Big Man in a Small Town
Dec. 14, 2005
By Hilary Gainer
Many people might wonder how someone from Chicago could end up in Oxford, Mississippi. They might also wonder how he could end up playing basketball in the SEC.
Marquis Young is one of those players who has made the journey South to play ball for the Rebels. He says it was an easy decision to come to Oxford ... he had a familiar face waiting. In high school, Marquis played for Ole Miss assistant coach Tracy Dildy's younger cousin, Darryl Dildy, and had a good relationship with the family.
"It's just a tradition," says Young of playing for the Dildys.
Young notes that is a big part of why he is in Oxford. "I came to Ole Miss because of Coach Dildy. We're very close."
The 6-foot-9, 300-pound center is all business during the game, but at any given moment at practice, he can be the total opposite. The prototypical "team clown", Young is known for being able to make anyone on the team break into smile.
"He makes me laugh everyday," says Rebel head coach Rod Barnes.
Young's Illinois home is an almost nine hour drive from Oxford. But he says Mississippi is a world away from his hometown.
"The biggest difference is that the city moves at a faster pace," says Young. "In the country, your day doesn't go by so fast."
However, Young is glad he made the decision to move to the slower pace of Oxford, saying "it's real peaceful down hear. I like it."
Young has set some personal goals for himself this season as well as goals for the team.
"Personally, I want to improve and get as much playing time as possible," he says. "As for the team, I want us to make the NCAA Tournament and win the SEC."
Not only is it difficult to move away from home, the class workload can add plenty of stress to any college student's life. When you are a student-athlete, that stress is doubled. Young has a theory on how to stay on top of your game and your studies.
"You have to be responsible," he says. "You have to stay consistent. And if you do that, you're going to come out on top."
Barnes seems to think that Young has made the adjustment well too.
"He has done an awesome job of coming here and accepting the work and making the adjustment from high school, socially and academically."
Young is looking forward to a successful season. "We work hard in the gym everyday. Coach Barnes is doing great things with us, and we are continuing to improve."
Young's cheerful demeanor had made him a team favorite. When asked about Young, all Coach Barnes had to say is, "he's my man."
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