to the best opportunity. Finchum said several Division III coaches have come to watch him play. Faubion said he knows he has to get quicker to play at a higher level.
"There is no question he can score at the next level," Finchum said. "Watching him play AAU basketball against some really good competition, I think he could even be a lower Division I player because he can score and you can never have too many scorers. Plus he's 6-4, which is pretty good size for a guard."