LAS VEGAS –
There's no need to get creative with words to describe how special Marcus LoVett Jr.
was as a freshman at Providence (Burbank, Calif.)
The numbers say it all.
The 5-foot-11 guard piled up 32.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game, leading his Pioneers to a 26-6 record. LoVett pumped in single-game scoring performances of 57, 45, 44 and 41 along the way, finishing with a grand total of 1,086 points – the most ever for a freshman in the state of California.
But not everybody was sold. Providence competes in Division V – the state's smallest classification – and some wondered how LoVett's astonishing numbers would translate against a more formidable lineup of opponents.
Playing with Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire this week in the Las Vegas Classic, LoVett looks to be on his way to answering any questions about his ability.
"I just wanted to show people I can play against anybody and do the same thing or even better," LoVett said after helping Mac Irvin Fire score an easy pool play victory Friday.
LoVett's father, Marcus LoVett Sr., is a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., and played with colorful Mac Irvin Fire head coach Mike Irvin at the College of Southern Idaho in the mid-1990s – thus the California kid's connection to the Illinois club team.
Playing alongside elite talents like Jabari Parker (who is out this week while recovering from an injury), Jahlil Okafor and Billy Garrett Jr. this summer has been a valuable experience for LoVett.
"It's good for me, learning from them, just basically playing with a group of guys that is really good," LoVett said. "It does kind of take a little (pressure) off of me. I'm basically here to learn. When it's my time, I'll be ready."
Friday against an overmatched but scrappy BTI Double Pump squad, LoVett showed he has some serious juice in his young legs with effortless penetration. He drew contact and got to the foul line like a veteran and demonstrated solid shot selection – an attribute not to be overlooked considering he had the green light at all times as a freshman at Providence.
Much of his game can be traced back to Marcus Sr., who was in attendance at Durango High School and won a national title at Oklahoma City University in 1996. He later had NBA tryouts with the Kings, Nuggets and Rockets.
"He has been preparing me since I was little, two weeks old I was in the gym," said LoVett Jr. with no signs of sarcasm. "I give all the credit to my dad. He pushes me hard. He's done a great job with me."
And apparently LoVett Sr. still has some game, because his son isn't claiming on-court dominance over him just yet.
"That would be a little hard at the moment, but I'll get there," he said.
California-Irvine is the only school to extend an offer to this point, but that will change soon. Cal Poly, Colorado, DePaul, Indiana, Kansas, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, USC and Washington have all been in contact.