Column: How Marjon Beauchamp Nearly Quit Basketball to Competing for an NBA Championship


Photo by: Jennifer Pottheiser

Marjon Beauchamp has just been drafted No. 24 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Preston Schamens, Student of Journalism

With eyes welling up, Marjon Beauchamp hugs family and friends. He has just been drafted No. 24 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. Bucks fans around the country rejoice at the thought of their favorite team getting a shut-down defender that can burn teams from midrange.

But what they do not acknowledge is that the man they see before them nearly quit basketball as a whole, just a year before being drafted.

Beauchamp a native to Yakima, Wash., started his high school basketball career at Nathan Hale High School, where he was coached by Brandon Roy to a state championship. His sophomore year, Beauchamp transferred to Garfield High School, following Roy, winning another state championship. Beauchamp eventually found himself on the move again, this time at Rainier Beach High School, where he flourished. Beauchamp would average 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists per game enroute to winning Metro Player of the Year. This would result in yet another school change. This time to Dream City Christian, a powerhouse private school that played most of its games in the Grind Session Circuit, a league composed of elite high school basketball players.

By the end of his senior year, Beauchamp was listed as a four-star prospect with offers from Arizona, Florida State and Marquette per 247sports. Beauchamp, however, elected to bypass the typical route taken by most high school athletes, and he chose to join former NBA trainer Frank Matrisciano’s program, Chameleon BX.

Unfortunately, Beauchamp could not get the full benefit of the program as COVID struck.

With Chameleon BX subsequently shutting down because of the pandemic, Beauchamp returned home to Yakima. 

“That was the wild card. COVID came out of nowhere and kicked us in the gut. Just when you thought you had the right answer to what was going on in our lives, boom. He’s becoming the Superman that you thought he would be, and then COVID,” Beauchamp’s father, Jon, said in an interview with Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone

The pandemic took its toll on Beauchamp, and his overall status as a promising basketball player started to slip, as well as his mentality. This became even more real when he contracted COVID. Beauchamp himself said, “It was the low point on his life.”

“The depressing part was coming home. Coming home after all those moves we made. I didn’t want him here. I mean. It’s awesome. We love Yakima; we’re from Yakima. But when you’re in that little mode, or that little mood, Yakima could be a sinkhole,” Jon Beauchamp said in the interview.

At one of his lowest points, Beauchamp was on the verge of quitting the game he grew to love. But there were still opportunities out there, albeit small. 

Beauchamp and his father figured his best chance at getting back on the court was to enroll in Yakima Valley College and play on a limited schedule. The move paid out, and Beauchamp would come to dominate the scene, averaging 30.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game over the course of the Yaks 12-game schedule.

The feeling was rejuvenating for Beauchamp. “After not playing for a year and half, getting to play with some friends that I grew up playing with and being coached by people I grew up with, was just what I needed. Coach London would always tell me, ‘you’re going to play for me one day.’ It’s crazy how it came full circle. And, man, it was an amazing experience, because I found the love for the game again,” he said in his interview with Stone.

The spotlight was back on Beauchamp, and he took every chance he could to get one step closer to the NBA. 

On Sept. 23, 2021, Marjon Beauchamp officially signed with the G-League Ignite, a team dedicated to helping international and high school players enter the NBA. 

The Ignite found themselves in need of talent after star players like Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green were picked in the 2021 NBA draft. And when the opportunity came, Beauchamp took off running and did not look back.

In his first season, Beauchamp would go on to average 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game via Basketball Reference.

“I remember the first couple of practices, scouts were in there, and everyone was like ‘who is this kid?’” he said. “As the season kept going, you’d see mock drafts where the highest was, I think, 11 overall. After not being on mock drafts at all before the season, it’s just crazy to see where I am now.”

After his success playing for the Ignite, he was eventually invited to the NBA Green Room, where players and their families sit and wait until their name is called — changing their lives forever.

The 2022 NBA Draft was declared open by commissioner Adam Silver on June 23. Beauchamp and his family eagerly waited for the call. Pegged to go No. 27 overall by NBCSports, Beauchamp was aware of the wait that could happen, but it was cut short.

Marjon Beauchamp was officially selected No. 24 in the 2022 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. In tears, Beauchamp hugs family and friends and makes his way to the podium, where he is greeted by Commissioner Adam Silver.

“Everything I went through, when I really look back at it, I don’t think people really understand. I was going to quit basketball. To not quit and to be where I am today, I still can’t process it. It’s amazing and I just want to inspire the next person. That’s what it’s about.”

So far through 16 games in the NBA, Beauchamp is averaging 5.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game, per Basketball Reference

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