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Singletary perseveres and dreams big
marcus singletary
Marcus Singletary in back is flanked by Stephanie Clay and Liston Singletary. In front (l-r) are Jesse Fleming and Leonard Hall.
As a high school student at Bradwell Institute, Marcus Singletary was a big man on campus. He was a star on the basketball court and the gridiron.
However, his world turned upside down when he failed the science portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. Suddenly, this brash young man with big dreams was not going to receive a high school diploma. It seemed like a dead end. Several of Singletary’s peers and adults gave up on him.
It was then that his father Liston Singletary talked to him about being humble and getting on the right track.
“I sat him down and told him he was too cocky and he needed to humble himself,” he said. “I believe Marcus has always possessed a lot of talent, but a lot of parents fail to give kids tough love. The kids see things short-term and parents see things long-term.
After high school in 2005, Singletary joined life-long friend Dale Clay at Rainy River Community College in International Falls, Minn., where they played football and basketball together for a year, before Clay transferred to Brewton-Parker College. Singletary played another year and recently transferred to Tabor College in Hillsborough, Kan.
Singletary not only performed well in athletics, where he was a captain on the football team and basketball team and made the Minnesota Community College Conference All-Conference team, but also in the classroom. He made the dean’s list as a freshman and was chosen to be a graduation speaker.
“A lot of things are possible,” he said. “I want to give honor to God because of him all of this is possible.”
Singletary dreams of playing in the NFL and is working with one of Minnesota’s top trainers Mark Ellis, as well as talking with Kansas City Chief running back Michael Bennett.
“Everyone is going to go through adversity. Either let it make you or break you,” Singletary said. “When you do go through it, you got to focus. You have to stay focused, grounded and keep your eyes on the prize. If you have determination and strive for better things, then better things will come to you.”
He does not believe in short-changing dreams.
“If you’re going to dream, dream big,” he said. “Never ever let a person tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams or that it’s impossible. It’s all about your mindset.”
Singletary is grateful for his peers and mentors who stuck by him in his turbulent time. He describes himself as a standout and explained the difference between a stand-out and a stand-alone.
“A stand-alone does not use his people around him. He thinks he knows it all and just wants to be on his own,” Singletary said. “A standout knows where he comes from, knows who helps him and uses his friends as a team. I’m a standout, not a stand-alone. I never forget where I come from. I never forgot those who doubted me and never forgot those who stood by me.”
Some of the people Singletary credits include his ninth grade football coach and track coach at Bradwell Emmet Watkins and is AAU basketball coaches Jesse Fleming and Leonard Hall.
“They were the ones who molded me as hard work goes. I like to work hard,” he said. “I don’t settle for the bare minimum. You got to feel like you’re the toughest one out there. You got to have swagger, work ethic and heart.”
Fleming, who started the South Georgia Kings in 2003 with Singletary as one of the key players, thinks highly of his protégé.
“He’s a great kid. In any sport, if you have 10 Marcus Singletarys, you’re guaranteed to be there because they play hard,” he said. “He’s a good kid. He handles his business. He’s the hardest player we’ve ever had in our program.”
Singletary, however, says he would not be where he is without his father, his mother Deborah Porter and his grandmother Sadie R. Gethers.
“I want to thank my father for bringing me into this world and teaching me things that help me long down the road and in life,” Singletary said. “I am forever grateful to have him as a father to instill in me the word and God. With him, the sky’s the limit.
“My mom is more so my fire and my motivation because I am striving so hard to make it because I want to give my mom the finer things,” he said.
“My grandmother has been there since day one and is my biggest fan,” he said. “Every year she sends me a card with $5 and a pack of Avon deodorant. It’s the little things that satisfy me.”
Others Singletary credits include Clay’s mother Stephanie Clay for mentoring him, keeping him grounded and providing unconditional love, his little sister Danielle Hankins for supporting him and looking up to him, his stepmother Valerie Singletary for supporting him, guiding him and sticking by him, Gary Guyton for always being there for him and talking with him daily, Greg Carr, Jonathan Smith, Lee Everett and Brandon Woods.
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