Originally recruited as a football quarterback, Westfield State University senior Marcus Collins has made his greatest impact on the basketball court, as he has gone from walk-on to all-conference in his time with the Owls.
Collins has had an interesting journey at Westfield State. Marcus played football for two years at Westfield as he played quarterback as a freshman, and his sophomore year he moved to defensive back during the season and finished with eight tackles on the year.
"I'm a criminal justice major, I know it's a great criminal justice school, in addition I was getting recruited by the football team, I came here to play football to begin", said Collins.
What got Collins to play basketball was the intramurals he participated in during his freshman year.
"I was very involved with intramurals my freshman year, it was a little too easy," said Marcus. "Then I thought about trying out for the [varsity] team. I tried out and it worked out."
Collins worked his way in to 20 games, starting 13 in his first season on basketball in 2017.
He made the MASCAC basketball first team all-conference team in 2018, averaging 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.
"An all-conference award is really well deserved, I was happy he got first team", said Westfield State head coach Rich Sutter.
Collins has carried his strong play forward to the 2018-19 season. He opened the year scoring 18 points in an exhibition game against Division I UMass, and he is currently second on the team in scoring with 14 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Collins has helped lead his team to a 12-10 record, 5-4 in conference play.
"Last year Marcus was much more relied on and this year he has a little bit of a different role because we have better players this year," said Sutter, who noted what Marcus has added to his team from his football background - "the same things every football guy brings, toughness and they do not mind getting hit."
The Owls had a number of transfers coming into the basketball program this season, including junior forward Jauch Green Jr., who has taken over the role of primary scorer (23 ppg) for Westfield State.
Collins has adapted well with the new guys on the team.
"The coaches made it a lot easier as we got a new system this year," said Collins. "They made the plays a lot easier to memorize, for the new guys it was a lot easier for them to pick up.
Collins, who graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, credits his success in basketball to his high school basketball coach Lance Dottin.
"My high school coach for sure. He always pushed everybody to be their best and point out the things you did wrong and made sure you were on top of your stuff", said Marcus.
Collins has learned a lot from football and brought that over to the basketball court as well.
"Honestly, hard work and kind of telling yourself you're not tired, you're not hurt", said Marcus.
Collins effort level is one of the big reasons that the Owls are sitting in second place in the conference standings with one week to play in the regular season. The Owls will travel to Fitchburg on Wednesday February, 13, and then host Worcester State on Saturday, February 16, in what will be the final regular season game, and the Owls' senior day.
While Collins is a senior in the classroom, he's leaving the door open to come back next season to use his final year of basketball eligibility and begin graduate school.
He has enjoyed being a part of Westfield State, as he praises "the community, everyone knows each other, it's kind of small, and everyone supports each other," said Collins. "Definitely the only goal I have is too win the MASCAC, and coach Sutter is three wins away from 300, we have three games left so that would be a great team thing to do", said Collins
-- Written by Nick Suglia , Sports Information Intern