For Heritage High School senior Marcus Wallace, the benefits of extreme focus are easily seen in his outstanding success on the basketball court. First picking up a basketball at the age of seven, Marcus never wavered from the sport. “I only played basketball,” Marcus said. “I never did anything else.” Inspired by his father, who played for Eastern Oregon University, and his grandfather, who played for Montana State University, Marcus gave the sport his all from the beginning. It also helped that Marcus’ father coached him throughout his childhood career and into high school.
Right away Marcus was placed in the point guard position where he has thrived ever since. “As a point guard my responsibilities are to be a leader and to make sure that during the game all of the other players know what to do and which plays to run,” Marcus said. “I have to work hard and play hard.” Marcus’ skills are needed on both offense and defense, but his preference is the prior. “I’m a scoring point guard, and I need to do my best to sink shots in order to bring my team to a victory.”
Marcus had no hesitation in regards to high school level basketball. He tried out his freshman year and became a member of the JV team, followed by advancement onto varsity his sophomore year where he has continued to excel. Last year the Heritage boys placed second in the league, progressing on to NCS where they were victorious over Amador Valley but eventually lost to De La Salle in the second round. Currently competing in this year’s season, Marcus believes that Freedom is their toughest league competitor. “It’s always a competitive game,” Marcus said. “They’re really good, but I think we’re a better team than we were last year, so it should be a good game.”
High school basketball season keeps Marcus busy with games twice a week and practices on the other days, including Saturday. When he’s not competing or practicing, Marcus is typically at the gym putting in extra work. Once Heritage wraps up their season, AAU basketball occupies the remainder of his year. The team’s tournaments take Marcus as far as Las Vegas, L.A., Fresno, and Oakland. “I consider us one of the best teams in the Bay Area,” Marcus said. “Most of the players on the team are the best players in the BVAL.” Despite the non-stop schedule that he is required to maintain, Marcus never tires of the sport. “It’s one of those things that I love to do,” Marcus said. As for the responsibility that comes with his position on the court, “I like the challenge. I think I’m a natural leader; I just don’t think twice about it.”
All of his hard work has paid off for Marcus, earning quite a list of awards and recognition. Last year he was 2nd Team All-League for the BVAL, and so far this year Marcus has had a huge impact on Heritage’s success in pre-season tournaments. The first tournament named Marcus the MVP, scoring 32 points in the first game. The second tournament also earned Marcus the title of MVP, scoring 23 points in the first game and 25 points in the second game. In the third tournament Marcus averaged 21 points over four games and was awarded a spot on the All-Tournament team. “As a player, Marcus competes with so much heart and desire,” said Heritage Athletic Director, Pat Cruickshank. “He is a tremendous young man, very respectful, hardworking, and a pleasure to coach.”
Of course academic achievement is also a priority to Marcus, trying to focus equally on school and basketball. His first semester GPA was a 3.5, and his goal is to get that number up even higher. “I’d say my hardest class right now is Anatomy and Physiology,” Marcus said. “It is actually pretty interesting.” In regards to his academic future, Marcus has yet to commit to any particular university. “I’m still waiting to hear back from some colleges to make a final decision. I applied to quite a few, but I would prefer to attend either California State University Sonoma or California State University East Bay.” Marcus is contemplating a focus on business management and marketing.
As for playing college ball, Marcus said he would love to if given the chance. However, his primary focus is furthering his education. “If playing professionally happens, that’d be awesome,” Marcus said. “Regardless of what ultimately takes place, I just want to thank my coaches for giving me the opportunity to improve and for taking the time to help me be a better player, as well as my parents for always being there.”