Thursday Night Spotlight: Home school player realizes long shot goal of D-1 scholarship

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Thursday Night Spotlight: Home school player realizes long shot goal of D-1 scholarship. (WWMT/Andy Pepper)

Luke Maranka is without a doubt the funniest kid in his senior class. Although to be fair, his only competition for that honor is his twin sister Mikayla Maranka.

Jen Maranka, Luke’s mom, said, “He’s definitely the class comedian of the two. I think he likes to keep mom laughing.”

Jen has good reason to smile. She’s been homeschooling her kids since the third grade, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

While she only sees the positive side of homeschooling, there was one big negative.

Colleges were almost completely unaware of her rapidly growing, dunk-machine of a son, who, instead of playing for any of the larger Grand Rapids area high schools, was struggling to get noticed with his home school team.

Luke said, “That was tough. We were playing in empty gyms and the only fans were our parents.”

All that began to change two years ago. Luke joining a brand new homeschool team called the Grand Rapids Angels and, thanks to a nearly 50 game midwestern travel schedule, it wasn’t long before

Division I colleges began courting the 6-foot-10-inch prospect.

“He’s more of a wing, puts it on the ground, shoots three’s really well.” The Grand Rapids Angels head coach Greg Endsley said, “As far as I know he’s just the second home schooler in Michigan ever to get a D-1 offer.”

Luke, who wanted to stay close to home, eventually committing to the University of Toledo.

He said, “People have said I needed to go to school to get noticed. So, it was a great feeling to prove I didn’t need to go to school. I’m ready to be a D-1 player.”