DeJuan Marrero and his Bowman Academy teammates played four games in the Illinois team shootout in Champaign-Urbana last Sunday. Marrero led his team in scoring as a freshman, but he did little scoring in his first game Sunday.
"That's all right. We're just trying to get everybody to go in, trying to take it one step at a time on a regular basis. I was just trying to look for the open man."
Bowman struggled against an athletic Peoria Central squad, but Marrero explained his team had no practice time.
"Oh yeah, it was our first time back playing as a team. We're just getting back into the process. We had no practice time, just an open gym. That's it. We came back together for these games, and we need to get used to each other."
The three hour trip likely took its toll as well, although Marrero downplayed that variable.
"Oh yeah, we were tired. But we can't use that as an excuse. We've played four games in a day before."
The 6'-5" Marrero is highly athletic. There is debate as to his best position as he still needs work on some things. But there is sufficient talent to warrant a look at several positions.
"Some have me as a 4 or 5. I think I'm a 3 and possibly a 2. I can guard a 2, 3, 4, 5."
He listed his best attributes.
"Rebounding, going up and down the court and dribbling towards the basket."
Peoria Central's quick defenders stole the ball from Marrero on occasion, so his list of things he needs to work on was not surprising.
"I have a lot more to work on. My jump shot, dribbling skills, and trying to get in shape."
He will have plenty of opportunity to attain top shape. His school has open gym all summer, and he plays AAU ball.
"I play for the Spiece Indy Heat 15 and under. We've been playing good. We've only lost three games."
The Heat have a busy July upcoming.
"July 5th to 8th we're in a shootout, and after that we're either going to Chicago or Kentucky, but most likely it's going to be Kentucky. Then after that we're in Indianapolis for Best of the Midwest , and then we're going for a week down in Kansas."
Indiana, Purdue and Valparaiso have already offered Marrero a scholarship. He also has strong interest from several other top programs.
"Ohio State, Oregon, Miami, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Michigan, and Illinois of course."
He has visited Illinois twice now, and his interest level in the Illini is strong. Whatever school signs him must have a specific playing style.
"I really didn't grow up rooting for any school, but I like a run and gun team. I'm looking for that. I want to stay in the Midwest. I like it here."