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Marbury latest member of Tech point guard tradition


By Simit Shah
Drives a Landcruiser also

Over the past four years, Yellow Jacket basketball fans have grown accustomed to seeing the number three streaking up and down the court, pulling up for the three pointers, and dishing out assists. Travis Best may have moved on to the NBA, but don't worry, there's a new point guard in town--Stephon Marbury.

The freshman phenom out of Brooklyn comes to Tech as one of the most decorated high school players in history. Named player of the year by Gatorade and Parade magazine, Marbury was named to virtually every high school all-America team his senior year. He was also ranked as one of the top five players in the nation by the major recruiting services.

Expectations are high for the 6-foot-2 point guard, but Coach

Bobby Cremins downplayed the fact that Marbury will be counted on heavily this season.

The truth is that Marbury is needed to help revive a basketball

program that has struggled in the past few years.

"I don't feel any pressure at all, because I'm playing for myself. I'm going to go out and play as hard as I can and try to lead the team and do what Travis did," Marbury said.

Marbury seems to handle pressure well, because he's faced it ever since he stepped on the court for the first time. Marbury's three older brothers all played Division I basketball, but have yet to achieve the NBA dream.

A recruiting magazine tabbed Marbury as the best sixth-grader in the country in 1988. Between being heralded as one the greatest and attempting to uphold family tradition, Marbury conceivably endured more attention than any other high school athlete in history.

"I got used to it after my freshman year [in high school]. It wasn't nothing after that," he remarked.

As a result of the accolades and attention, Marbury was one of the most sought after players in the nation last year. Each step and visit was chronicled and closely watched as Marbury narrowed his choices last spring. Ultimately it was Marbury's visit to Georgia Tech that swayed the playmaker.

"If I had never made a visit, I would have never come here. The situation was so right. There wasn't much [Cremins] had to say, because if you couldn't see it was a great opportunity, you don't need to be playing basketball.

There was no point guard, one of the best schools in the country academically and basketball. Some of the greatest point guards--Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, Travis Best--all went here," Marbury continued.

It all seems trite now, but Marbury's journey to Tech took some wild turns before things were signed, sealed, and delivered, literally.

After Marbury committed verbally, rumors began to swirl about Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian courting the standout guard. ("I don't even know where Fresno State is," Marbury later said.)

The rumors quickly snowballed as Marbury's letter of intent never got mailed to Tech. Marbury, playing in a French basketball tournament at the time, finally cleared everything up when he arrived back home.

Then the NCAA came into the picture inquiring about a car Marbury received as a gift. After being cleared by the governing body of college athletics, the freshman sensation was ready to finally don a Yellow Jacket jersey.

"Nobody knows how that felt. It was a real nag. The phone was constantly ringing. You want to speak to everyone, but you can't. I know some of the things that were said were totally false," Marbury said.

Another controversy surrounding Marbury was his statement about heading to the NBA early. He was quick to set the record straight.

"I said I wanted to go pro, God willing. Maybe it's for me to go pro my first year, second year, third year, or fourth year. It might take five years. God only knows what might happen. I might blow my knee out. However long it takes, I'm going to do it. If I'm ready to go next year, I'll go.

Everyone knows Marbury is going to be a star, but what about the team's performance?

"I'm here to win," Marbury said smiling.

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Copyright © 1995 by Stephanie L. Goff, Editor and by the Student Publications Board