Spotlight Beginning To Shine Starks' Way

The point guard talent in the Mid Atlantic region of the country in 2010 is strong. From Kendall Marshall to Josh Selby, there are high level players. Markel Starks is making his case for inclusion in the conversation.

It's a topic we've broached before: 2010 point guards in the D.C.-Baltimore corridor. For the most part, Kendall Marshall, Josh Selby, Eric Atkins and Tyler Thornton are established names on both the high school and traveling team circuits. Each worthy of their reputations as they've solidified their standing at a young age.

However, we're hearing a newcomer may join the conversation. Markel Starks, a point guard of out North Bethesda's Georgetown Prep, is having the kind of year that makes one notice his talents.

"A lot of people feel like I'm having a good year," Starks said. "My personally, I feel like I need a lot (of work).

"Last year I came in at 5-10, 150. This year I'm 6-foot-1 and 165. I knew the load I would have to carry this year and with me growing that would help."

Starks is finding himself at the point guard position. He moonlighted at the spot while running with the D.C. Blue Devils and now under the tutelage of a former Hoya at Georgetown Prep, he's rounding out his game. Others have the rep and that's fine by him.

"I've always been the underdog, even when I was younger. When Kendall Marshall and I played with Team Maryland I was always the behind the scenes guy. At this point, I want to be the guy who goes after all the guys in front of me. They should have the spotlight but I want to be equal or better than them. I feel I can compete right with them.

"Kendall's an exceptional point guard, he's the Jason Kidd of our class. Tyler Thornton is the defensive stopper, he does what other guys can't do. His frame allows him to play bigger guys and he's good. Same thing with Josh Shelby, he's very aggressive. He's a typical Baltimore point guard."

"At this point, I'm worried about going 20-4; I don't want to lose any more games. This is a big year for me, I'm not going to lie to you".

Starks can play the underdog card all he wants and for now it'll work. Eventually, his play will command more attention. What's really interesting in regards to his story has been his approach to his sophomore season. He's refined his thinking.

"Last year people thought I came in big headed and I had to humble myself. I came in with hype and people thought I let that go to my head. As the year went on my confidence … well, I had to get groomed. It was a different environment."

As he averages 16 points and 9 assists, Starks feels like his season has been a "B+." When he's not playing he's in the gym getting up jumpers. Hard on himself by nature, Starks' support system keeps him honest.

"Coach Bryant, from time to time, I go in his office and we might watch game film. My dad and brother are hard on me. When I go home we sit down and watch tape. Even my mom is hard on me. My whole family wants me to do well."

Spend 10 minutes talking to Starks and you're convinced of his determination. Relishing the role of hunter (yes, he's trying to track down the guys with bigger reps), Starks is taking the steps to trim his game up to the highest level.

"I have a lot to work on and I'm never settling for anything. I want to become a better point guard overall. I'm doing a good job but I feel like I can do a lot better. My defense has picked up tremendously. I'd like to be more aggressive as a point guard; knowing when to score and when not to score. Being a better point guard is one of my goals. "

Programs are taking notice. Maryland has been present at a number of games. Georgetown's obviously in the mix.

"At this point, a lot of the college coaches are going based on what guys reputations are. They see guys that are ranked and they'll look at them before they look at me. I'm an area guy but my name's not out there. That's fine, I understand. I ‘m in the trenches right now and I'm fighting to my name out there."

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