Q & A: Class of 2020 Bloomington South guard and IU signee Anthony Leal

  • 03/24/2020 7:51 am in

Class of 2020 Bloomington South guard Anthony Leal had his season come to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leal, a leading candidate for the Mr. Basketball award, signed with Indiana last November during the early period and is scheduled to arrive on campus in June. Leal and the Panthers finished the season 26-0 and were one of the favorites to win the Class 4A state championship.

Inside the Hall spoke with Leal at length on Monday about his future in Bloomington, how he’s been dealing with his senior campaign being cut short and much more. Our full Q & A is available below:

On what he’s been doing the last few weeks:

“Obviously the high school season is tough on your body, so I’ve tried to get some rest and recover before all of the summer workouts start over at IU. I’ve been trying to take care of my body and get some shots up and try to stay as strong as I can with what I’ve been given. I’m taking my time and making sure my body is healthy because that’s going to be the most important thing whenever the summer sessions start to kick in.”

On where he’s working out right now and where he’s able to find gym time:

“Wherever I can find a goal or whatever park I choose to go to, that’s pretty much where I’ve been getting my shots up. Most of the public places have been told they need to close down. So I’ve been trying to get out to the park whenever I can and get some shots up and try to stay consistent with my jumper.”

On the abrupt ending to the season and how he handled it mentally:

“My initial reaction was just kind of shock. I didn’t know how to react at first. But as it started to sink in, I realized that it was actually over and my high school career had ended. Obviously it was hard for me and I didn’t take it very well at first. But I’ve just been trying to see the bright side in and trying to see the good in everything that we were able to accomplish this season … going undefeated and having the success that we were able to have. I know it’s something that I’m going to look back at and be really proud of. So I’m taking that and pairing it with the bright future and the excitement to get to IU and start working out there, that’s been keeping me going and keeping my head on straight after the sadness when they announced the season was over. I’ve been trying to look forward to the future and take pride in everything that we were able to accomplish.”

On what school is like right now not being in class due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I’m actually graduated now that the season is over. So I’m completely done with high school now.”

On what his classmates have been telling him about their experiences being out of school:

“They’re just doing e-learning and they have video conferences where they can get calls with their teachers and that kind of stuff.”

On how the pandemic has changed his life the last couple of weeks:

“I think I’m constantly wondering when things are going to be normal, but I don’t really know if anyone has the answer to that. So I’ve just been trying to do what I can and make the most of this time and not let the temptation to sit around and watch Netflix all day get to me. I’ve just been trying to focus on the bigger picture and make sure that whenever this is all over I’m in the best position I can be in.”

On his communication with the IU staff:

“I’ve been in contact with several of the coaches and their biggest thing is just to stay healthy and stay safe. Obviously these are confusing times for everybody so there isn’t much advice you can give on that. So they’ve just been making sure that we’re staying healthy and safe and that we’re also focusing on making ourselves better in every way that we can.”

On his communication with his friend and IU signee Trey Galloway:

“I’ve been talking to Trey a lot and we’ve been joking around about having our two teams just meet up to play a hypothetical state championship game just for fun and to have that closure. But other than that, we’re just going to see where this takes us. We’re really excited for the next chapter whenever it can get started.”

On the state tournament and what team he believes could have given South a tough matchup:

“Coach Holmes had been keeping it in our heads to just take it one game at a time so I was just focused on Floyd Central because that was going to be the first game of the regional for us. Obviously it would have been really fun to get to play against Trey, but that wouldn’t have been until the state championship and would have been pretty far down the road. There would have been three tough games that we would have had to win before that. I wasn’t really thinking ahead. We were just focused on Floyd Central and trying to prepare ourselves as best we could for that.”

On what good he believes could come from the situation the world is currently facing:

“I think everyone is just going to be a lot more aware and tougher when this is all over. Going through adversity is good for everybody. This can help us and especially for athletes and seniors like me, it can help us be more appreciative and more in the moment of what they’re going through. I think that appreciation is going to start to stick with people more. They’re really going to start to understand exactly what they’re going through and how awesome it is to be able to do what they’re doing.”

On what he’s looking forward to in terms of getting to IU:

“Just being around the guys and being able to make myself uncomfortable and see just how good and how much better I’m able to get. I think what excites me the most is just getting there and having a chance to compete.”

On the season Indiana had and what stood out:

“I think they competed their tails off and they played as hard as they could. I think that’s one of the biggest things you can ask for. They’re playing with pride and giving it their all. I think they played well and the future is really bright.

Filed to: