One of the better combo forwards in the 2012 class is DeJuan Marrero. The Gary (IN) Bowman Academy standout had an excellent sophomore season leading his team to a state title. That strong play has led to Marrero getting a host of college attention.
It was never even a contest in the Indiana Class A championship. Marrero and Bowman Academy cruised. Bowman won the game 74-52, and Marrero led them with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Those numbers were almost right on his season averages of 17 points and 12 boards per contest.
"It was cool," said the 6-foot-5 and 200-pound Marrero of the state title. "It was a great experience to be a part of. It was a goal of ours and we were able to get it done."
Making the run even more special for Marrero was the way he played. Marrero improved quite a bit throughout the season, and he was happy with his play overall.
"I think I played tremendous this past year," said Marrero of the season. "I feel I got stronger and faster, and my jump shot was more consistent. Overall I just think it was a good season."
With those impressive numbers, Marrero has drawn the attention of several college coaches. He has been a popular target for some of the best in the Midwest, and that is reflected with his current school list.
"I've been hearing a lot from Ohio State, Kentucky, Indiana, Purdue, Marquette, Michigan, Cincinnati, and Illinois," said Marrero. "That is my current list right now."
During the season, Marrero's high school team played a regular season game at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois. The Fighting Illini have been on Marrero for a while, and that game, to go along with his relationship with the Illinois coaches has him high on the Illini.
"Coach Jay Price and Bruce Weber are two great guys," said Marrero. "Whenever I go down there they treat me like I am already committed. They take care of you, and the fans are great. I just really enjoy the fans down there."
Another school that Marrero is familiar with is Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been very active in recruiting him, and Marrero has reciprocated the interest with several unofficial visits.
"Coach (Brandon) Miller is a cool dude," said Marrero of the Buckeyes. "I enjoyed being down there when I visited. He is like family to me. Their fans are great as well. Coach Miller and Coach (Thad) Matta are two great guys. Coach Matta tells me if I go to Ohio State, I will always wake up happy, and I really took that to heart."
The love from the Big Ten doesn't end there for Marrero. The home state Indiana Hoosiers and Purdue Boilermakers have also made him a priority.
"It is cool," explained Marrero of hearing from the two in-state schools. "I know they are two big rival schools, and knowing I have Indiana and Purdue shows me that my hard work has paid off. It is great to have two great schools recruiting me."
While Marrero already has significant interest, he knows that he has improvements to make. One of those is becoming more of a pure small forward. Now that he is with Spiece Indy Heat, Marrero will have an opportunity to spend a lot of time on the wing.
"Now that I am not with the school team I don't have to play the five," commented Marrero. "I can play my normal position which is the three. I am just getting to work on my jump shot now during games to get ready for the future."
One thing is for sure, Marrero will have a chance to prove his worth against the best. He will be playing up with the 17 and under squad all summer long.
"It is an honor playing up," said Marrero. "Being able to play on the same team with Marquis Teague and going against the other top players in the country is a blessing. I can get noticed more and get more exposure."
While Marrero is focused on getting better, he does know that picking the right college is important. Currently Marrero isn't close to a college decision, but he knows the factors that will go into play.
"Academics are the most important thing," said Marrero. "After that I am looking for a run and gun type of offense."