2014 Ottawa native Marial Shayok recently announced via his personal twitter account that next fall he plans on taking his talents to Milwaukee Wisconsin to embark on his collegiate career with the Marquette Golden Eagles.
You name it Shayok has been there… done that!
NBA sponsored camps, check!
FIBA’s? FIBA U17 world championships, he helped lead Canada to a 5th place finish, averaging an impressive 12 points and 6 rebounds on a balanced Canadian team. Check!
AAU success? Shayok continued to improve his stock over that summer, and caught the attention of a couple big names school when he more than held his own against 2014 guard Rashad Vaughn playing with CIA Bounce at the Boo Williams Nike EYBL event. Check!
Has Super Marial rubbed shoulders with some of Americas stiffest HS competition? Check that off too. Shayok helped lead Blair HS to the finals of the New Jersey Prep A tournament, scoring 21 points in the team’s 64-45 semifinal win over Lawrenceville Academy. Blair fell in the title game to St. Benedict’s Prep, which at the time featured Tyler Ennis (now a freshman at Syracuse) and Isaiah Briscoe (one of the top players in the 2015 class)
His high school head coach can even testify.
“Last year they (St.Benedicts) lost in a difficult HS nat’l championship at the buzzer and they were as good of a high school team at a talent standpoint last year as we’ve played against in my 15 years @ Blair.” Blair Head coach Joe Montegna elaborated,
“Marial is one of the most versatile and efficient guards in American high school basketball today… After visiting UVA, Providence and Marquette, Marial had to make a very difficult decision between three very fine schools and basketball programs. I am not sure he could have made a bad decision. Our coaching staff and his teammates are very happy for him and ready to get on with the season without any recruiting distractions.” Said Montegna.
Despite several signature moments spread out across special stages in both grassroots and prep basketball, the buzz on Shayok seemed to have cooled off from last summer. Montegna calls the humble and hungry Canadian “underrated’. As Shayok’s sweepstakes came down to the wire Montegna spoke about his prep stars lack of recognition reflected by media recruit rankings south of the border.
Charlie V & Loul Deng attended Blair Academy
“Not enough people really take into the consideration the mental makeup of a guy and how competitive he is and what he’s willing to do to win. This is one of the most competitive, tough kids I’ve ever been around…I’ve had 3 NBA guys, 30+ division 1 scholarship guys and I mean the kids makeup is of a champion, I think that’s where he gets a little underrated” Montegna told HHC.
Shayok who averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists this past season at Blair held offers from Boston College, Seton Hall, Villanova, Kansas State, Georgia, Texas A&M and even interest from Illinois, Texas, UConn, Northwestern, Michigan and Duke, among others Mantegna said before narrowing his choices to Marquette, Providence and Virginia.
“He hasn’t really played the politics game, he didn’t do a whole lot with [CIA] Bounce this summer, he didn’t choose to play with Team Canada because he was little nicked up and he’s been a kid that instead of winning the twitter wars and instead of trying to go to every single event that will get him out there on the internet he’s been here working on his game and he was home in Ottawa this summer working on his game… he’s a kid that’s been putting the hours in and he’s not really trying to chase the rankings and all that.” explained his coach.
Marial Shayok of Blair Academy has committed to play for Marquette University.
Coach Montegna wouldn’t be surprised if that by the time Shayok is a sophomore in college, if Marial’s not better then tons of colleagues that are ranked ahead of him at the moment.
“He’s a kid that is going to continue to get better, out compete and out work people in practice. That is gonna show dividends at Blair this year and continue to show dividends. People are recruiting him to be a part of their high major programs as a freshman and I think he will be” Montegna mentioned.
Wasting no time flashing his development during a recent off season tourney, Coach Montegna said Shayok perhaps played some of his best basketball since arriving in Blairstown, NJ this summer,
“In July we won a 64 team national summer tournament and he was unbelievable the best I’ve ever seen him play.”
