DeJuan Marrero is a 6'-5" forward from Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary, Indiana. He is a versatile player who does whatever it takes to help his team win. He was interviewed after helping his Spiece Indy Heat AAU team win a hard-fought game in the Bill Hensley Memorial Run n' Slam AAU Tournament last weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
"It was good competition today. We played Team Philly. They had a lot of great players, but so did we. The better team came out on top."
Marrero played outstanding defense in that game, battling for every possession. Play became extremely physical at times.
"Yes it was. On the offensive side, I didn't really score like I wanted to. So I tried to concentrate on different aspects of the game. Oh yeah, that was probably the key in the game, playing defensively at the four."
Marrero likes playing inside, but he was dwarfed by some teams. Still, he found ways to crash the glass for rebounds. And he flashed his post-up ability by getting his shot off in traffic on a consistent basis. The Heat eventually lost to a tall and talented Meanstreets team in a close matchup. Missing their top guard may have been the reason.
"We're doing good. Marquis Teague isn't here, he's at prom. So we're just trying to take this game by game."
Bowman lost nine seniors to graduation, so Marrero will be a marked man next year. His responsibilities will be magnified.
"Yes they are. I'm just trying to get better to get ready for next year."
He says he wants to improve his outside shot and ball handling.
"I've been working on my jumpshot, trying to get better at that. And bringing up the ball."
Illinois coach Bruce Weber continues to make Marrero a priority.
"Recruiting is going good. Coach Weber came to the gym last month. He talked to me, said he was checking in on me, watching me work out. He just said to keep working hard and I'll get better."
What schools are at the top of his list at this time?
"Illinois, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Xavier and Florida."
The intelligent and personable Marrero is in no hurry to make a college decision.
"I'm planning to wait until my senior year."