Rock Creek’s Vogts named area player of the year

By Maria McIlwain

Martin Vogts has always been drawn to basketball ever since he started playing competitively in first grade.

In middle school, he found out it was in his blood.

His biological father, Jamaal Davis, played under Bob Huggins at Cincinnati from 2000-02.

Vogts said he has met his biological mother but not Davis.

“He’s just someone someday I’d like to meet, but I don’t think about him too much,” he said.

Vogts said his adoptive parents, Keith and Shirley Vogts, who adopted him just days after he was born in 2000 in Wichita, put him in a myriad of different sports to see what he liked best and have always been supportive.

“They take me to all my AAU tournaments, they pay for all the payments they need to just for me to play, they pay for my training,” Vogts said, “they’ve just followed me every step of the way, doing everything they can to help me get better.”

Vogts, a guard/post player and this year’s All-Flint Hills player of the year, noticed he was different than other basketball players early on, when he stood much taller than his peers. He still does, at 6-foot-3. He said he never felt special, though, he’s just played his game.

“I had this mentality when I was younger that I could beat anybody on the court,” he said. “I still have it today. I can just do me, and I know I’ll be successful with what I do.”

It’s worked. Vogts led the Mustangs in most statistical categories, including points (23 points per game), rebounds (seven per game), assists and steals (three each per game). He set the single-season points record at Rock Creek as a junior with 506. Vogts helped the Rock Creek (18-5) capture its fifth-straight Mid-East League title and fourth consecutive trip to the 4A Division II state tournament.

“I like to lead,” Vogts said. “People look at me to lead and to make decisions, stuff like that. Scoring high points, anything like that, shows how much of a leader I can be.”

Vogts’ first varsity game was a rush. But it wasn’t at Rock Creek. He started on Manhattan’s JV team and sat on the varsity bench before transferring to Rock Creek as a sophomore. Vogts likes the small-school atmosphere.

“Everyone’s friendly,” he said. “Everyone here wants to see you succeed and do your best and will help you any way they can. When I first walked in the door, people I didn’t know were coming up to me, showing me around the school. It was a warm feeling when I first walked in.”

Vogts credits former players Carson Becker and Bailey Vetter with helping him decide to go to Rock Creek over Hayden.

“They just told me about how great the school was and how everything was amazing out here, and I decided to stay close to Manhattan and come out to Rock Creek,” he said.

Head coach Jim Johnston knew right away Vogts would be a good addition.

“You could tell he was a very explosive player, could do a lot of things that other people can’t do, very impressive,” he said. “From the first practice on, you could tell that skill-wise he was very way beyond his years.”

He added that Vogts is unselfish with the ball.

“He’s the best passer I’ve ever coached,” Johnston said. “If you’re open, you better be ready because the ball’s coming.

“He’s just got such a good feel for the game. He understands what the other team’s trying to do to us defensively and offensively, and he’s one or two steps ahead, see what they’re doing on offense. He’ll get steals just because he sees what’s going to happen before it does happen. Offensively, he can score so many ways. He can hit outside shots, he can get the ball to the bucket … he does a lot of things really well.”

Vogts said he sees the court differently, and he thinks that is because of how much he’s played over the years.

“When I come up with the ball, I see sideline to sideline and mismatches to mismatches,” he said. “I can think about if I throw it there, what’s going to happen.”

Vogts knows he can’t do it by himself and said senior guard/forward Carson Zenger helped a lot by drawing defensive players away from him.

“That’s the only way we’re going to win,” he said. “I can’t go out and score 50 points and expect to win. I have to have my teammates behind my back and helping me through everything, defense and offense … my teammates are the reason why I score so many points.”

Vogts said his favorite part of the season was messing around with his teammates during practice, although he admits sometimes they were too unfocused.

“I’m going to miss all those seniors,” Vogts said. “They were just a bunch of joy. They were all so great to hang out with and mess around with and grow as a team with.”

Vogts plans to play in college, but he’s not sure where.

Maybe Cincinnati?

Oh yeah. Definitely,” Vogts said. “Any Division I school.”

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