GLASGOW —The Scotties were down double digits in the second half to fourth region powerhouse Bowling Green on Dec. 10. With the game seemingly in check, Glasgow made a surprising run at the start of the fourth quarter.
Thanks to a momentum-shifting three-point play at the rim, the Scotties were back in the game. To no surprise to anyone in the gym, it was Glasgow big man Jaden Franklin who made the play and led the Scotties’ comeback.
Glasgow would eventually narrowly fall in the matchup 64-60. However, Franklin did not go quietly as he finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
It was just another night at the office for the senior star who is currently averaging 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game the Scotties. After all, Franklin knows a thing or two about comebacks all too well.
The forward made his return to the hardwood this season after suffering a devastating torn ACL in the 2018 KHSAA Football Playoffs.
But Franklin first injured his knee against Metcalfe County earlier that season after making a cut upfield on a jet-sweep.
“I don't know exactly when that was, but that could’ve been when it actually tore,” Franklin said of that night. “I sat out a couple of weeks and did therapy on it. I played on it in the first round of playoffs and even scored two touchdowns on it. It felt fine.”
Despite the positive performance in the first round on what was possibly a partially torn ACL, the next round would bring about true disaster. While blocking his man on offense, his knee gave out on him totally.
The medical results would show the worst. He had completely torn his ACL and would miss the rest of the playoffs and his entire junior season of basketball. The long road back would only just begin for Franklin.
“Rehab wasn’t as bad because I had already gone through it before,” Franklin said. “It was a really tough process. It went by a lot slower. It kind of drains you, but you just got to stay the course and do the little things. You just got to get back to that place not only physically, but mentally in your mind where you can do the things that you did before.”
Thankfully for the senior, he had plenty of support along the way. Standout quarterback Tanner Abernathy saw the injury happen firsthand and was able to be there for his best friend throughout the rehab process.
“It killed him and it killed all of us, too,” Abernathy said. “We just hated it for him. He is tough, and he stayed the course and got back healthy again. He is having a great year so far in basketball. I’m proud of him.”
Unfortunately enough, the deed is now being returned by Abernathy who suffered his own devastating leg injury in this year’s KHSAA football playoffs.
Now at every Glasgow home basketball game, it’s Abernathy who is in front of the student section cheering on his best friend despite being in a rehab process of his own.
“I’ve just seen him leading the team,” Abernathy said of Franklin’s leadership on the court. “They all trust him. You know he is going to do big things. You know what Jaden is going to do every night. He is going to be consistent every single night. He is a guy that you can trust. I had him in football, and I trusted him more than anyone I’ve ever trusted. I’ve seen that a lot in him this season as well.”
The star quarterback isn’t wrong about the Glasgow big man. Franklin has been a consistent force for the Scotties on the hardwood in 2019 as he flirts with a double-double in every game.
While it is true that Glasgow has started out the season with a sluggish 4-7 record, the Scotties have endured an incredible amount of adversity in their own right.
The team’s best shooter Tucker Kirkpatrick went down in the first game with a partially torn ACL of his own, and Glasgow has played an absolutely brutal schedule, which has featured seven games against teams from Bowling Green, Louisville, Campbellsville and Owensboro.
Thankfully for the Scotties, Franklin’s presence in the paint has kept them in almost all 11 games they have played this season.
“We came into the year thinking we were going to have a lot of success early, but as you can tell this region has been everywhere this year,” Franklin said. “I think losing Tucker hurt us a lot, because he is one of the only shooters we have on the team. We are a more physical team. We like to get in the paint, and Tucker spread us out so it kind of changed the way we play a little bit.”
Things aren't totally negative for Franklin and company despite the rough start. Glasgow still doesn’t have a losing record within the region, plus they are 1-0 in district play.
Even with the challenges the Scotties have faced thus far, the end goal still remains the same: A trip to Rupp Arena.
“Going into my sophomore year we all set a goal for ourselves that we wanted to get to Rupp Arena,” Franklin said. “That’s been the goal every since. We have little goals as well like winning the district and getting a good seed to be better prepared for district. We still have to get over that hump of winning the region and getting out of the first round of region.”
In the meantime, Franklin is leading Glasgow on the court with a throwback game, which includes fundamental post moves and midrange jump shots.
With his dominant strength and athleticism, Franklin is able to power the ball over and through almost every defender in the region.
He easily has the athleticism to dunk the ball as well. However, you will never see Franklin going for the highlight dunks in warmups or in game situations. That kind of flair just doesn’t match the workman-like mentality of the Scotties’ man in the middle.
“In warmups, I just try to get shots that I’m gonna get in the game,” Franklin said. “I try to get my head in the right place. I just don’t get into the flashiness of all of it because I’ve always been told that two points are two points. I just try to get shots that will prepare for that team that night.”
It’s very unclear whether or not the Scotties will in fact make it to Rupp Arena. However, one thing is very certain: Jaden Franklin will go to work every night for Glasgow as he puts an ending on his own comeback story.