Following His Heart

Brendan Myers, Sports Editor

For Marcellus Earlington, the choice wasn’t even close.
Yes, he was a three-star defensive end for one of New Jersey’s football powerhouses, Don Bosco Prep. He racked up close to 15 major Division I offers, from the likes of last year’s runner up University of Georgia, according to the recruiting website 24/7 Sports.
He was also a two-time all-state basketball player that helped lead the Ironmen to a 58-5 record over his final two seasons and back-to-back New Jersey state championships.
Basketball ultimately won out when Earlington decided to commit to St. John’s in April, and he isn’t looking back.
“I just followed my heart,” Earlington said. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was two.”
As much as Earlington loved basketball, Earlington admits that the football offers were something that he had to take seriously.
“I listened to both sides, and I was really all ears,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I felt comfortable with my decision and the discussions I had.”
Once Earlington closed the door on the gridiron, his choice of where to play college basketball proved to be another straightforward decision.
“Matt [Abdelmassih] talked to me a lot, and I really liked the coaching staff,” Earlington said.
He said that he occasionally misses playing football, which he began playing in eighth grade. But overall, there is some sense of regret.
“I love basketball, I grew up with a ball in my hand,” Earlington said.
Before speaking with Earlington and hearing his passion for basketball, the decision might appear a puzzling one on the surface. Despite his success on the field, Earlington says he was never pressured to stick with football.
“My coaches were really supportive of the decisions,” he said.  
He has a knack for using his frame to seal defenders off on the block with an uncanny ability to finish through contact.
While he seems comfortable in the low post, calling Earlington one-dimensional would be a bold-faced lie.
Officially listed at 6-foot-6-inches, Earlington’s just as comfortable with his back to the basket as he is taking his man in isolation. Earlington also possesses the opportunity to shoot the three ball at an efficient rate. The Stony Point, N.Y. native is already starting to earn some high praise from his teammates.
“Marcellus is a strong player who really reminds our team of Draymond [Green] a little bit as far as his rebounding ability and the way he uses his body,” redshirt senior Marvin Clark II said.
Earlington’s strong frame and physical playing style will certainly be a strong asset to have off the bench.
“Our three freshman, they’ve shown and grown a lot this offseason,” Clark II said. “Those are guys that we expect to have big impacts for us.”
Earlington comes to Queens already accustomed to playing against some of the highest competition in the game. During his senior year, the Ironmen had matchups with some of New Jersey’s elite recruits, including current LSU Tiger Naz Reid and Kentucky-bound senior Kahlil Whitney.
The one thing Marcellus Earlington wants to make clear is that he is a basketball player and he belongs on the court, not on  the gridiron.