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Marshawn Blackmon’s scoring, leadership gives Bulldogs bite

Marshawn Blackmon

Marshawn Blackmon

To say that Marshawn Blackmon’s presence has bolstered the fortunes of the Fort Zumwalt South basketball team over the past three seasons would be a vast understatement.

Whether it is knocking down three-pointers from the outside, rebounding, or hustling on defense, Blackmon has cast a big shadow for the Bulldogs again in his senior season on the court.

Blackmon credits his success with “just always being aggressive on offense and being in attack mode.”

“And my teammates are looking a lot for me to be a leader this year and that’s a big part of it too,” Blackmon said.

He also recently put himself into some select company when he and teammate Preston Whitfield passed their 1,000 career points marks in the Bulldogs 66-55 win over Maplewood-Richmond Heights at The Family Arena in St. Charles.

In his third season at South since arriving as a sophomore, the Bulldogs have won over 50 games with Blackmon on the floor. His presence as a scorer, rebounder and defensive stopper has made the Bulldogs one of the area’s most successful squads.

“We are 55-14 with him; he’s a tremendous impact,” Zumwalt South coach Bill Friedel said. “Since the end of last season, and so far this season, he has really turned into our go-to guy offensively and obviously he leads us in rebounding.”

Blackmon has been nearly unstoppable with the ball, averaging 23.1 points a game, which leads the club. Going into the first full week of January, he was eighth in the St. Louis area in scoring. As a scorer, he is known for getting to the rim for buckets, but it is his ability to hit the mid-range and outside shot that has allowed his scoring to take off the last two seasons.

Blackmon credits his mid-range game with much of his success.

“… because once I get my mid-range game going, defenses don’t know whether I’m going to come out for the shot or go to the basket,” he explained.

Rebounding is a major part of Blackmon’s huge contribution to the Bulldogs’ impressive start, which was 11-1 at presstime. He averages a team-high of 10 rebounds per game with 80 of his 120 boards coming on the defensive end of the floor.

“I know defense gets stops and part of defense is getting rebounds, and one good thing about my game is hitting the boards and going in transition,” Blackmon said. “I’m like one of the tallest people on the team, so that’s one of the things I have to do – to get rebounds – to help us win.”

College and more basketball is in the future for Blackmon after his senior season wraps up. He is verbally committed to Eastern Illinois and with a 3.3 grade point average is looking forward to being there next fall.

“They have been recruiting me the longest and it seemed like they had the best interest for me,” Blackmon said. “I have a good relationship with the coaches on the team and I feel like it was the best fit for me.”

At Zumwalt South, Blackmon has been not just a great player, but also a superb influence on the program on and off the court.

“He’s a very good person, high-character and very well-liked in the locker room,” Friedel said. “He works hard for us and is usually smiling a lot until game time.”

While it has been a great senior season for Blackmon and the Bulldogs, there remains one goal left to achieve on the hardwood.

Blackmon and his mates desperately want to get another shot at the Class 5 state tournament, after being bounced by Hazelwood Central in the quarterfinal round (75-52) in March of 2014.

“I think when we play hard we are at our best,” Blackmon said. “When we play hard against those teams that are more athletic than us, we just have to play hard to beat them. I think that’s the main key with us.”

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