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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
A year ago Brewster Marshall had a huge year for the Alfred men’s basketball team.

The tough thing for the Horseheads graduate was how few games got played because of Covid.

Brewster was a second-team All-Empire 8 pick in the six games played last year, averaging 13.2 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.

This year, things are back to something closer to normal as the Saxons have already played 11 games this year, and Brewster has taken even another step, averaging 14.8 points and 9.4 rebounds a contest.

“It’s nice just going out and playing basketball and more of the knowing you are going to go out and play rather than at the beginning of the week you might have a game Friday, you might not,” Marshall said. “It’s a little less stressful.”


While last year was a shortened season, the Saxons returned nearly everyone from that team and that gave them some confidence heading into this year.

“Coming in, playing with the team last year, we didn’t really lose anybody,” Marshall said. “It was nice to come back with the same guys and get a couple more pieces that help us out as a team, a couple guys returning after Covid or freshman stepping up. We had that time to gel last year playing any of the games we could, we built that chemistry and had a little leg up and didn’t lose anybody.”

For Marshall his success comes from the chemistry he has with his teammates.

“I have to give props to my teammates getting open, taking some of the pressure off me,” Marshall said. “It’s not like I have to go score. Everybody on the team can hit a shot at any moment of the game and it kind of opens up the defense and allows me to have easier buckets because I’m playing with a great group of guys.”

The shortened season last year did give this group a chance to get to know each other even more.

“We had that time to gel a little bit and mature and understand what each other likes to do,” Marshall said. “It makes it easy to find the openings. I know where our point guar or other guards are going to go. I know where to go to get a dump off for a layup or a quick bounce pass for two easy points, it makes it really easy to go out there and play.”

The point guard for Alfred is the son of a Division I coach — Mike Schmidt, the son of St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt.

For Marshall having a coaches’ son running the point has meant a chance to get some great passes over the years.

“He makes some of the most incredible passes I can remember, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the fact that we have been able to gel over the years, play pickup in the offseason, get up shots together and figure out tendencies,” Marshall said. “It makes it easy for him to find me and me to find him.”

It also has given Alfred the chance to play exhibitions against St. Bonaventure, which is really special for Marshall. Especially this year when the Bonnies were ranked in the pre-season top 25 for Division I basketball.

“It’s one of the most fun parts of the season going out in our first game of the season, going out in our first exhibition game, we get to play a top 25 Division I team and just go out there and have fun and live the dream that every young kid has to go play Division I,” Marshall said. “It’s fun to go out there and at least put up some numbers against a top talent that some are probably going to play in the NBA.

“It’s awesome, there are really no other words, it’s just awesome to go out and play against them. We have a great time every year.”

From the time Marshall got to college he was able to find some success thanks to the lessons he learned at Horseheads from coach Jeff Limoncelli.

“Even freshman year coming in, we had another great freshman post player and we kind of split time,” Marshall said. “Each team could guard me, or him, some games he would have 20, some games I would have 20. Each year I work to get bigger, faster stronger. It’s something coach Limoncelli at Horseheads always told me, got to be bigger, faster, stronger every year and I have tried to embody that.”

As a freshman the 6-foot, 8-inch big man averaged 9.3 points and grabbed 146 boards. The next year he made one start in 22 games, scoring 299 points on the year and having a career-high 16 rebounds against Geneseo.

Marshall is over 750 career points and he has had five double-doubles this year, scoring nine or more points in every game this season.

“It’s definitely nice, it’s reassuring that all the work I put in on and off the court is not meaningless,” Marshall said. “Getting the win is the biggest thing. The double double doesn’t mean anything, I would much rather do what I need to do to help the team get the win. But double-doubles don’t really hurt most games. Just going out and playing basketball and doing the thing I’ve done since I was five years old.”

Last year was a tough one with the shortened season with Covid. In some ways that helps the team this year when they have had games postponed, but it is still hard to know what to expect each week.

“We kind of understand that every week is now going to be a little uncertain,” Marshall said. “We do know how to traverse it and not get too high on ourselves, not get too low, keep ourselves where we need to be at. Keep ourselves where we need to be as a team every week and every game.”

Alfred is off to a strong start this year, they are 8-3 on the season, and coming off a win over even while Marshall was out. Marshall is set to return next Tuesday against St. John Fisher, but he knows that them winning while shorthanded was big for the team.

“It’s reassuring to see their hard work pay off with a win over Elmira on Tuesday night,” he said.

The good start to the season put the Saxons in a good position as they are now in league play.

“Getting into conference play now, the wins definitely put us in a position to succeed,” Marshall said. “They have given us a little confidence and shown we can play with anybody and when we do what we can do on the court we can win against anybody.”

For Marshall it’s nice to see the team doing the little things to be successful.

“It just comes down tot he small details and the execution,” Marshall said. “One play makes a one-point win, one-point loss. Our coach Erich Kaempfee really drills that into us every day, makes it so we are doing all the little details. When it comes down to those moments we are ready and we don’t shy away from them and it comes out nice. We have won a couple very nice games.”

The Saxons have some high hopes as they head into the rest of the season.

“The first one is win our conference championship,” Marshall said. “That’s our goal every year with the group of guys we have and with the work we put in, it’s definitely a possibility this year. That’s the goal for every single one of us, win the conference championship, go to the NCAA Tournament.”

While there is no guarantee of what will happen next year Marshall thinks he will use the extra year that everyone got due to Covid last year and return next season.

“Right now I’ thinking of coming back to Alfred,” he said. “I’m an engineering major and they do a four and one to get your MBA. My plan is to come back and do that and I’m lucky enough to be able to continue to play basketball. I’m not 100% certain, but it’s a road map of what I’d like to be doing.”

Getting the extra year is special for the Horseheads graduate.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to play next year because of the Covid,” Marshall said. “I was looking at the four plus one before Covid. It worked out in my favor to be able to get a degree and get a masters in business and be able to play basketball for a fifth year.”

For Marshall it’s nice to potentially be able to play a fifth year, and also put himself in a good position to get a good job after college.

“That’s exactly why I’m trying to get it,” Marshall said. “Hopefully land an engineering internship and use the MBA down the road in the future and tie it all together. Use the leadership skills I’ve learned from basketball as well, hopefully it all intermingles down the road int he future and helps me be successful.”

It’s crazy for Marshall to think he will be graduating soon.

“Everyone says it it’s kind of cliche, but it goes by in an instant,” Marshall said. “All of a sudden high school was over and especially with the Covid time it seems like like time warped and I have a semester left before I graduate. My four years here at college, it goes by in an instant. I’ve got to make the most of every chance I get.”

And, while Marshall is likely to play again next year, here knows that some of his classmates will be done after this year, and he wants to enjoy the time with them.

“With some of my teammates on the team that are my grade, I have been playing with them since freshman year of college,” Marshall said. “I know some of them might not be coming back next year and I’m relishing those moments with them. Just making the memories and having a good time with them.”

One special moment for Marshall the rest of this season will be when Alfred makes a trip to Elmira on Feb. 8.

“I think the last couple of years we played there I had more family members than they had fans there,” Marshall said. “It’s definitely a different environment than playing at Alfred. I get to see a ton of family there and friends and old coaches, they all come out and support me. I love playing there.”
IN TOP PHOTO: Horseheads graduate Brewster Marshall of Alfred. . . PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALFRED ATHLETICS

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