MEN’S BASKETBALL: Marcus done for good

Danny Schoenbaechler

The waiting is finally over.

The career of Western’s much hyped All-American center Chris Marcus is over. Marcus injured his ankle 15 months ago, and still hasn’t recovered.

His story is roller-coaster with extreme highs, and devastating lows. However, his exit was unusually quiet.

It was so quiet that his own teammates didn’t know about it until after their 81-77 victory over Denver last night.

The 7-foot-1, 285-pounder arrived in Bowling Green as a lightly recruited, unpolished partial qualifier. He leaves as one of the most memorable and sojourned players in school history.

“I’m very, very hopeful that ultimately he gets past the injury,” Western coach Dennis Felton said. “And I’m very excited about his possibilities as a professional basketball player.”

Marcus sought medical advice from specialists in Alabama, California and Texas before making his decision. The doctors agreed that he needed to immediately stop playing and start an extended period of rest.

The injured bone remains inflamed and doctors are concerned with the overall health of the bone.

Marcus entered last season as one of the nation’s top players. He averaged 15.9 points while playing the first five games before his first surgery and then returned for the final ten contests. But he suffered severe pain throughout all 15.

He will be dropping all of his classes today, and head back to his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., where he’ll live with his parents.

Marcus declared himself eligible for the National Basketball Association draft last spring, but announced on May 31 that he withdrew his name from consideration.

“I feel very lucky to have coached him while he was here,” Felton said.

Western senior captain David Boyden said that Marcus’ absence will be obvious in more ways than just on the court.

“It’s sad, we’re going to miss seeing him not just on the court but on campus and in the dorms,” he said. “We’re going to have to remember the times we’ve shared in the past couple years, and he definitely will be missed. We really wish the best for him and hope he will recover fully.”

Marcus appeared in only four games this season compiling 12 points and 12 rebounds.

He finishes a mere 29th on Western’s all-time scoring list with 1,113 points, but he holds the school record with 214 career blocked shots.

The big guy had been projected as high as an early first round draft pick, but will now try to rehabilitate quick enough to show scouts that he still has what it takes to challenge NBA centers.

“For the last couple of years it’s been hard to say Western Kentucky without saying Chris Marcus,” Boyden said. “That’s a big burden and a big honor to have on his shoulders, but he did it well and played for this university with his heart and soul.”

Reach Danny Schoenbaechler at [email protected]