by Kent Sterling
When Jeff Rabjohns of peegs.com tweeted that high school basketball player Marvin Clark will announce his decision tomorrow at 10:30a to attend either Indiana, Kansas State, Michigan State, or Seton Hall, my first question was, “Who is Marvin Clark?”
I found the measurements, standard bio, and a couple of highlight videos that showed a well-developed 6’7″, 225 lbs. forward from near Kansas City with a very smooth left-handed shot. Then, I dug a little deeper and found out what kind of a kid he is.
A 20-minute documentary was produced that showed Marvin as an open and honest kid dealt a series of challenges that finally led to opportunity. After I watched it, I began to hope that Marvin would pick Indiana as the place to continue his education and basketball career.
I want Marvin to choose Indiana not because he can help the Hoosiers win, but because Marvin Clark should be the precise type of kid Indiana works to find and help live a fulfilling life.
Whether Marvin can play at the Big Ten level is something he’s going to have to prove over time, but that he knows how to overcome adversity while maintaining his decency and humanity is beyond question.
During this era when the the discussion of big time athletics centers around whether the opportunity to receive an education is enough to compensate an athlete for the time and effort invested in entertaining fans and making bundles of cash for schools, coaches, and media, Marvin can become exactly the kind of kid that makes a school and its alums proud.
College basketball should be about much more than wins and losses. It should allow a good kid who has known homelessness and despair find a needed boost in exchange for the hard work to make the most of his on-court talent.
Through its Excellence Academy, Indiana has shown a yearning to use its facilities and staff to take immature freshmen to help them become functional adults regardless of their sport in the four years they spend in Bloomington. Marvin Clark appears to be the kind of kid that those employed at Indiana – from athletic director Fred Glass to the academic advisors can point to with pride for the rest of their lives as someone they were able to help.
So watch the documentary, and tell me you won’t be rooting for this kid regardless of his choice.