By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
A dream came true for North Laurel High School student-athlete Marcus Carson on Wednesday. The standout prep basketball and baseball player signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Kentucky baseball team while becoming the third student-athlete from North Laurel (Jon Hooker and Zack Storm) to ink with the Wildcats baseball team.
Carson had given a verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky, but sealed the deal with many family and friends in attendance Wednesday.
“I always knew that this was the place I wanted to be,” Carson said. “It’s the SEC, so you know it’s the best competition in all of the leagues. Coach (Brad) Bohannon just said to keep working and make a spot for myself.
“It’s a big thing for my family and myself,” he added. “It’s one of those things that not many people get to do, but working hard and my dad helping me along the way helped me get to where I am today.”
North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said hard work is what got Carson to where he is now.
“We’ve been fortunate and these kids work extremely hard and they are very deserving,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen by accident. Marcus has definitely put the work in and worked on his skills. You won’t find a better role model that represents North Laurel High School than Marcus Carson.
“He’s deserving,” he added. “If they could have let all of the kids out of class, they would have filled the gym up and every kid would have wanted to be there because of what kind of kid Marcus is. They are going to be getting a heck of an outfielder — he’s as good as they come. His baseball I.Q. and instincts are phenomenal. He’s made it real easy for me as a coach.”
Carson began playing at the varsity level since his eighth-grade season and turned in impressive results at the plate and on the field since.
“They are getting a kid with an unbelievable work ethic and they are really going to enjoy him the next four years,” McWhorter said. “You have to have some kind of special gift before UK comes knocking at the door and Marcus definitely has that. I’m tickled to death for him.”
Carson said his biggest influence was his father, Mark, who was a star athlete at Union College before injuries cut his athletic career short.
“It has to be my dad,” he said. “(He’s) always pushing me to be my best and driving me to and from practice and coaching me since I was little and always being there for me.
“My dad and mom is at every single game and if they’re not, my dad tries every way in the world to come there,” he added. “If it’s like a morning game, he would go to work at about three o’clock in the morning just to get there in time for my game.”
Carson also hopes to have athletic goals beyond the University of Kentucky.
“One day I hope to make it to the MLB (Major League Baseball) and make something even bigger of myself than I am right now,” he said.