In four years of soccer and basketball at Washington High School, senior Cullen Arnold has developed a bit of a reputation as a somewhat quiet guy.
But as the years have passed, his Hatchet teammates have learned to take notice and listen when he has something to say.
"He leads by example," Washington coach Gene Miiller said. "The kids stop and listen when he says something. He's kind of quiet - not as much in the last two years - but he's had a great basketball experience and is a very competitive player." "I hope that people will remember me as a player who gave 100 percent in every game," Arnold said of his career at Washington. "I think I will take the discipline from athletics after I'm done playing." "He's a great young man," Miiller said. ³He has great character and comes to practice everyday ready to get better and compete. He¹s gotten better every year and continues to work hard." That improvement has led Arnold to leading the Hatchets in scoring (12.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.2). He is looking to contribute as the tournament begins next week.
"I think I've been playing a bit better," Arnold said. "I still think I can do more. I need to look for my shot and be a bit more aggressive. I think I'm better defensively. I have a better understanding of positioning and where to be on the floor." Arnold was a starter on Washington's 2011 state championship team. He has tried to take the experience to help him grow as a player.
Arnold suffered a fall soccer injury before the 2010 basketball team won the Class 3A championship, and wasn't able to play until that January.
"We wanted him to be a part of the program in 2010 because we thought he had a great chance to play for us in 2011 and we wanted him to have that experience," Miiller said.
Arnold found that playing soccer, he was a three-year starter for the Hatchets, has contributed to basketball.
"There is the conditioning aspect of it," Arnold said. "It also helped keep my feet quicker. Being a three-year starter, you go through a bunch of highs and lows in both sports. There are flows in both games you go through. I think the main thing is trying to keep everyone's attitude up." Arnold is hoping to attend Indiana University after graduating from Washington. While he has not determined a major, he believes he would like to enter a medical field.
Whenever this basketball season ends, it will be his final game in an organized sport. The realization of having his high school career near an end is beginning to become more real.
"It just a weird feeling," Arnold said. "It could be over soon, and I'll be playing my last game in the Hatchet House. I won't have open gyms in the spring and summer. With senior night coming up Friday (Washington hosts Evansville Memorial in the final regular season game of the season), it's starting to sink in. We do have the sectional coming up next week, and it would be nice to have some wins there. Winning the sectional this year would mean a lot."