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August 2, 2014

Kecoughtan's Haskett Makes Pledge

Sometimes, it takes a Virginia native to get one to venture out-of-state. Kecoughtan Class of 2015 point guard Marcell Haskett will be taking his talents outside the Commonwealth and traveling a little less than four hours north to Emmitsburg, Maryland to play for Coach Jamion Christian and the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers in the Northeast Conference.

The 6-foot-tall Haskett made the call on Saturday while on a visit to the school. He was also offered by Hampton University and drew interest from Old Dominion as well as Tennessee Tech. In the end, the relationship he built with the coaching staff, most notably Christian and assistant Donny Lind, turned out to play a major part in his choice.

"Coach Christian is a great coach and was very helpful during the whole process of my recruitment. He stayed on me the hardest and Mount St. Mary's has been on me from day one since my sophomore year. They always stuck with me," Haskett told VirginiaPreps.com.

"When I went up there, I met some of the players and a lot of people that sold it to me. They told me I can be really successful in their program, and he's the type of coach I want to play for in college. We really clicked and that's when I decided to make my commitment there."

Christian, a former assistant at VCU when the Rams made their famous run to the Final Four in 2011, played his High School Basketball at New Kent. It was there that he won a state title 14 years ago. His Mount St. Mary's squad has gone 34-31 over the last two seasons, highlighted by a trip to the NCAA Tournament this past March.

Mount St. Mary's is no stranger to luring players from the Tidewater area with recent standouts such as Kelly Beidler (Tallwood), Markus Mitchell (Salem) and Julian Norfleet (Landstown), whom Haskett got familiar with during his time there.

"I got to talk to Julian from Landstown quite a bit and he told me that Coach Christian is someone that's going to help and I can go to him when I have problems," said Haskett, who played on the AAU circuit with Team Loaded 757 this summer. "That was one of the main things that helped me. I know Coach Christian was under Shaka (Smart) at VCU where they won a lot. He likes to win and I like to win."

The up-tempo style of play at Mount St. Mary's should make for a rather seemingly smooth transition for the speedy playmaker.

"I like the defense that they play with their pressing. It's kind of like VCU where they do that 'Havoc,' but they call it 'Mayhem.' It's similar and I think it's going to be great. I can get my points off of the defense and then facilitate for my team," Haskett added.

"I think I can bring to their program that winning attitude and the point guard abilities. Coach Christian said he watched me in High School and AAU, and the thing he liked about me the most was that I could facilitate, but I could score, too. He also liked my energy."

Haskett has a played a key role in Kecoughtan's success since his freshman season. As a sophomore, he moved into the starting lineup and averaged 8.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game to help Kecoughtan achieve their second straight State Tournament berth and a 25-6 overall record.

With the Warriors having to replace Rajay Bullock (Providence) and Greg Alexander (ECU), Haskett turned into the go-to option and flourished at 21.5 points per game, tops in the Peninsula District. In the team's regional quarterfinal loss to Landstown, he poured in a career-high 41 points. To go with his scoring exploits, he averaged 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game to earn Second Team All-State and First Team All-Monitor Merrimac Conference honors as Kecoughtan won 17 games.

"I think it's a good fit. They wanted him as much as he wanted to go there, and I believe he'll have a good career there," remarked Kecoughtan Head Basketball Coach Ivan Thomas, who pointed to Haskett's defense as what separates him from most point guards.

"What I like about his game is he's a lockdown defender as a guard. He can also score the ball. But his strongest attribute is his ability to defend any point guard with his quickness. That's going to serve him well. He's just beginning to scratch the surface of what he can do."

In each of Haskett's three seasons at Kecoughtan, the Warriors have been ranked in the Top 10 in the state and been one of the top contenders. Completing his career there with a Championship before heading off to the next level will be the goal.

"We've got Damian Knowlin coming back and we've got Taqwain Drummond (from Woodside) coming over. I've been to VCU for two years and then last year lost to Landstown. Of course, no one likes to lose, but I don't want to lose again in the playoffs," stated Haskett.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get my team back to VCU, and as long as we get everybody on the same page, we'll have an opportunity to get back to where we were, get further than we were last year and possibly win it all."



Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.



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