If sports fans know anything about legendary college basketball coach John Chaney, they would remember he was all about defense at Temple University. I don’t recall many Temple Owls basketball games topping 60 points while Chaney patrolled the bench there at McGongile Hall.
But Coach Chaney knew he had a phenom when McDonald’s All-American Mark Macon, of Saginaw, Mich., arrived in North Philadelphia, Pa. in the fall of 1987. Macon was named Mr. Basketball of the state of Michigan that year and while he could play suffocating defense, he could just as easily light you up offensively.
Freshman of the Year 1988
Freshmen just aren’t supposed to do what Mark Macon did his first year in college. Led by Howard Evans, Nate Blackwell and Tim Perry, the Temple Owls were good, actually very good, during the 1986-1987 season. The Owls went 32-4 that year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
So you wouldn’t expect a freshman to contribute much the next season to a team like that, right?
Despite the departure of key senior leadership, Temple was better the next season with freshman Mark Macon in the fold. Led by Macon, the 34-2 Owls were ranked No. 1 the majority of the year and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight. The defensive-minded Chaney had so much faith in his 6-foot-5, 185 pound freshman he allowed him to shoot 29 times (6-for-23) in his team’s heartbreaking defeat to the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament.
For the year, Macon averaged 20.6 points on his way to capturing the Freshman of the Year award.
Where is He Now?
Mark Macon finished his collegiate career at Temple as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,609 points and all-time steals leader with 281 in his four years. Besides the 1987-1988 season, he also led the Owls to the Elite Eight his senior year in 1990-1991. He was selected No. 8 by the Detroit Pistons in the 1991 NBA Draft with lofty expectations by pro scouts.
However, Macon just didn’t see the same open looks at the basket at the NBA level he saw in college. And when he did, the former collegiate gunner struggled with his shots. For his unspectacular NBA career, he averaged only 6.7 points a game with a horrendous .387 shooting percentage in six seasons with the Pistons and Denver Nuggets.
But under the tutelage of Coach Chaney, Mark Macon learned the game, and he’s now a college coach.
In the fall of 2010, he begins his fourth year at Binghamton University and second as head coach of the Bearcats. Before becoming an assistant at Binghamton in 2007, Macon spent three years on the bench at his alma mater with his mentor Chaney as well as one season at Georgia State University.
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