Two years ago Marc Walters was living in a run-down apartment in New York City. The rent was $250 a month, with rats scurrying about – not how he wanted to live.
Since coming to Glendale Community College from his Bronx home two years ago, Walters now a forward on the basketball team, has led the Vaqueros to State Elite Eight a season ago, the first round of the playoffs this year, has become the 13th leading scorer in GCC history (with 1,020 points), was named MVP Western State Conference this season and was named to the All-State team.
“It’s a great honor,” Walters said. “Out of everybody in our conference, I get the player of the year is a great thing.”
Walters came out to California to get away from all the violence in his neighborhood, which would help him to get a better education and support his family
“My mom didn’t want me to come out here,” Walters said. “But it is the best thing for me and my family.
“I love my mom with all my heart,” he said. “I came out here to do what I got to do.”
Growing up in the Bronx, Walters saw a lot of violence. He lived side-by-side with gangs, thugs, drugs and prostitution.
“It’s survival,” Walters said. “Only the fit survive.”
It’s easy to see how he survived his rough neighborhood. The first time talking to him is like talking to a best friend. Whether it’s cracking jokes or having a simple conversation, the impression left on is that there is something special about him. He has a smile that can light up a room and the personality to go with it.
“It’s rough out there,” Walters said. “Everything out there is about school and basketball.”
But it was basketball that taught Walters he had a chance to get away from all the violence in his neighborhood.
“Playing [basketball] out there was great,” Walters said. “Your mom, family, friends all came to the games and they came to love you.”
There are many of great basketball players out of New York, such as Earl “The Goat” Mannigult, who is the greatest player never to play in the NBA, Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Lamar Odom, Mark Jackson, Stephon Marbury, Ron Artest and Kenny Anderson. In addition, the famous Rucker Park Tournament in Rucker Park in Harlem has been a launching pad for such NBA stars as Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Allen Iverson and Vince Carter.
In the tournament, he played against Marbury and Carter, and they all learned to play on the streets, just like Walters.
At 6-foot-5 inches, and 210 pounds, Walters is small for a forward, but is not concerned about his size. In his 65 games at Glendale, Walters has been matched up with a taller opponent. Last season, he averaged 12.4 points a game, and this season averaged 19.5, despite his luck being double- and triple-teamed most of the season.
“It feels good,” Walters said of going up against opponents taller than he. “I just go right at them.”
In a playoff game last season game against Los Angeles City College, which was seeded first seed in the state, Walters scored a then-career high 26 points while matching up against 6-foot-9 Rafael Berumen in defeating L.A. City, 76-70, which put Glendale in the State Elite Eight.
“He meant a lot to our team,” said head coach Brian Beauchemin. “When he played well, we played well.”
After this semester, Walters, a physical education major, plans to move back to the East Coast to further his education and to be closer to his family.
“Everything is for my mom and my grandmother,” Walters said. “I want to show them and everybody else that I’m doing something positive with my life.”