Marcus Colbert has heard the talk, some of it directly to him from Montana State University.
Had the Post Falls senior, who signed with MSU in November, been in Bozeman, Mont., this year, he would be challenging for a starting job and at the very least be playing quite a bit.
That’s all good, but the four-year starter has some unfinished business. He wants to hang a second State 5A championship banner in the school’s gym.
He had a big role in the first title as a sophomore, averaging 14.5 points per game. But in reality, that championship belonged to his brother, Malcolm, and Shawn Reid. Both were seniors that season. Both are playing college ball, Reid at MSU and Malcolm at the University of Puget Sound. Another starter on that team, Connor Hill, then a junior, is at Idaho.
Post Falls (19-3), ranked No. 1 through the first month of the season and second in the final poll, heads to state as one of two favorites. On the other side of the bracket, Borah of Boise (22-1), which is on a 20-game winning streak, is the other favorite.
Colbert has been surrounded by some other talented players this year. Seniors Michael Hillman, Luke Thoreson and Seth Anderson all will be playing in college next year.
The Trojans aren’t as gifted as the team two years ago, but this group has enough fire power to capture another state championship.
The straw that stirs the drink is Colbert.
He’s a combination of flashy, combative and fierce on the court. Some might argue he applies too much mustard to his hot dog.
No matter. He gets the job done. He has been involved in more wins and games than any player in school history. The Trojans are 80-19 during Colbert’s career. His first game at state Thursday will be his 100th.
“Marcus is a dynamic person. That is the way I would describe him,” PF coach Mike McLean said. “He’s a fierce competitor on the court. Off the court he plays with my children and wrestles around with them. He’s a better person than watching him on the court. He’s fun loving, happy and a momma’s boy.”
When Colbert heard the comment about being a momma’s boy, he abruptly filed a dispute. He said McLean said that as a joke to tease him.
“I love my mom and she definitely runs the house, but I’m not a momma’s boy,” Colbert said.
Opposing coaches respect Colbert’s talents.
“He’s a winner,” Lake City coach Jim Winger said. “I can honestly say, even back to when he was a freshman, that the way we’ve approached Post Falls is it’s always about defending him. I think we’ve done some good things against him, but he always seems to come through, especially down the stretch. He’s cocky, which I appreciate. It’s backed up with confidence. I have a ton of respect for him as a basketball player. He will do well in college basketball.”
Colbert has 1,398 career points, second all-time. He’s within reach of the school record, but McLean didn’t want to know how close Colbert is to the mark published.
“It’s something we don’t talk about as a program,” McLean said.
Colbert’s resume is nothing short of impressive. He averaged 8.4 points as a freshman and that nearly doubled to 16.4 by his junior season. He has been an Inland Empire League season champion or co-champion three consecutive years and qualified for state all four years. He has been an All-IEL first-team pick once and will likely be the league’s most valuable player this season. He’s also been first team All-State once.
“I play as hard as I can all the time,” Colbert said. “I try to do whatever I can to get our team to win.”
McLean has no doubt where Colbert stands this season on a state level.
“People are going to say I’m bias because I’m his coach, but he is without a doubt the best player in the state,” McLean said.
“What all of our players hear from me is the word legacy, and Marcus along with his teammates have left their legacy thus far this year. We only worry about putting banners up in our gym – either league, regional or state banners. That is what legacy means to us and Marcus really bought into that mindset.”
There’s no doubt Colbert has left a big thumbprint on the Trojans’ program. More than anything he wants three more wins.
“This is my senior year and that’s how I want to end it,” he said. “It’s crazy that my career is a week from being over. We’re going to do everything in our power to bring back another state title.”