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The Master's College's Jacqui Marshall: Compatible pursuits

After three years at bigger schools, Marshall found a perfect fit at TMC

Posted: March 11, 2013 10:51 p.m.
Updated: March 11, 2013 10:51 p.m.

The Master's College junior forward Jacqui Marshall played two years for the NCAA Division I University of California, Irvine team before transferring to TMC this season.

 

All the other schools that tried to recruit Jacqui Marshall were aggressive and almost pushy.

But Marshall couldn’t bring herself to buy into the used-car-salesman approach.

She just wanted a coach, a school and teammates who cared.

The 21-year-old junior transfer found that in The Master’s College, her third college basketball team in four years.

“You can’t beat this. Pretty much, I wish I could have come here form the start,” Marshall says. “You just have to really weigh your options before you let someone sway you one way or the other.”

Marshall, a junior forward at TMC, admits it’s been a strange and somewhat frustrating last few years while passing through two NCAA Division I college teams before arriving at the small, secluded college in Newhall.

She spent last two seasons playing for the University of California, Irvine  and she was at University of San Diego the year before that.

In the end, the circumstances weren’t right at either school.

A stroke of good timing led Marshall to The Master’s College, where she’s leading the team in per-game scoring (13.2 points), rebounding (7.7), field-goal percentage (48.5) and total blocks (56).

“She’s been a huge factor,” says TMC head coach Dan Waldeck of Marshall. “She’s done great things for us offensively. She’s hit some big shots for us, but I really think our team is really balanced. The biggest thing is she’ll do anything she can to help us win.”

She’s helped TMC to a 25-5 record and a spot in this week’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I Championship tournament in Frankfort, Ky.

TMC will face Carroll College of Montana in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. in what will be TMC’s first NAIA Championship appearance since 2008.

“It seemed like she had been here forever,” says TMC teammate and friend Theresa Brown. “We all just kind of meshed really well. We all kind of thrive off each other.”

It wasn’t always so fine and dandy for Marshall.

When she graduated from San Clemente High School in 2009, Marshall was a highly recruited forward after finishing a stellar four-year varsity career.

At the time, she was rated the 29th best player in the nation at her position, according to a popular recruiting site ESPN HoopGurlz.

Multiple NCAA Division I across the West Coast expressed major interest. On the advice of her parents, Marshall jumped on the first official offer she got, which came from USD.

Marshall spent part of the summer session with San Diego, but within weeks she realized it wasn’t the place for her.

“It’s more important how you fit in with the team and just how the coaching staff is with you,” Marshall says. “When I got to my first school, it was really fake.”

From there, she gravitated toward UCI, where she knew a player on the team. Given how late it was in the offseason, Marshall’s options for a transfer school were limited.

She attended an open-gym tryout and made the team at UCI, where she redshirted the 2009-10 season before playing the following two seasons there.

As a freshman, she scored seven points and pulled down three rebounds a game. Those numbers improved to more than nine points and four rebounds per contest last season.

Despite the improvement, Marshall said she wasn’t enjoying the game. Basketball felt like a job, instead of a game.

On top of that, UCI head coach Molly Goodenbour, with whom Marshall had developed a solid relationship, was let go after the 2011-12 season.

All signs were pointing to another transfer and that’s when she decided to pick up the phone and call a coach she had gotten to know years before when she was being recruited out of high school.

“She was really excited about it and wanted to start and develop her faith with Christ and play basketball at a winning program,” Waldeck says of his conversation with Marshall last May. “And we had a spot open, so it was kind of a perfect time, perfect fit. All those things kind of came together.”

Once again, Marshall had the choice of several colleges in California. Waldeck asked for a lunch meeting with her, where the two discussed her potential role with The Master’s College.

Because TMC is much smaller in comparison to her previous schools, it provided a friendly, community feel which was a big change of pace.

“It was a big culture shock obviously coming from a big university to a small school that’s kind of sheltered like The Master’s College,” Brown says of Marshall. “She’s obviously very outgoing and very easygoing and everything.”

After all this time, it seems Marshall has found the team that matches her personality and playing style perfectly.

“Playing here really made me love the game again and just play free and not have so much pressure on me anymore,” Marshall says.

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