Marques Johnson was working a soccer game when he noticed his phone received a notification from Outlook. It was an indication that a decision was made, and he would either end his night a happy man or end it disappointed at the contents of the message.
He opened it, and as each word processed in his brain, he began to feel excited. Johnson had just been offered the position as the boys basketball coach at Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT).
“I’m still processing it,” Johnson said Wednesday. “For me, I’m excited about the challenge because I know once you get to the varsity level things ramp up. The speed is different, and things change. I’m ready to take on that challenge and put our guys in the right position to succeed.”
Johnson, who spent the last two seasons as the junior varsity coach, will replace Camilo Hoyos, who stepped down in the spring. It will be Johnson’s first varsity coaching job, as he inherits a program coming off a 14-7 season and an appearance in the Section VI Class A-2 semifinals. The 14 wins were the most for CSAT since the 2012-13 season, when they won 16 games.
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We would like to officially announce our next Head Coach. Mr. Marques Johnson, a fantastic mentor and coach 4 our program.Johnson will be making the jump from JV to varsity we’re excited about the future of the program!Let the Johnson era begin!! @centercourt42 @bufnewspreptalk pic.twitter.com/KZ7QstwtNY— CSAT Boys Basketball (@CSATBoysbball) September 20, 2022
The team graduated its top two scorers from a season ago, All-Western New York large schools third-team selection Nate Parker (25.2 points) and Greg Brown (10.3 points). Parker and Brown were the only Eagles to average double-digit points.
Johnson, who was named after the five-time NBA All-Star known for his stint with the Milwaukee Bucks, wants his players to accept their roles.
“For us, one of the big things is using our preseason to really grow and come together,” Johnson said. “Honestly, I think the sooner we can all accept our role, the better we’ll be in the long run. I know as a coach I’m going to have those tough conversations with the kids that think they’ll be averaging 25 points per game. Only a select few can do that.”
Johnson will relentlessly preach "we not me’" to his players. Every role on a team is important in his eyes, whether the team is winning or learning. Johnson views every loss as a learning experience.
“If we can put our personal 'Me, me, I wanna score this, I want to do this,’ if we can put that to the side, we, as a team and collective unit, can accomplish great things,” Johnson said.