Former St. John’s Star Has New Goals After Retirement


Torch Photo/Amanda Negretti

Brendan Myers, Sports Editor

Marcus Hatten doesn’t plan to take it easy after announcing his retirement from professional basketball after almost 15 seasons earlier this month.

Physically, he believes he was ready to play another three full seasons. He averaged more than nine points and over four assists this past season for Mitteldeutscher BC in Germany’s Bundesliga.

Mentally, Hatten had other plans in mind.

“My purpose was different,” Hatten said in a recent phone interview with the Torch. “I wanted to get out and help the youth.”

As far as what he has in mind for helping the newest generation of basketball players, Hatten has a wide variety of plans. Off the court, the Baltimore native wants to educate players about financial literacy and what it means to be a professional.

On the court, Hatten sees it more important than ever to stress the fundamentals.

“Naturally, this generation is more talented than past generations,” Hatten said.

However, he believes that watching and studying the NBA game isn’t the best way for players to understand playing basketball in a manner that Hatten describes as, “the right way.”

“In the NBA, the best player gets the ball, like LeBron [James], and everyone else watches while he takes a shot,” Hatten said.

Even in the later stages of his playing career, Hatten got in touch with the younger generation of players. He said that as younger players started coming over to Europe, some would introduce themselves and tell Hatten that they grew up watching him star at St. John’s.

Hatten found himself at a strange place in 2003 when he found himself as an undrafted free agent.

“I made up my mind at 13 years old that I was going to be a professional basketball player, so I was at a crossroads when it didn’t happen,” he said.

Later that year, he found himself playing in Poland for Stal Ostrow Wielkopowski. Without much activity in Poland, the then-23 year old Hatten found himself immersed in a new culture after moving to La Palma to compete in Spain’s Liga EBA.

“It was a culture shock at first, you’re going into foreign territory,” Hatten said about the immediate transition to playing abroad. He said something as trivial as eating habits are thrown off during the transition.

“The first three years of my career, I would just get my check and then go home,” Hatten said.

As Hatten began to get older, he found himself diving into the history and the culture of the countries he was plying his trade in.

When asked what his favorite country to play in was, Hatten responded “Greece” with almost no hesitation.

“I became knowledgeable about their history and I was blown away by the mystique of it all,” Hatten said. “You go to Athens, the Parthenon and stuff like that, you can feel 1,000 years’ worth of history.”

Understanding the history and learning the culture of countries around the world is what Hatten would stress to players who simply come overseas to collect a check and then return home.

“Not too many get this opportunity—living in many different countries for 8-9 months at a time,” he said. Hatten’s overseas career took him quite literally, all around the world. In addition to Germany, Poland, Spain and Greece, Hatten made stops in some of Europe’s most competitive leagues in Italy, Israel, Romania and Belgium. Hatten also played part of the 2005 season in Venezuela.

As far as his alma mater, Hatten, like many St. John’s alumni, is excited about where the program is right now entering Head Coach Chris Mullin’s fourth season at the helm.

“The recruiting is unbelievable right now,” Hatten said, giving credit to Assistant Coach Matt Abdelmassih.

In addition to his immediate plans to help out the younger generations, Hatten has made it clear that he would love to join the St. John’s staff to help out with recruiting and mentoring young guards.

“I’m a realist, I know the opportunity isn’t there right now,” Hatten said. “But when the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.”