Marrow, out of eligibility, returns as men's hoops coach

Category:  Sports
Sunday, November 29th, 2015 at 10:04 PM
Marrow, out of eligibility, returns as men's hoops coach by Mike Fenner
Will Marrow is the Coordinator of Player Development for Edinboro men’s basketball this season (Contributed/EU Sports Information).

The Edinboro men’s basketball team knew it would suffer turnover within its starting lineup as the Scots transitioned from last season to the 2015-16 campaign. The only thing that was uncertain for the coaching staff, however, is just how many guys they would be losing.

Will Marrow, who was set to play his final season in an Edinboro uniform as a redshirt-senior this year, found out in the late part of this past summer that he was out of eligibility on the playing floor.

The Cleveland, Ohio native would become the third starter from last year’s team not to return after senior frontcourt teammates Sam Sealy-James and Casey Baker each graduated.

Marrow, a former Wheeling Jesuit transfer who totaled 68 games and 31 starts for the Fighting Scots after transferring to Edinboro, played in 25 games with 24 starts a season ago as he averaged over 24 minutes, logged 7.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

“Of course the disappointment was there, but at the same time, time stops for nobody so you’ve got to find a new passion and find a new love,” Marrow said. “You’ve got to find something new and I found something. I was excited to be able to stay around and support the team and stay with my brothers, because most of them were on the team last year. I wanted to do whatever I can to help them succeed.”

Marrow registered his lone career double-double with 15 points (two shy of his career best) and a career high 11 rebounds in Edinboro’s PSAC quarterfinal loss to Slippery Rock this past February. The 64-60 loss at Morrow Fieldhouse would ultimately be Marrow’s last game in uniform.

“It’s very disappointing not having him in uniform,” Cleary said three weeks ago in his office. “Will was our best defender last year. He’s a really tough kid and he really understood what we were doing at the end of the year. He really was playing good basketball. He’s a very good teammate to these guys and when you take that away it really hurts what we were planning on.”

The good news for the former John F. Kennedy high school in Cleveland product was that Cleary had approached Marrow, the criminal justice major and coaching minor, about an opportunity to join the Fighting Scots’ coaching staff as a Coordinator of Player Development.

Cleary, who was once a student coach himself in the Edinboro program before becoming Greg Walcavich’s full-time assistant, stressed the importance of Marrow’s chance to be around his former teammates and help them in any way he can.

“He really has been a breath of fresh air for me and [assistant] coach [Chris] Bess,” Cleary said. “I really enjoy having him around and I’ve actually been very surprised by a lot of the insight that he has had. It’s been interesting just kind of watching his transition.”

One of the biggest areas of change so far in the transition for Marrow has been the adjustment to the way he watches film, whether it be from practices, scrimmages or games.

“It’s a little different, because I actually pay attention to it more now than I did before as a player,” Marrow said. “I paid attention to it then, but I look at stuff a lot in detail.”

Marrow admitted that being on the other side of it can often be difficult when it comes to the emotional aspect of the game and especially during big runs or when big plays occur.

“I think that’s one of the biggest things I’m struggling with so far is just changing the way I speak out there,” Marrow said. “I’ve got to say things a little bit differently and coach has told me that a couple times, but you’ve just got to rein in those emotions and just say in the correct term that way.”

The ability to relate better to players with being so recently removed from the court and his playing days not being far in the rearview mirror is a great asset to have, according to Marrow’s mentors.

“He has understanding of how some of the younger guys think and that’s been good for us,” Cleary said. “He can kind of tell when someone’s not understanding it and needs to be talked to about stuff and he can kind of understand when somebody just isn’t trying to listen. He has really good input there.”

“He just brings an insight from a more recent player experience,” Bess added. “He kind of knows what we expect as a player and now he can kind of see behind the scenes what we’re really expecting, what asking for, what we’re looking for.

The son of a high school basketball coach who he played for in his dad, William, Marrow had always thought about taking a crack at the coaching profession.

“He gives me my true personality as a coach,” Marrow said. “I don’t tend to get too overwhelmed about things and I get that from him. Just my whole outlook and how I look at the game, I get that from him. It’s just from him being my high school coach and even being on the bench when I was a little kid watching him coach.”

With the process sped up faster than he anticipated, it could be an opportunity he takes off and runs with, according to Bess.

“I think he can go just about anywhere he wants to go with it,” Bess said. “He’s hard working. He’ll have some of the networking and connections to get his foot in the door depending on which angle he tries to take. I think he’s got a good chance to run with it if he wants.”

Mike Fenner is a Senior Staff Writer for the Spectator. He can be reached via e-mail, sports.spectator@gmail.com, or on Twitter, @Fenner_6.

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