IU commit Anthony Leal is driven by sister's success

Sports
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One of Indiana's 2020 recruits won't travel far to play for the Hoosiers next season.

Senior Anthony Leal plays for Bloomington South High School, which sits three miles south of Assembly Hall.

Leal, who averaged 20 points per game as a junior last season, is a straight "A" student. His academic performance attracted offers from schools, like Stanford. But, Leal decided to play at IU, where his parents work for the school's foundation. Leal says he expects to cross paths with them on campus.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we do," Leal said. "They're going to let me live the college life."

Playing for IU head coach Archie Miller was a selling point for Leal as well.

"I think he really knows what he's doing," Leal said of Miller. "I'm really buying into what he and his staff are trying to do."

Leal plays under Bloomington South head coach J.R. Holmes, who is in his 50th year coaching high school basketball, and 38th at Bloomington South. Holmes' 823 career wins lead the state's record books.

"(He's) well-rounded in a lot of different areas," Holmes said of Leal. "Physically, his growth has been good. Maturing, we still got a ways to go. He's not at the top yet. But, we're working on that."

Anthony is the second Leal to be considered a basketball star at Bloomington South. His sister, Lauren, is a sophomore playing for DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

They even played on the same AAU team growing up. Anthony says he could not get past his big sister on the court until he began maturing in middle school.

"She always had the edge on me," Anthony said. "She was always tougher than me."

How did Anthony overcome those battles with Lauren?

"Sometimes, playing a little dirty," he said.

Anthony says Lauren motivates him to play his best because at the moment, Lauren can't. She had surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus. Lauren has previously torn and rehabbed both ACLs as well. Anthony says her playing career could be over.

"Just seeing her passion being taken away from her has increased my love for the game and appreciation for it," Anthony said. "I wear her number because she wore three. She's everything. She's my best friend."

Anthony aims to carry that motivation over to succeeding in a competitive Big Ten Conference. When Coach Holmes has challenged Anthony's mindset in the past, he's always had an answer.

"'Anthony, who could you guard?’ Those are men out there…They’re so physical… And he said, ‘I can guard any of them.’"

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