Whitehouse's Marquis signs with UTA

Published on Thursday, 9 November 2017 01:50 - Written by PHIL HICKS, phicks@tylerpaper.com

WHITEHOUSE - McKade Marquis faced a big decision.

The Whitehouse High School senior could suit up as an Apache and play for his father, Mike Marquis, the head basketball coach at Tyler Junior College - something he dreamt about since picking up a basketball.

Or he could venture out after his prep career concluded to attend a Division I school.

On Wednesday, he opted for the latter, signing to play basketball with the University of Texas at Arlington, a Sun Belt Conference school.

McKade inked his letter in front of family, friends, teammates and coaches during the ceremony at Wildcat Arena, where the 3-point specialist has drained many long-range treys.

“Really, the only tough decision was whether or not I would play for my dad,” the younger Marquis said. “We talked about it and discussed it and we thought signing with UTA was the best path for me.

“I always thought and dreamed about playing for my dad.”

McKade had grown up at Wagstaff Gymnasium, watching his father’s teams, being a ball boy and, of course, taking shots during halftimes and after games. Plus, his older brother, Mitch, had played for TJC.

He felt UTA and coach Scott Cross’s Mavericks were right for him.

“It is a little surreal,” McKade said. “It is an emotional day for my family … to work so hard all these years and see my dream come true. … It’s fun to see how it worked out.”

Before signing his letter with his father and mother, Kris, at the table at Wildcat Arena, McKade thanked, “God, my parents, my whole family, my teammates and friends, and coach (Brent) Kelly (Whitehouse head coach).”

Marquis noted the excitement around the UTA program, a Mavericks team that knocked off Texas last year and defeated Oklahoma, 99-84, in an exhibition game Oct. 28 in Norman, Oklahoma.

“There is so much energy surround UTA,” Marquis said. “It is a great program in a great city with great people and a great arena (College Park Center). The coaching staff is awesome. … I’m excited to get there. Coach Cross (who played at TJC) and his staff got to know me and they wanted me to be part of the program as a person, not just a player.”

Before heading off to college, there’s the matter of his senior season.

“We have a lot of returners and the younger players will make a difference, too,” McKade said. “I think we will have a pretty good year.”