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Mar 1, 2016 11:00 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Determination Leads Charlton To Basketball Success Overseas

Mar 1, 2016 11:00 AM

Marques Charlton is a skilled basketball player, but the trait that has served him best over the past few years has been determination.

The 2010 graduate of Deer Park High School, and son of Bridgehampton High School alum Ray Charlton, parlayed a successful high school career into a collegiate one, playing ball at Clarkson University, a Division III school in Potsdam, New York. During his time there, Charlton was a two-time Liberty League All-Star guard, but more importantly, he says, he realized that his basketball career didn’t need to end once his time at Clarkson was up.

Upon graduating from Clarkson in 2014, Charlton began to pursue options for playing overseas, and seemed to have a perfect setup to study for his MBA in England while playing professional basketball there. But when that opportunity fell through because of complications with his visa, Charlton had to dig deep.

“I just had to send out my information and just hope for someone to take a chance on me,” Charlton said.

A year, and thousands of emails later—with a disappointing showing during a tryout in Canada in between—Charlton finally landed in Boblingen, Germany, where he is currently the leading scorer for the Boblingen Panthers of the Oberliga league. Charlton has been averaging 28 points per game along with six assists and five rebounds, while ranking in the top five in the league in free throw percentage and the top two in three-pointers made. The Panthers are currently in fourth place in the 12-team league with an 11-5 record. Charlton began playing for the Panthers in mid-November after signing a one-year deal for the team that plays a schedule of 22 games through mid-April.

Over the course of 101 career games playing for Clarkson from 2010 to 2014, Charlton finished his collegiate career with 1194 points, the 12th-most in school history, for an average of 11.82 points per game. He hit 70 three-pointers as a senior to rank second in the conference and his free-throw percentage of 81.6 is one of the highest in school history as well. Additionally, Charlton ranks in the top 15 over the last 40 years at Clarkson in field goals made (414, eighth), free throws made (208, 15th), three-pointers made (158, sixth), assists (361, fifth) and steals (114, 15th).

A pure love of basketball is what has kept Charlton on the court after college. He had the pedigree to be great, with a father who starred as a Killer Bee and went on to play Division I basketball at Marist College. Charlton played AAU ball as a teenager with the Kendall Madison Playaz, based on the East End, with another former Killer Bee, coach Nick Thomas.

Charlton said he’s been enjoying his time in Germany, saying he loves the food, and hasn’t had trouble with a language barrier thanks to the fact that nearly everyone in Germany speaks English.

“The people have been really nice and they’re big supporters of basketball which makes it a lot easier for me to meet people,” he said.

As for on-court adjustments, Charlton said there have been a few.

“The style of play is a lot more physical here,” he said. “There aren’t as many fouls called, and the game play is a bit slowed down. The players here aren’t as athletic, so they usually have one skill that they focus on. It hasn’t been a huge adjustment for me playing-wise, but I am still learning how to adapt.”

Charlton practices three nights a week and hits the gym on a regular basis. He uses time on weekends to explore the town, and admits he watches a lot of Netflix too.

Charlton’s contract is up in a little more than two months, but he isn’t ready to put down the basketball yet, saying he wants to continue playing for as long as he can.

“I always believed that I was good enough to play at the next level while I was in college and now that I’m here, it’s evident that I can play this game for a long time, as long as I continue to improve,” he said. “I would eventually maybe think about getting into coaching like my father once my playing days are over, but I haven’t really given it too much thought at the moment. If I could stay in Germany that would be a great situation for me, but ultimately I would like to go where a team really is interested in me and sees my potential for growth.”

Thomas said he isn’t surprised to see Charlton succeeding overseas.

“Marques was one of the more cerebral players I’ve coached,” he said. “His feel for the game was beyond his years and he showed a tireless work ethic which only enhanced as he progressed throughout his career. I told him he had the talent to earn a living playing basketball and I’m proud to see that come to fruition for him and his family.”

Charlton has some sound advice for high school athletes who love their sport like he does and want to continue playing at the next level.

“The most important advice I would give is to be realistic about your skill level,” he said. “I got so wrapped up with being a Division I player or getting a scholarship that I overestimated how good I really was. I didn’t really dominate at the Division III level, but I kept getting better, which helped me be successful. The thing my father always told me was, it’s not about where you go, but it’s about what you do while you’re there.

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