Q & A: Class of 2023 IU commit Gabe Cupps recaps junior season, talks future at Indiana

  • 04/26/2022 8:47 am in

Class of 2023 Centerville (Ohio) guard Gabe Cupps averaged 14.3 points, 6.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and two steals as a junior and was awarded the Mr. Basketball award in Ohio.

Cupps led Centerville to 45 straight wins, including a state championship in 2021 and a runner-up finish in 2022.

Inside the Hall recently spoke to Cupps about what he learned from his junior season, his future at Indiana, NIL and much more. A full transcript our of conversation is available below:

You had a really successful junior season, but came up short in the championship game. What were your major takeaways from what you were able to accomplish this season as a team?

“My thoughts after the season were just what I could have done differently to change that outcome in the end. Obviously, we did have a good season, but you always want to finish it. It definitely hurt, but it’ll make everybody that was a part of it better in the end. I was just super grateful to be able to play with those seniors. We always talked about making the most of the days that we have and I thought we did a really good job of that this year. To get to that final game, you maximize that opportunity that you had.”

What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself this season?

“Basically, I learn something about myself every season. Just playing with different guys and having to adjust to the group. This year, I thought my role was a little bit different than last year when we won it. I think dealing with that outside voice of everybody wondering if we’re going to go back-to-back or if we’re ever going to lose because we’re on a big winning streak, I think it was good for me to learn to deal with that and just take each game one at a time and focus on the task at hand instead of thinking back on what we did or forward on what we’re going to do.”

You mentioned the winning streak. Do you feel that on a game-to-game basis when you’re in the midst of it?

“Not really. I think our group of guys did a really good job of staying present and just kept doing the things that had won us all of those games. We knew that if we stopped doing the things that got us there, we could lose to anybody. We also knew that if we did things right, we could beat anybody.”

As a point guard, how do you strike a balance between distributing and when to look for your own offense?

“I don’t really think about it. I just try to make the right play. If I have a shot or see an opportunity to create for myself or to create for another guy, that’s just something that comes from playing the game so long and really just trying to make the right play each time.”

In terms of your explosiveness offensively, there were some clips of you finishing at the rim this season with dunks. Is that something that has developed over time? How much have you worked on it?

“I have worked on it. Just being in the weight room. I did vertimax and things like that. It also just has been development. I’ve gotten taller and stronger. It’s a little bit of both.”

What are the main things you are focused on when you’re in the gym working on your game?

“I’ve been working a lot on off the dribble stuff. Just some moves coming downhill on people. I’ve worked a lot on finishing around the rim and playing off of two feet in the lane. I think that’s big for me, especially as the level of play gets higher. Just being able to get into the lane and then make the right decision every single time. And then obviously I work on shooting and pull-ups and everything like that every time.”

What do you think are the most important things in terms of being able to consistently make 3-point shots as a player?

“I think the most important thing is that work that you’ve put in. And I think that helps a lot with your confidence, too, when you’re shooting them in game. Just knowing that you’ve repped it and you’ve done it thousands of times. I think also, just repping different situations like sliding and running into some (shots). Standing and catching and shooting. The way you’re able to shoot a good percentage, if you work on it, is just taking good ones in the game. I think that contest in college is definitely a lot more lanky and athletic than in high school on average, so you just gotta try to get open and good shots and I think that’s when you make the most of them.”

What’s been your communication with the Indiana staff? You have a really good relationship with coach (Brian) Walsh. What are the things you’re most excited about in terms of getting a chance to work with them in the future?

“A lot of the times it is just checking in to see how each other is doing. They’ve been helping me with my weight gain and stuff like that. Trying to get stronger and more physical. I’m just looking forward to having them be able to coach me and a new experience. I think playing with new guys and at that level is something that I look forward to and putting myself up to that challenge is something that I like.”

Indiana got some big news recently with the Malik Reneau commitment. You won’t be on campus for another year, but this class that is coming in, what are your thoughts on the talent that IU has been able to assemble? And with your class, you had a chance to meet Jakai (Newton), how excited are you to play with him in the future?

“I’m super excited. It’s awesome that IU is getting these highly ranked recruits and some top talent. If we can do things right, we’ve got a shot to be really good. So I’m just looking forward to playing with all of these great guys.”

How close attention do you pay to recruiting rankings? Or do you not look at it at all?

“I don’t look at them at all, but I know that Jalen Hood-Schifino is ranked really high and so is Malik. I obviously watch them, but I don’t just look at the ranking and say, ‘oh, they’re really good.’ I go watch them and now I know they’re really good. I don’t think it’s a true mark of a player. I don’t really pay attention to it.”

On3 has developed a tool to rank players based on their NIL earning potential. You are pretty high up there. Have you thought about that at all? 

“I have seen it. I think about it a little bit, but at the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. I’ll be fine with it. I don’t worry about it or put too much thought to it. I think it’s cool that guys in college are able to make money off of their name. I think that’s how it should be. I’m excited for it.”

This is your final AAU season. What do you want to accomplish this spring and summer?

“Just try to get this group to play the best they can and just have fun and win some games along the way. Hopefully try to win the adidas circuit.”

Filed to: