Hampton grad Ionadi impresses with GPA, 3-point shooting at Case Western

Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 11:44 PM

Many remember Antonio Ionadi as the sharpshooting guard who helped lead Hampton to its WPIAL Class 5A finals appearance in 2017.

The junior at Case Western still sports a great shot, but defense has helped him become a more complete player. He was recently named CoSIDA Academic-All District for the Spartans.

“There’s games this year where I’ve had to guard the team’s best player,” he said. “In high school, I don’t think I was known as being a good defender. Or even my first two years in college. But it’s something I’m priding myself on this year, even if I’m not having a good offensive game.”

The CoSIDA Academic honor, one Ionadi admits he didn’t know much about before being named as a winner, is a special one.

He is the first Case Western men’s basketball player since 2013-14 to receive the award, and only one of six named to the All-District 7 squad, which consists of all Division III programs in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

It also automatically enters him on the ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, to be announced March 11.

“It really gave me a great sense of accomplishment” said Ionadi, an accounting major who carries a 3.93 cumulative GPA. “I didn’t even know it was a thing or I was even up for it … but it wouldn’t be the same without my teammates, coaches and professors helping me in the classroom. I have a lot of people to thank for it.”

Ionadi is humble off the court but lethal behind the arc — and long-range shooting has always been his specialty.

He is second in the conference in 3-point percentage (43.7%) and his 62 3-pointers are the fourth most in a season in program history.

He has the seventh-most all-time for Case Western and surely will move up in the record books with another season to play.

His 11.6 points per game have helped the Spartans surge in February. His 5-for-8 performance beyond the arc led his team to an 84-76 upset over No. 25 Brandeis, while he dished out three assists in an even bigger upset, 83-78 over No. 8 Emory on senior night.

“We have such great seniors,” he said. “It was awesome to beat a top 10 team on senior day for them.”

Including the two upsets against ranked opponents, the Spartans (13-11, 6-7) were 5-2 in February but couldn’t overcome a five-game losing streak to end January, which put them out of playoff contention.

“I think I had a couple nice games in a row, but last weekend, I had a couple rough ones,” Ionadi said. “We got the wins, and that’s what matters. I think it’s one of those things over the course of the season you get more comfortable with a group of guys”

Ionadi will spend his summer in Charlotte working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. His roommate will be sophomore Daniel Weiss, a sophomore forward at conference rival Carnegie Mellon.

“It’ll be a good time,” Ionadi said. “Hopefully, we can find a league to play in and find some time to sharpen our skills and get some runs in.”


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