|Marcus and two of his younger fans|
According to the NCAA, almost ALL NCAA athletes will go into a profession besides sports. Well this is an interview with one of those athletes who made a goal of playing the game he loved overseas, and succeeded in doing so. He has gone pro in sports, and is now making new goals that will undoubtedly also come to pass. From mentoring youth and affordable summer camps to teaching others about his faith Marcus Brown plans to make a difference in his community, using the game that has already done so much for him.
Without further adieu…here’s his story.
GOTB: What was your educational background?
Marcus: I signed with Jacksonville State University and then transferred from there to Georgia Perimeter. I signed early out of high school, my junior year. They were in the same conference as Georgia State at the time that I signed, and I took up computer science. My Dad builds computers so I wanted to do what he did. And when I went to JuCo, at Georgia Perimeter, the rule was at that time that after leaving a four year University that you’d have to graduate from the Junior College before being eligible to go play at another four year University. I changed my major to Business Management at Georgia Perimeter (GPC) and since you had to take 19 hours each mini-mester I had a crazy schedule. I’d have classes at six am on the Clarkston campus and then I would have to drive over to the Decatur Campus for basketball. Thankfully, God willing, I was able to graduate from GPC, and sign with Georgia State.
|Marcus(2) boxing out at Georgia State University|
GOTB: Why did you choose Jacksonville State when you first started out?
Marcus: I played well my junior year of high-school, basketball wise, and it was where I thought I could make an immediate impact. That was probably the biggest factor. Jacksonville wasn’t the biggest school, but I didn’t want to go anywhere and just sit. It was a mid-major school and so I would still be able to make the (NCAA) Tournament. Another big factor was that Coach Brandon Johnson, he was the one who recruited me, used to coach at Banneker High School back in the day. He was one of the assistant coaches at JSU, so he had kind of the edge on recruiting me. I knew him, and I could trust him more than I could some other coaches who recruited me. But then he ended up leaving that year, and that’s what led me to transfer to GPC.
GOTB: If you had it all to do all over again, would you do go the same route?
Marcus: I don’t know. I’ve thought about that a lot actually. Maybe I would have waited until my senior year to sign. I had a great senior year, and I played well, and we made it all the way to the State Final Four that year. I don’t know, I couldn’t call it, I signed early for security sake. If I got hurt and so forth then I would still have had a place to go to school. But things could have went either way had I decided to wait. I didn’t have any problems with my SAT’s and looking back it all still worked out anyway. God still had a plan, and I probably wouldn’t want to change anything anyway.
GOTB: You came to Georgia State under Perry?
Marcus: Yeah, Lefty was leaving out when I signed on.
GOTB: Did your goals change from when you started playing basketball at GSU to when you left?
Marcus: My goals when I graduated from Georgia State were to play professional basketball overseas. Even when I was at GPC, I would play with overseas guys and my game would get better and I learned a lot just from talking to those guys. And of course education was always at the top of my list, what with Georgia State being a top business school, and Business being my major. I did, at the time, want to be able to do some sort of business after I’m done playing ball.
|Marcus and his brothers David and Daniel|
GOTB: Well you’re in education now right?
Marcus: Right. When I went to Belgium my first year, I came back early and I went to visit my younger brothers’ school and they had a coach who told me to get a job as a substitute teacher so that when I’m at home I’m not spending money but making it. I wasn’t actually trying to work too much but teaching like that provided me with the flexibility I needed. I could work and schedule myself for work when I wanted to and I could turn down jobs when they didn’t suit my schedule. So I did that and I loved it. I loved the whole thing, the kids and everything. I sort of caught the bug. There are a lot of educators in my family actually. My uncle, who I work out with a lot now, played football in Cincinnati and he was always encouraging me to go into education as well. I even procrastinated a year or two, as far as starting the program, but eventually started on my Masters and worked on that while I was overseas playing basketball. I just finished my last course about a month or two ago; all I have left is my student teaching and then I’ll be done. So when I come back early I can still go to school systems and sub. That’s sort of how these camps got started, with me working with the kids. I see them in the gyms at the schools and in my community, and a lot of them know that I play basketball overseas. So it all kind of came together like that.
GOTB: So how do you envision incorporating your plans for a business in with your teaching?
Marcus: As far as the business is concerned, I want these camps to eventually be non-profit so that they will serve the community and the kids through basketball and mentoring. Even with the basketball camps it’s a 50/50 relationship between basketball and my Faith. My faith has always been a big thing to me, even at Georgia State I always teased and they called me Rev and what not. So I do want to talk to the kids about character development, about using the Word of God to direct their paths and to use wisdom. That was huge to me especially when I went overseas. I don’t see how anybody can play overseas without having a strong faith in God. I mean I had my family on speed text, and I would tell them, “I’m about to go into this game, pray for me”, or I’m about to deal with this situation.” There was a lot of free time and I could study the Word of God like we are all called to do. So I just want to do that. I just want to share how God has affected me and how He has helped me, in basketball and every other aspect of my life.
|In Saudi Arabia|
GOTB: Where all have you played?
