As a part of the 2021-2022 winter sports season, the Talon Tribune has created the Naples High Athlete of the Month in order to give recognition to Naples’ best performing athletes that have shown qualities of leadership, cooperation and effort both on and off the court.
In doing so, each winter sport coach nominated one athlete they felt embodied these qualities the most, and the students of Naples High have voted on those they believed to be most deserving of recognition for their hard work.
Junior Marques Leon has shown a great deal of success early this season and throughout his basketball career. Being one of the five starters on the Naples High basketball team, Leon has proved to be a promising player and supportive teammate.
“My goal is to become successful and live life better than how I’ve been living currently,” Leon said.
Despite being shorter than the average basketball player, Leon has established himself as a crucial player on the court with his tremendous shooting skill and being an outstanding point guard with an average of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think my strengths are that I am a very hard worker and am committed to what I do,” Leon said. “This sport could also help me in getting to college and it helped me develop good habits.”
As a junior, considerations for college commitments arise, and it is imperative that athletes use their final seasons to improve and make their mark.
“In college, I plan on going in for business because I am not completely sure what I want to do yet,” Leon said. “My coach always gives me a lot of advice on how to make it the way he did.”
Of course, it is common for athletes to look even further into the future, some even aiming to play for professional teams. Leon, for example, would play for Miami Heat if he were to continue his basketball career.
In the present, however, student athletes are focusing on different matters still being in high school.
“As of now, I am prioritizing my family, God, basketball, school and my friends,” Leon said.
“Basketball has given me a lot of life lessons and turned me into a better person,” senior Molly Richards said. “It teaches you grit and how to be a leader.”
Richard’s positions are shooting guard and point guard. She has been playing basketball since she was five years old and hopes to continue her career. Being a dual-time athlete with basketball and volleyball challenges her to stay focused in all aspects of her life.
“I stay motivated and just make sure I put in the work to get things done,” Richards said. “It’s important to keep your priorities straight with all the long hours dedicated to sports.”
Practice is crucial to improving, especially in sports. Learning how to fully master a skill can take athletes up to an entire lifetime to do. Putting in the extra time to self improve is what makes a player stand out and truly shine.
Contributing authors: Julia Begossi and Ryan Meister