Two of Jeff’s Best Makes For One Of NYC’s Most Exciting Backcourts

Photo courtesy of Madison Basketball Alliance/Joseph Belony

By David Cordova

Throughout the years, there has always been talent coming out of Thomas Jefferson High School in the East New York section of Brooklyn. In the small gym, there has been plenty of talented players from the 1940’s to the present day.

The Orange Wave alumni list includes Hy Gotkin (St. John’s), Harry Boykoff (St. John’s), Leroy Ellis (St. John’s), Sidney Green (UNLV), Tony Jackson (St. John’s), Jim McMillian (Columbia), Phil Sellers (Rutgers) and most recently, David Coley (Stony Brook), Keith Spellman (Midwestern State), Rasheem Dunn (St. Francis) and Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s).

In the present time, there are two young guards that may have a chance to be a part of that list when all is said and done. They are 5-foot-10 freshman Jaquan Carlos and 6-foot-3 sophomore Marcus Burnett.

Carlos is the player that can score and also has a lot of poise as a point guard, given that he is a freshman. Burnett is a scorer who has a long wingspan and is known for attacking the basket.

“[Watching] people that was in front of me at the school, like Shamorie Ponds and Rasheem Dunn, the success they got, makes me want to do better than them,” says Carlos on what motivates him to be successful on the hardwood.

“None of my brothers, or anyone in my family, went Division I, so I want to be one of the first to try and [play] Division I and do what I have to do,” said Burnett on what motivates him.

One thing that both of the Brooklyn natives have in common, is that text-book toughness that one has to have when they come from that borough. “Everybody think that Brooklyn don’t got a lot of good kids [in terms of basketball talent], but we do. [We have players] that’s alright and could go far, so it’s tough, because everybody doubt us from Brooklyn, ’cause they think we don’t have enough talent, but we have a lot of talent in Brooklyn,” said Burnett.

Added Carlos: “Just, you always got an eye on your back and everywhere you go, you’re always going to have, just people on you.”

This season, both players showed a lot of productivity, with Carlos averaging 20.3 points, 6.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game and Burnett averaging 12.2 points per game this season, as they led the Orange Wave to a 21-8 record and an appearance in the PSAL semifinals.

“My freshman year, I made a statement this year, showing that, there’s going to be three more years of this type of basketball at Thomas Jefferson High School,” said Carlos.

And they are being coached by Lawrence “Bud” Pollard, a former player at West Virginia University, who led Jefferson to a PSAL city and state tile in 2016, when Ponds and Dunn were seniors.

When asked about what it’s like playing for Pollard, one of the PSAL’s elite coaches, Burnett replied, “It’s headache, ’cause even though Coach Bud pushes me when I’m down, or tells me I gotta pick it up, cause I didn’t do good in the regular season. It’s very tough playing for Coach Bud, but in the long run, it’s going to help me. That’s just Coach Bud trying to help get me in position to be a better person than I’m leaving.”

On playing in the PSAL Brooklyn AA division, which is the high school version of the Big East, Carlos replied, “I think Brooklyn AA is the toughest league in the city, because there’s no nights off. If you take nights off, you could lose a game.”

This summer, both will be playing for New Heights’ 16U squad on the Under Armour Association circuit. With these two at the guard position, they have a chance to impress a lot of college coaches.

So far, Carlos has received attention from schools such as NC State, St. John’s and Bryant, while Burnett has received attention from Alabama A&M and NC State.

For the next couple of years, with their talent, there is no doubt that the competitive duo will make noise at the school on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York and will lead their school to greater heights. Can they bring the Orange Wave to the championship game in the next couple of seasons? That is a question that will be answered in the future. For now, it’s time for the two to do their thing and continue to improve.

Highlights of Jaquan Carlos & Marcus Burnett:

Courtesy of Guitry TV.

Courtesy of HS Box Scores NYC.

Courtesy of HS Box Scores NYC.

Courtesy of HS Box Scores NYC.

Courtesy of Motivate, Believe, Achieve


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