Knowing the Newcomers: Markese McGuire|
July 18, 2013
UICFlames.com: You were a main recruiting target for Coach Moore and his staff for the better part of two years. What specifically appealed to you about UIC when making your final decision? Who were some of the other schools that recruited you heavily?
Markese McGuire: The biggest thing was the opportunity to be in Chicago. Being in the big city really appealed to me. I also developed a great relationship with the coaches, and the players on last year's team. I was really impressed with their chemistry, and wanted to be a part of it. The other schools that recruited me a lot were Northern Illinois, Mercer, Milwaukee, Detroit and Evansville.
UICFlames.com: You averaged more than 25 ppg during your senior season at Elkhart Memorial. As the leader of that team and certainly the main scoring threat, what was the biggest thing that improved about your game during your final high school season?
Markese McGuire: It was a great experience. I always had the target on me. I drew a lot of double teams, and even some triple teams. I actually enjoyed it. It helped me develop as a player and a leader. I was forced to be more vocal than I had previously been. I think that's really going to help me as I make the transition to college basketball.
UICFlames.com: You were regarded as one of the top shooters in the state of Indiana during your high school career. Would you describe shooting the basketball as your biggest strength, and how did you become a great shooter?
Markese McGuire: It's definitely my biggest strength, and the biggest thing I'm bringing to the program as a freshman. My goal was to take 250 shots a day before I got here. I spent a lot of time with the shooting gun, working on all kinds of shots, including off the dribble with pull-ups and catch-and-shoot shots. I worked on all kinds of different shooting drills before I got here.
UICFlames.com: Who were some of your basketball idols growing up? If anyone, who did you model your game after, and are you a Pacers fan?
Markese McGuire: I'm a big fan of Dwayne Wade. And nope, I'm a Heat fan.
UICFlames.com: From playing in open gym and working out with all of your teammates during the past month or so, what do you feel will be one of the main strengths of this team when the season tips off in November?
Markese McGuire: Our speed. Our guard play is really strong, and our `bigs' do a nice job of rebounding the basketball. We're already developing that chemistry, so I think we're off to a great start this summer.
UICFlames.com: How many times did you have an opportunity to watch UIC play last season?
Markese McGuire: I came to 3-4 games. I really liked the way they played last year. They obviously made a big leap forward and helped lay the foundation for the future of this program. We obviously lost Josh (Crittle), Gary (Talton) and Danny (Barnes), but I think the guys we have coming in, along with some of the older guys, are going to help fill those roles.
UICFlames.com: What are you planning on majoring in?
Markese McGuire: Business management.
UICFlames.com: What are the elements of the game that you feel you need to work on before the season begins?
Markese McGuire: Defense and ball-handling. I want to be able to play both guard positions during my career, so those things are important to improve upon.
UICFlames.com: How have you adjusted to living in the city of Chicago the past month or so? How often had you visited the city prior to transferring to UIC?
Markese McGuire: I had probably visited about 10 times, mostly while I was playing AAU. I also came up here for some individual workouts. It's been great; I'm really enjoying the city life.
UICFlames.com: How has it been getting to know your teammates over the past several weeks? How valuable will it be to the team to have everyone here for the entire summer?
Markese McGuire: It's been really good. Right away, we developed that friendship and chemistry. The freshmen are all taking the same classes this summer, so we've spent a lot of time together.
UICFlames.com: UIC is developing a nice pipeline to the state of Indiana, with yourself, Hayden Humes and Kelsey Barlowall growing up in the Hoosier state. Talk a little bit about the level of competition in the state of Indiana, and its rich basketball tradition.
Markese McGuire: There's no question that Indiana is a basketball state. The competition is great - guys really love the game, and grew up playing the game. I take a lot of pride in coming from the state, and put a lot of work in over the years. The guys I grew up playing with did the same thing.