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Peabody’s Markel Brown is the 2009 All-Cenla Boys Most Valuable Player. The junior earned first-team all-state honors in Class 4A by averaging 28.5 points and eight rebounds per game for the Warhorses.

Photo Courtesy of Leandro Huebner / The Town Talk
Peabody's Brown putting own stamp on storied Warhorse tradition

From The Town Talk • By: Will Tubbs • wtubbs@thetowntalk.com • April 5, 2009

Their names hang in honor over the court at the Emerald Palace, a veritable who's who of the greats who have graced the halls of Peabody Magnet High School and helped turn the Warhorses basketball program into one of the most recognizable names in the Louisiana Prep ranks.

Names like Charles Hayward, Wayne Powell, Paul Thompson, Eric Hayward and Kedrick Smith.

All of these men went on to careers at Division I schools. Some even wound up playing professionally and Thompson even played in the NBA.

Markel Brown's name is not yet in the rafters of the Emerald Palace, but to hear longtime Peabody coach Charles Smith tell it, it's only a matter of time.

"I've been at Peabody 34 years now, 24 as head coach, and I can honestly say that Markel might be the most talented player I've seen here as far as overall game," Smith said. "To me, that's saying something because we've had some great ones come through here."

The reason for the high praise, Smith said, is that the 6-foot-5 Brown, who plays all positions for Peabody but generally starts at shooting guard, embodies elements of the very men whose names he sprints beneath at every home game.

"Guys like Eric Hayward, Paul Thompson and Ked Smith, all of those guys were great, but they brought certain skills to table," Smith said. "Paul was a great ball-handler and scorer who could attack the lane like nobody else. Ked Smith, my son, had the great long-range game. Charles Hayward had the inside game.

"Markel is a combination of all the best qualities of those three. He can shoot like my son, play off the dribble like Paul and work in the paint like Charles Hayward. And he's only a junior, so who knows how much better he can become before he leaves."

As a junior, Brown was known for filling up the stat sheets.

A first-team all-state performer in Class 4A, Brown averaged 28.5 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals and three assists a game and, the only returning starter from a team that went 38-1 in the 2007-08 season, brought the Warhorses to the state quarterfinals.

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Due to his prowess on the ahrdwood this past season, Markel has been named as the 2009 All-Cenla Boys Basketball Most Valuable Player as selected by the sports staff of The Town Talk.



"Markel had a lot on his shoulders this year," Smith said. "He was our only returning starter from a 38-1 team, a team on which he was just a sophomore. He was more of a role-player on that team and usually deferred to his four senior teammates.

"This year, he was our best player in every regard. He was our scorer, our rebounder, our shot-blocker, our leader. Whatever we needed from him, he gave us."

Brown doesn't sees himself as anything more than one of the guys.

"I just go out and play ball and work hard and try to help the team win," Brown said. "I'm not worried about stats or anything like that, just winning."

Yet, whether Brown likes it or not, the major colleges are already courting.

LSU and Texas A&M scouts attended multiple Peabody games this year and Smith said multiple top-tier programs have contacted Brown, whose performance in the classroom has only served to enhance his reputation.

"The best thing I can say about Markel is that he is a brilliant academically as he is athletically," Smith said. "Right now, his grade-point average is 3.5. He's a well-behaved young man, a smart young man. The sky is the limit.

"Right now, he is being heavily recruited by LSU. I know coach Trent Johnson seems to be pretty high on him, but he's getting calls from all over (Texas A&M, Auburn, Marquette). Next year, after he's done playing summer ball, I look for the recruiting to pick up even more."

For his part, Brown seems more focused on the Warhorses 2009-2010 campaign, one which the soon-to-be-senior ends with a 4A state championship.

"We've got almost everybody back next year," Brown said. "Everybody is going to have confidence next year. We've all got experience now. We really do think we can bring home another championship."