Buzz Williams may be be one of the more under appreciated coaches in all of college basketball. In turn, The Marquette Golden Eagles are possibly the most always under-the-radar programs in the entire nation. Like the student athlete Shayok, Williams and essentially everything related to Marquette hoops is unappreciated.
Only Duke spends more than Marquette each season on the sport. And that is because Coach K is the most successful coach in the history of the game, earns about $4.7 million a year.
But Marquette spends more per scholarship basketball athlete than any school in America. Per year, Marquette invests about $286,000 in each of its basketball players.
The Golden Eagles practice facility, the Al McGuire Center, is among the finest in the country. The team plays in an NBA facility and, as a member of the new Big East, is about to reap the benefits of a long-term Fox TV contract that will pay the conference $500 million.
Head coach Buzz Williams, at 40, is also one of the most interesting self made coaches in a profession in which he takes a backseat to only a select few.
Although he did not play college basketball and attended a junior college, Williams in five years has built Marquette into an elite program. It is one of only four schools – the others are Florida, Kansas and Ohio State – to have made the Sweet 16 in each of the past three seasons.
Marquette’s academic standards are high and the school cannot be moved away from Midwestern winters, but Williams, given some of the challenges, has managed to recruit and develop players as well as any coach in the country and that bodes well for one of our nation capital’s top basketball talents.
Former Marquette players under Buzz Williams like Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal, Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom have all had varying degrees of success in the NBA, but many of them defied their initial pro expectations to forge an identity on their NBA team.
Some teams preach their culture and have a different identity every single season, or quickly lose focus of their culture within a season and unravel. But after five consecutive NCAA Tournament bids and multiple former players defying initial NBA expectations, it’s no doubt that Buzz Williams culture for Marquette men’s basketball is working.
Marquettes culture will be a big reason and now responsible for Shayoks continued success at the college level. With Blair Academy’s Head Coach Joe Montegna‘s body of work in producing d1 players it’s not far fetched Shayok could be prepared to contribute immediately as a freshman. Something Shayok feels is feasible,
“Yes, especially since my game is very versatile.. I can play multiple positions but definitely coming in I hope to play a lot of minutes as a freshman…im working on all aspects of my game to produce at the next level.” Marial mentioned during a media conference call the following morning.
Shayok explained his excitement to move forward,
“Feels great. Now I can focus on school and Blair. Just get better every day, I’m really excited about my decision, I can’t wait” a ecstatic Shayok shared.
Couretsy of Blair Academy, Marial was made available via a media conference call. So on behalf of the Canadian basketball family HHC took advantage of the opportunity to toss it up with Shayok. He began high school at St. Patrick’s in Ottawa, then spent the past couple of years at Blair Academy in New Jersey and is scheduled to graduate next spring.
Experience on Prep in Blairstown NJ?: -“really enjoyed the last past two years, I wouldn’t pick a different school. My game got a lot better. I feel that most players going across the border is good to an extent, just don’t rush it but I really feel that I picked a great school”
Any position preferred?: “Not really, I’m very versatile…I can play anywhere. playing basketball is it for me”
Relationship with Marquette coach Jamie McNielly? He was coaching me when I was 15 years old, so we built a relationship over the years. I knew if I went there he’d be sorta there to look over me and have my back… he was a big part too.
Raptors fan? Or favourite players growing up? I’m always been repping the Raptors, really hope they do well each year…im Raptors fan… I really liked Vince Carter obviously just really liked his game. I also liked Penny Hardaway and Michael Jordan.
Playing style reputation… Team Canada desire? Im gonna play hard, get better each year and play to win… Im honoured to play for my country and im gonna play hard and represent them well on and off the court.
Any shout outs back home? All my friends back home at St.Pats and Coach Matt hit me up there all really excited and proud of me and it’s an honour to do them proud.
His older brother, Shayok Shayok, recently announced a transfer to the University of Missouri-Kansas City after spending two years on the basketball team at Bradley University in Illinois. Their sister, Yar Shayok, played for the University of Detroit-Mercy before graduating last spring.