Marcus: My passport is full. Literally, I have just the last page left. My first season I played in Belgium. Then I played in Brazil, Lebanon, Syria, I just got back from Saudi Arabia, and I actually played a season in Dubai with Trello Galloway. We played together my junior year here at Georgia State, and we played against each other there. So that was pretty nice.
GOTB: Which do you work harder at, College or Pro?
Marcus: I think the answer is a mixed bag. I’ve had success, I’ve travelled to different countries and I’ve been able to do a lot in my professional career, but you could always achieve more. I think I didn’t achieve more because of a lot of different factors, but the big one is that I don’t think I’ve always worked as hard as I needed to. And that’s one of the things that I stress to the kids at these camps; that my work ethic is not where it needs to be. I work hard, by no means am I lazy or anything, but there’s always more that you could do. And those things vary, because at the professional level more things are all on you. If you don’t go hard and you don’t have a coach who is going to force you into it, then you either get the job done or you go home. In college though, they have a set regiment, they have a set schedule and so that’s the biggest difference to me. In the pros, as far as the work ethic, it’s more on you.
GOTB: When did you start doing these basketball camps?
Marcus: Well this is my first year doing them on my own, but in previous years I worked with North Georgia Elite and the Gwinnett Majic. For the last couple of years I’ve helped Adrian Penland, who’s a teammate of mine in the WBA a Semi-Pro League I play and a lot of overseas guys play on in order to stay in shape during the summer. He has the similar thing going on with the North Georgia Elite camps, so I’ve just been working with them and the Gwinnett Majic camps. I’m just doing it on the South side of town. I’ll still be working with those camps, and will look to work together on a few other things with them as well.
GOTB: How important is Leadership is to you?
Marcus: I think leadership is very important to an individual whether in college or in the pros. In college I regret not being more vocal and not providing as much leadership as I wanted or as our team needed. From the professional level, I think it’s more important to lead by example. Especially overseas. When I’m there, sometimes I can’t even communicate with my own teammates, but then my coach will say “I want you to go hard in practice so that they will go hard in practice”. And that’s how I lead, by example. And that’s an excellent quality as a leader, to not only be able to speak the words, but to exhibit the quality in everything you do.
|Marcus in Dubai|
GOTB: Is there anything else you’d tell a sixteen year old wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Marcus: Use their wisdom. It’s the same thing I’m going to talk about at the camps, but listening and learn a lot from those around you and your elders. You know it’s like the book of Proverbs, basically. I feel that a lot of the problems that our youth face can be overcome if they use and seek wisdom in all situations. From dating, to school and so forth,…wisdom will guide you. You know, take a step back and look at the situation and make a decision based on a source that is reputable. For me that has always been the Word (The Bible), and I always take into account when I’m about to make a decision. “Listen to your father and mother” and so forth, if they would have a reputable source as their moral center and live and make decisions off of that, I think they’ll be fine. Another thing is to always take counsel. I am always doing that, even with these camps, I’m constantly calling folks up and asking them for suggestions on how to get this thing or that thing accomplished. That’s what the Bible says a wise man will do, seek counsel.
|Playing in Belgium|
GOTB: What is your definition of Success where your camps are concerned?
Marcus: For me, success is just walking in the vision that God has given me for these camps. It’s definitely something that I am passionate about. I am always thinking about it. I go to sleep, wake up and sometimes dream about these camps, so I know that It’s definitely from the Lord. Even the price of the camp is not that much, because the money is not the main focus. People I’ve gone to about it, and sponsors have all been like, “Forty-nine dollars, man that’s nothing!”. But it’s not about the money. My main goal is to share what I’ve learned with the kids, about wisdom, and things that I’ve learned in my career. From education to basketball, and I want there to be an environment where the kids can have fun playing the game and learning to walk wisely. The Lord has allowed the game of basketball to provide a lot for me. It has provided me with a living, an education and a means to travel and see the world. It has provided all of those things, and it is just one tool. So God can do a lot with just one tool, and that’s what I want to stress to the kids. To seek God, seek Him first and above all.
~In Loving Memory of Marcus Alexander Brown II~
~June 28, 1983 – February 27, 2012~
To help keep the camps Marcus started with his brothers Daniel and David Brown going, please visit their website and donate: http://proskillscamp.com/
To learn more about the:
North Georgia Elite – http://northgaelite.com/
or Gwinnett Majic