There's a basketball hoop at the Maiorca family business in small Windham, Ohio. It's become the center of a family rivalry.
It's not uncommon for Phillip Maiorca
and his dad, Anthony, to wind up playing a game or two of P-I-G against one another. That can quickly turn into a game of one-on-one and other various contests.
"We have competitions here and there to see who has better foul shooting or assists, kind of like that," Phillip Maiorca said.
Anthony, who is now Windham's head football coach, was the starting point guard on the Windham basketball team from 1996-1998. Anthony has followed suit. The junior point guard is in his third year starting for Windham (Ohio)
The two have a fun father-son rivalry. It's more of a bond, really. Phillip has some tapes of when his dad played basketball in high school, and he likes to compare his game.
"I watch what he did and I say to myself, ‘I'm definitely the better player than him. If he can do this, then I can do this,' " Maiorca joked.
The two have friendly banter, but it's the elder Maiorca who has helped his son become a three-sport star for the Bombers. Maiorca wasn't very athletic when he was little, but Dad whipped him into shape.
"Without him I would not be the player I used to be," Maiorca said. "I used to be actually very chubby and very slow. When he first started coaching, when I was born, with the Windham football team and he was helping out, he used to make me come to his practices and run with his team. He's always there to push me and make sure I'm not settling for who I am and make me a better person." Learn More: Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month presented by the Marines
Maiorca, who turns 17 on Feb. 24, had a breakout football campaign in the fall and has followed that up with a strong season on the basketball court. He's averaging 11.2 points per game, 4.5 assists, 2.9 steals and is shooting 79 percent from the free throw line. As a sophomore, he averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 assists a night.
"You can't measure his importance to our team by just points," said Marty Hill, who is in his 43rd season as Windham's boys basketball coach. "His assists, steals, taking on the other team's best player in tough times, players who are bigger than him, are just as important," Hill said.
Hill calls Maiorca a true point, one who can direct the offense. But Maiorca can also score.
"He's probably our best defender despite the fact that he's only 5-foot-6," Hill said. "He's a true leader on the floor. As a coach, you love to have a point guard that's an extension of yourself out there. That certainly would describe Phillip."
What makes Maiorca such a strong athlete, according to Hill, is his quickness in his small frame.
"Not just speed, but quickness to avoid people," Hill said. "Another great quality Phillip has is physical and mental toughness. He's very tough-minded — works hard in the weight room in the offseason to get as strong as he can be an."
Maiorca loves being the team's floor general and understands his role isn't as a scorer but as an all-around sound player on both ends of the court.
If fact, if given the chance to drain a game-winning shot or dish out a beautiful assist, Maiorca gets more satisfaction in choosing the latter.
"Being able to just pass the ball and have someone score, it's like a great connection," Maiorca said. "You're doing a good deed and you just feel, ‘Wow, I just did that. It feels great.' "
Individually, it has been Maiorca's best season on the court. But more importantly for Maiorca, the team is doing well. Windham has posted an 18-3 record and is looking to make a deep run in the postseason starting next week. Maiorca has played a big role in that success.
"No matter what sport I play, I always try and be the best leader that I can be," Maiorca said.
That certainly rings true for football. Maiorca helped lead the Bombers to a 9-3 record and the second round of the playoffs.
Maiorca was a wizard on the field. He started at running back, safety and played on most of the special teams units. The only time he took a breather during games was on punt coverage. Maiorca tallied 59 tackles on defense and racked up an eye-popping 1,524 yards rushing and 24 total touchdowns. He led his team in rushing and receiving yards.
"I definitely have to give credit to my line," said Maiorca, who was named to the Division VVI OPSWA All-Ohio Football second-team offense. "I've been running behind them ever since I was in seventh grade, and they know the style of running I like to do. All they have to do is sustain a block for like a second and I'll just cut right off of them. They also know if I run one way I'm probably going to run back the other way."
Since Maiorca is just 5-foot-6, 140 pounds, he's a small back. He utilizes his ability to run low to the ground and can be difficult for defenders to bring down.
"I'm really good with my vision and I can see when a hole is about to open up or I can see how fast a guy's running and I can just stop and go the other way," Maiorca said. "One thing I should learn is to run out of bounds instead of taking so much punishment."
Maiorca, who has been a two-year starter as on outfielder on the baseball team, would like to play college football. He's heard Ohio Northern and Akron are interested in getting in touch with him. He'd love to have the chance to play mid-major Division I football.
"I definitely have to work as hard as I can in the weight room and stay focused in the classroom," Maiorca said. "I have to be able to get a few more pounds on me, because I don't think 140 is going to cut it going to D-I."
Maiorca should be able to get accepted to just about any college he chooses since he's strong in the classroom with a 3.9 grade point average.
Maiorca enjoys staying busy with school as well as sports. He's the vice president of the National Honor Society. Through that, he's able to get out and volunteer around his community. He recently handed out food to people in need at the Renaissance Family Center in Windham and enjoys helping out with his town's annual summer cleanup by weed whacking or picking up trash.
"I take pride in that, helping my community out," Maiorca said.
Since Windham is a small town of about 2,200 people, most of the community members come out to support the football and basketball teams on Friday nights. Maiorca noted the tight-knit community is like a big family.
Maiorca loves it when youth football players attend games to watch their heroes in action.
"It's a great feeling knowing you have such an impact on kid," Maiorca said. "You don't have to be a superstar in the NFL. You can just be an ordinary kid like me who gives back to the community, who helps little kids become better people."Know an incredible student-athlete who stands out in sports and in life away from competition? Click here to nominate them for a chance to be featured on MaxPreps.