Concordia senior starters Brian Gremaux, Ryan Gross, Marq Rogers and Thomas Starks emerge from the locker room at the school together after practice Tuesday for an impromptu media session talking – just like they have been doing for years.
The four players have practically grown up on and off the court together and have formed, as Starks calls it, a brotherhood. It is a collective ride they dont want to see end with the next stop in the Class 3A semistate against Andrean on Saturday at Huntington North.
It has been great to play with these guys for so many years, even before high school, Starks said. We have come to bond, and it is starting to pay off.
It all began as teammates in the Cadet Cagers feeder program, with Starks and Rogers coming in the fourth grade, Gremaux a year after that and then Gross in another year. Along with junior D.J. McCall, they have been the nucleus and starting five for the Cadets all season.
There have even been the occasions – maybe not as rare as they would like to admit – of a difference of opinion among the four. But just like most things, they solved any problems with communication.
It just seems like we get along, Gremaux said. If we have a problem with one another, we are not afraid to talk with each other and straighten it out. That really helps us on the basketball floor and really brings us together. We know we have each others backs, and we can rely on one another.
The friendship began on the court, but has spilled over to social occasions and numerous trips to each others homes.
It you see us off the court, we are always together, Rogers said. If you see one of us, the others are right behind.
Most of the talk of basketball has made its way to getting to the state finals, a dream that could turn into reality if the Cadets are able to get past the 59ers.
As kids, we would go to Thomas house, and we talked about how our senior year we were going to win state, Gross said. It is kind of crazy and almost surreal now. We have had our differences, but when it comes down to it, we are all best friends.
They are just one step away from putting Concordia into the state finals for the first time in school history.
We have been watching guys on TV, and we were like we can do that and get down there (to state), Rogers said. We watched (two-time state champion and former Bishop Luers standout) Deshaun Thomas and guys like that, and we wanted to be like those guys. Finally, we are putting the pieces together, and we are doing it.
The four of them will eventually go their separate ways, with Rogers playing football at Montana and Gross headed to Wabash for basketball, and Starks and Gremaux likely to end up playing college athletics as well.
We have built a bond together, Rogers said.
It is great to be with these guys, and it is going to be hard next year when we all go to college. I am going to miss these guys. It has been a fun journey with them the last four years in high school.