College Athlete of the Week


Modesto JC basketball

In a 61-50 loss at Delta on Jan. 29, the 6-foot-9-inch sophomore center scored 11 points, blocked eight shots and snagged eight rebounds in about 30 minutes of play. At Sierra on Feb. 1, Jefferson had 30 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks in an 81-67 victory. He leads the Big 8 Conference in rebounds (10.7) and blocks (4.5).

PARENTS: Daphne Crowell and Marvin Jefferson Sr.

HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL: Merced/Golden Valley

ON HIS WEEK: "This is a turning point in our season. We've been waiting a long time for it to happen where the team is finally starting to click. I feel like the better I play, the better the team plays. The better I'm getting, the better we'll be."

ON HIS CAREER: Jefferson sat out last year to pursue balance, concentrating on school and working out after an overwhelming freshman year in which he juggled school, basketball and work. "It was extremely frustrating last year. It would have been the perfect team if I would have played. We were missing a big man, an inside presence. With me watching and them going out in the first round of playoffs, I felt like I should be helping them, that I let the team down. But it benefited me because I'm so much more mature than I was my freshman year. I'm a lot bigger, a lot stronger, my game has developed a whole lot more. I'm definitely getting more looks from Division I schools."

GOALS: "Short-term, I'm really focusing on the season. Lately I've been feeling like I've spent more time at MJC than anywhere else. I went to four different high schools. I was only at Golden Valley for two years. I feel like this is almost like home now. I just want this season to mean something. I don't want to walk out of it with a bad record or not make playoffs. Right now I can't really see myself doing anything but basketball.

I want to take it as far as I can and hopefully make money doing it, overseas or in the NBA."

MAJOR: Undeclared. "I'm leaning toward business. I'm thinking about majoring in history, though, too. It's my favorite subject."

FAVORITE ATHLETE: "Kevin Garnett. He's a big man that can do it all. When he's on the court, he controls everything. That's how I feel my game should be. He's a great defender, the overall package, the ideal player I want to be. I even have his poster up on a wall in my room."