OSCODA – Oscoda small forward Owen Franklin has already put up big enough career numbers to put him up with the all-time greats for the Owls. The good news for Oscoda fans is bad news for his opposition however, as the junior still has one season left to add to his legacy.
“I think everything has gone really well so far, I couldn’t ask for more,” Franklin said. “I feel like my performances have jumped up significantly every year, so hopefully I can do the same next year.
“A big part of my success definitely goes to my teammates and everyone around me for just always having confidence in me,” he added. “I feel like I have a lot of people in my corner and that is a big confidence booster in me. I give them all the credit in the world for sure.”
Franklin currently sits with 1107 career points, already good for the sixth most in the boys program’s history; he and senior teammate Brayden Mallek made for the rare pairing of 1000-point scorers on the same team; both key pieces to Oscoda’s recent success, which includes back-to-back North Star League Big Dipper championships and were about 24 hours away from possibly adding a second straight district title as well, before the COVID-19 outbreak halted their season.
This season alone Franklin averaged 22.4 points a game, hit 55-percent of his field-goals and drilled 67 three pointers, netting them at a 50.4-percent rate. He also hit 82-percent of his free throws and tracked down almost nine rebounds a game.
“Owen and Brayden are special players, anytime you have two 1000 point scorers on the same team, that’s very rare,” Oscoda head coach Mike Poland said. “That’s very hard to do in basketball and we are fortunate to have two. Owen is a tremendous athlete and has been very successful in football and baseball too. Owen led us in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks; just a really special athlete and wants to do whatever it takes for us to win a game.”
Most players consider themselves fortunate to reach the 1000 point mark in their careers, Franklin had the rare feat of reaching it as a junior.
“It means a lot, only a few juniors have done it like (Mio’s) Drew Hess, (Hale’s) Joseph Kimmerer and myself,” he said. “To be in a group with those two is a really big honor. Brayden and I always just let the game come to us and we took advantage of our chances. This is all just us being who we are.”
If things go as planned for Franklin, he could become the program’s all time-leading scorer. 2000 graduate Nik Alda is the current high mark with 1260.
“To be honest, that has been a goal of mine since freshman year,” he said. “I knew I would have to have a really good career to do it, so knowing that I have a chance at that means a lot.”
His head coach is certainly glad to have Franklin back in the mix for another season.
“The sky is the limit for him going into his senior season,” Poland said. “He was in better shape this year, which was one of the things I had for a goal for him and he bought in with that. I thought his numbers would go up if he was in better shape and they did. He can do it all, he can dunk a basketball, he gets his shot off really high and he is tough to block. On top of his really good three pointer shooting he has done a fantastic job of attacking the basket and staying balanced.
“This year he had so many good scorers around him, but next year we may see all types of defensive schemes thrown against him,” he added. “What comes to mind is (former Mio player) Lubitz; he was one of the best players I have seen in our conference in a long time and he had to do it with two or three guys on him. I think we are going to see a lot of that next year.”
Franklin, like several other athletes across the state are still holding out hope that this season will resume once COVID-19 is under control.
“It’s really tough to deal with, we’re still all jus tin shock,” he said. “We worked so hard for so long and all this happened it just feels like it is getting ripped out of our hands because we have no control over it. Honestly, it is just heartbreaking.”
Franklin knows he is one of the lucky ones in that he has one more year of wearing his school colors before he graduates. He even has a few ideas for how he can improve his basketball game.
“I don’t want to see my performance drop at all, I know I am going to see a lot of defenses thrown at me next year, but I want to stay at the same level now and hopefully build on the success we’ve had as a team and for myself,” he said. “I want to become a better ball-handler under pressure; over the last three years Brayden has handled it with ease so now I want to be the guy who is able to dribble it around and knock down free throws like he did.”