A legacy continues

Markese McGuire leads Memorial into Elkhart Sectional.
Posted on Feb. 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 24, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.

ELKHART — For a while, the chants rang out from the home student section earlier this winter at Concord's McCuen Gym every time Memorial's Markese McGuire touched the basketball.

“Your mom's better! ... Your mom's better!”

There's any number of ways the chants could've been taken.

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If the history-appreciating fans meant that McGuire's mom is better than their own moms — actually an about-face on what all loyal sons once claimed on the playground — well, yeah, that's a fairly safe bet.

After all, Kim (Barrier) McGuire is still the only Indiana Mr. or Miss Basketball that Elkhart County has ever produced.

If the fans meant that she was better in her own time relative to the particular competition she faced, well — duh. Again, Miss Basketball, 1986.

On the other hand, if they meant she's better right now — which is, of course, what they did mean — well, forget it.

Markese McGuire, the Crimson Chargers' senior standout, first beat his mom when he was in sixth grade, and the gap has consistently widened ever since then.

But how did Markese himself take the chants?

“I really didn't hear it,” he insisted this past week as his final postseason as a high school player neared. “I kind of block everything out, but if I had (heard it), I wouldn't have minded. It's just something to try to throw me off. I think it's kind of funny.”

“I didn't realize what they were saying,” Kim echoed, “until (another fan) came running down to me. I was like, 'Wow. OK.'”

Markese grew up often accompanying his mom to gyms, such as when she would play in adult leagues, or when she was an assistant for 12 years at alma mater Jimtown to Gene Johnson, one of her own basketball mentors.

“I don't remember it for sure, but watching her play, that's probably where I started getting love for the game and started working at it,” Markese said. “She says I used to be on the bench, quiet and watching and observing. And whenever she was coaching practices, I'd get in the gym and shoot some.”

Markese credits his mom as “the one who helped me (develop) my shooting form,” adding that “we still work together whenever we get a chance.”

He also says “she didn't really force me to play.”

That may be true, but Kim also acknowledges long ago hoping deep down inside that Markese and his younger brother — Mikal, a sophomore on the junior varsity at Memorial — would want to play basketball.

“Markese loves the game like I did, and he's put in the time,” Kim said. “It's a little harder to get gym time than when I was in school. I could go whenever I wanted as long as there was a custodian around.”

Markese — a 2012 All-Area first-teamer and an Illinois of Chicago signee who leads the Chargers this season in scoring (23.1), rebounding (5.0), assists (2.8) and steals (1.7) — also ranks third on Memorial's all-time scoring chart with 1,221 points.

He needs just eight in the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional — the Chargers open Tuesday, Feb. 26 against Goshen — to pass Daimon Beathea for the second spot.

Kim, meanwhile, is still the all-time top scorer in Elkhart County girls history with 1,827 points. She was team MVP all four years at Jimtown, averaged 30 points her senior season (cracking 50 twice), set 48 school records, led the program to its first two conference titles and first sectional crown, and earned All-American honors.

She received a basketball scholarship to Alabama — where she met her husband of now 21 years, Tony, while playing basketball at a rec center — before finishing her collegiate career at Western Michigan.

Though both prolific scorers, Kim says differences between her and Markese abound as well.

“He's more athletic than I ever was,” Kim said. “I had to compensate for some slowness and lack of athleticism. He also feels a little more responsible for losses than I ever did, not that I didn't feel responsible. And I didn't have a conscience. If I missed three shots in a row, I didn't care. I was going to make the next one. And if I missed that, I was going to make the next one. He has more of a conscience about it.”

“That's probably true,” Markese said. “She's always telling me whenever I miss a shot not to worry about it, just know the next one's going in, but I probably harp on myself too much when I miss.”

While Markese has experienced the shadow of his mom through such things as those chants, Mikal has experienced a far more contemporary shadow in the form of his brother, as Kim points out.

“His future is really up to him and his effort,” Kim said of Mikal while describing him as a potential “late bloomer.”

As for Markese, at one time he had a goal of passing his mom's career scoring total, but even if he had done so, he would have had to subtract one point for every 3-pointer, Kim once kidded, because her high school career finished just before the arrival of the arc.

Markese doesn't remember when he first learned that his mom was a Miss Basketball, nor the first time he comprehended how significant that honor is.

“I thought it was pretty crazy, but it was nice to know,” Markese said, “and it made me want to do the same thing.”

Class 4A

Elkhart Sectional

Tuesday, Feb. 26

Central (6-14) vs. Warsaw (10-10), 6 p.m.

Memorial (8-12) vs. Goshen (13-7), follows

Friday, March 1

Concord (19-1) vs. Central/Warsaw winner, 6 p.m.

Northridge (9-11) vs. Memorial/Goshen winner, follows

Saturday, March 2

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Mishawaka Sectional

Tuesday, Feb. 26

SB Riley (12-8) vs. SB Clay (13-8), 6 p.m.

Mishawaka (10-10) vs. SB Adams (18-2), follows

Friday, March 1

Penn (16-4) vs. Riley/Clay winner, 6 p.m.

SB Washington (9-11) vs. Mishawaka/Adams winner, follows

Saturday, March 2

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

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