Denmon Can Steal the Show

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COLUMBIA - Coming into this season, Marcus Denmon's name did not appear on any national watch list. Now he's one of thirty players in the nation on the Wooden Watch List for Player of Year...he's stealing the show

Marcus Denmon played his Sophomore season recovering from a knee injury. This year, the tendonitis and pain are gone, but it doesn't mean all the pain is out of life.

Marcus Denmon has a knack for making the right move at the right moment.

"He has great anticipation," stated Michael Dixon. "He reads opponents eyes."

"It's something that's God given. You know when to take chances and when not to and that anticipation is key," explained Denmon.

"I think you're just born with it," Dixon said. "You can't train anticipation. It's kinda like quickness. You can't teach it."

Denmon's teaches opponents lessons. If you give him an opening, he'll take the chance. A skill he learned growing up in one of the toughest sections of Kansas City.

"From where we're our parents and grandparents brought up. Nothing was given to us. So, anything that you wanted... you had to go out there and get," explained Dixon.

"The neighborhood I grew up in was always tough," said Denmon. "I felt that it helped mold me to, I wouldn't change it for anything."

This December, the neighborhood took his cousin. Marion Denmon was shot and killed.

"I think that's made Marcus a lot stronger," said Laurence Bowers. "I think that's made Marcus want to go out and do some of the things he's doing for his cousin. Just to show that he can battle through adversity."

"Things like that can really humble you and let you know that everyday isn't promised so you just got to give it everything you got each day and hopefully the Lord will wake you up the next," said Denmon.

Sometimes reality seems like it's still a dream, just hours after Denmon's cousin died Mizzou played Vanderbilt. It was tied in overtime.

"It was kind of like a movie and I was just in the movie," remembered Dixon, "The crowd is just going crazy as the time winds town... he made a pass I looked over and it was Marcus and he was stealing it. I was just running with him and I knew he was going to make it and he made the lay up and they called and one."

Just days later, with one minute left in two-point game against Iillinois, Denmon did it again.

"I kind of baited him into passing it," said Denmon. "I chased him off the screen hard, then I act like I let up and then when I see him about to pass it I shot the lane and got that steal."

"When he did's just there goes Marcus again," Bowers said.

Denmon hasn't just cranked up his game, he's alos turned up his voice. Now he's a leader in the huddle.

"I didn't see this coming either," Bowers stated, "I thought Marcus was an outspoken guy, but he just led by example. Now he talks a lot more and the fire in his eyes show how much he wants to win."

Denmon said, "I've always been a leader I feel my whole life. If I did something wrong it wasn't because I was following somebody it was because it was my decision and I've always been like that."

Denmon says he didn't grow up with his mom, but he says his grandma and uncle were always there for him.

Denmon is averaging 17 points per game. He's shooting more than 50% from the floor and almost 49% from three point range.