“People say ‘he’s too small,’, and then I aim to prove them wrong,”- Marquan Botley, senior.
When one has beat the odds, broken records and remained humble throughout his entire collegiate career, what does he do next? For senior and #4 Marquan Botley, the answer is simple: keep going.
The pattern of success for the 22-year-old point guard does not seem to be ending any time soon. Standing at just 5’9, Botley has set records and gained a reputation of being one of the finest basketball players Lynn University has ever seen.
Basketball always came easy for Botley. With an unmatched passion for the game and the drive to make it a career, failure was not in the cards for him.
“Basketball was the number one priority for me growing up, it was more than a hobby,” said Botley. “I knew it was what I wanted to make a career out of. My plan B was to make plan A work.”
Botley used basketball as a means to escape the destitution that surrounded him in his hometown of Flint, MI as a child. The birthplace of an aspiring superstar is poverty stricken, and some say the only way to make it out is possessing the ability to perform athletically. His parents, Wanda and Mike Botley, are the foundation for his support system, his motivation and his reason.
“Seeing my parents go to work everyday definitely pushed me to be a better basketball player. It’s all related, on and off the court,” said Botley. “When things went wrong in my personal life, I worked harder so that in the future my kids won’t have the same problems. Seeing the sacrifices they made to make me the person I am today makes me want to give them the world they tried to give me.”
Due to his ability to thrive in the sport at such a young age, his family moved to Dallas, where Botley would play for one of the best traveling teams in the nation. In fact, Botley’s teammate on the Texas Titans, Julius Randle, now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. The two were merely inseparable on and off the court, which explains why many schools who offered Botley scholarships only wanted him with Randle at his side.
But Botley would not accept being a shadow as he warranted a spotlight. He based his decision to attend Florida Atlantic University on the fact that they wanted him to come solo.
“To be given the opportunity to prove myself as a solo player was exactly what I wanted and needed going into my college career,” said Botley.
FAU seemed like the perfect fit to pave the road to success. That was until Botley’s junior year rolled around and he felt merely stuck in a position that did not provide leverage for progression. The team was not excelling and the then 21-year-old could not afford to waste any more time.
“I loved it there, I still do, but in terms of basketball, it was time for a change,” said Botley.
The player did not have to look far for that change. Lynn’s Assistant Basketball Coach, Tae Norwood, approached Botley regarding an opportunity to join the Fighting Knights in their 2016-2017 season. Head Coach Jeff Price, along with Norwood, offered a place to prosper, the tools to flourish athletically and academically and a fairly new squad to do all of that with.
“I believed in the vision the coaches had for me and for the program,” said Botley. “I felt like they had a lot of good pieces to work with and I could come in and complete the puzzle.”
Degenerating from Division I to Division II fostered apprehension in Botley’s mind, and the minds of those who knew his career. The usual team-player had to think of himself and his future, regardless of everyone else. Botley revealed to his teammates and his coaches at FAU that 2015-2016 would be his final season there and that Lynn welcomed him with open arms.
“It wasn’t fear that I had, it was the transition from D1 to D2. It drew in a lot of criticism from people on the outside looking in,” Botley said. “But it wasn’t about anybody else, it was about me and my career.”
Additionally, the senior guard earned a spot on the All-SSC Second Team and the All-SSC Newcomer Team.
“I would love to be able to model my players after Marquan Botley,” said Price. “He handles himself so well on and off the court. He does things the right way, he works hard and he’s an overall great person. Marquan will be deeply missed.”
“Big Shot Bot” has left his legacy behind him and plans to continue his basketball career. The common goal of many collegiate basketball players is to play overseas, which is likely in the cards for Botley.
He has been in contact with multiple professional sports agents that want to sign him. The next step is selecting someone who will assist Botley in his journey to Italy or Australia, his top two choices.
“A year from now, I want to be able to call myself a professional basketball player,” said Botley. “I aspire to be in a position where I can provide for both myself and my family through a career in the sport that shaped me into the man I am today.”
The unfamiliarity will be an adjustment for Botley but with the support of his family and friends, his dreams can likely become a reality.