Mark McCorkle fires more shots than the villains in your average summer blockbuster movie. The difference is, McCorkle’s shots find their target.
McCorkle’s shooting accuracy helped earn him the 2012 Forsyth County News All-County boys co-player of the year honor and an athletic scholarship at St. Andrews University, an NAIA program in Laurinburg, N.C.
McCorkle said he got serious about basketball after his junior year at South Forsyth. He didn’t like to miss shots and watch as players blew by him while he played defense. So, he worked to change that.
Six days a week, McCorkle spent five hours per day working on his game. He shot 500 free throws, 100 3-pointers, practiced ball handling drills and lifted weights.
"I knew I had to get better," McCorkle said. "I had to improve my jump shot and free throws. Free throws should be as automatic as a layup. People don’t like to take free throws seriously, but they can win or lose you a game."
McCorkle averaged 18 points per game, shot 40 percent from the three-point line and hit a jaw-dropping 98 percent from the free-throw line in his senior season.
McCorkle’s attitude is what every coach craves, former South Forsyth head coach Kevin Dankosky said.
"Nobody works as hard as Mark does," Dankosky said. "I’ve coached for 25 years and I’ve never seen someone put in as much work as he does, and I’ve even had someone in the NBA. He sets the bar for other players around him and he always wants to get better.
"St. Andrews is getting someone who is like the Energizer Bunny with the drive of a nuclear reactor."
Although McCorkle had offers to play basketball at other schools, St. Andrews’ head coach Andrew Brown made him feel like an important player instead of a jersey number, McCorkle said.
"I really feel like the coach wanted me," McCorkle said. "When he talked to me on the phone, he told me how much he wanted me to play on the team and that he wanted me to go ahead and sign with them."
The one thing McCorkle doesn’t like is that he will be 5 1/2 hours away from his family.
"I’m a huge family person," he said.
"My family has always been there to support me when I needed them. My parents have brought me all this way. They have already said that they plan on coming up to watch me play, though."
Even with McCorkle’s success, there is still room for improvement. He spends his time trying to improve his footwork with a trainer. He practices lateral and speed drills so he can stop quicker players.
"I used to just let people go to the basket if they beat me [off the dribble]," McCorkle said. "I’m working now so that it’s harder for them to beat me and if they do, I’ll be able to catch up with them."
The Energizer Bunny just keeps going and going.