Markquis Now­ell play­ing ma­jor role in UALR’s re­build­ing ef­forts.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - CHRIS­TIAN BOUTWELL

Markquis Now­ell stood in an empty gym 90 min­utes be­fore his col­le­giate de­but and fired shot af­ter shot from the left side of the floor.

His pregame rou­tine be­fore the Univer­sity of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock’s 101-92 over­time thriller Thurs­day against South­east­ern Ok­la­homa State at the Jack Stephens Cen­ter in Lit­tle Rock is not un­usual for any player, es­pe­cially not for a true fresh­man be­fore his col­le­giate de­but.

A few hours later, the 5-8, 165-pound point guard and Brook­lyn, N.Y., na­tive would cap­ti­vate an arena full of peo­ple ea­ger to see the new ver­sion of the Tro­jans (1-0) un­der first-year Coach Dar­rell Walker.

He scored 34 points and handed out eight as­sists in his first col­lege game. His 34 points were the most ever by any Tro­jan — no mat­ter clas­si­fi­ca­tion — in­side the Jack Stephens Cen­ter.

“He was feel­ing it,” Walker said. “He re­ally put the team on his back when we needed it the most. He’s go­ing to be a spe­cial player.”

Now­ell hit a run­ning layup with one sec­ond re­main­ing to cat­a­pult the game into over­time. Now­ell scored 12 in UALR’s sec­ond-half come­back, and an­other 14 in over­time to seal the vic­tory. Three of those OT points were from the same left side of the floor where shots flew be­fore the game.

“It’s great,” Now­ell said. “It’s a bless­ing.”

So, who is Now­ell? He isn’t the tallest guy in any gym, and his 5-8 frame was one of his only detri­ments in re­cruit­ing, which helped Walker land Now­ell as one of his six new­bies for UALR.

Now­ell was rated a com­pos­ite three-star player by 247sports.com. He had at least nine other of­fers, in­clud­ing from Georgetown, Se­ton Hall, Min­nesota and Ford­ham in New York, per Now­ell’s re­cruit­ing pro­file on Ri­vals.com.

He scored 19.9 points per game as a ju­nior at Bishop Lough­lin Me­mo­rial High School in Brook­lyn, then av­er­aged 10.9 ppg dur­ing his se­nior sea­son at The Patrick School in Hill­side, N.J.

“Markquis may be 5-8, but he can flat out dis­trib­ute the ball as well as score,” Walker said via a news re­lease in May. “Again, he was re­cruited by a lot of big name uni­ver­si­ties, and he is re­ally some­thing spe­cial to see at 5-8. He can shoot it from deep, he can han­dle the ball, he’s quick and he’s a floor gen­eral.”

Months af­ter sign­ing his let­ter of in­tent with the Tro­jans in May, Now­ell in­tro­duced him­self as one of the faces of UALR’s re­build.

“You get anx­i­ety play­ing with new guys, new team­mates, new coach,” Now­ell said.

“We all say it’s the start of a new era, so we want to get win­ning back on the board. Coach is great. My team­mates are great. I’m pretty much lov­ing it here.”

Now­ell

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