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A fresh-faced phenom

Providence freshman Marcus LoVett Jr. has a drive to succeed, and that has helped fuel the Pioneers to a league title and a possible CIF-championship run.

February 11, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY, jeff.tully@latimes.com

Already a highly touted boys’ basketball prospect when he arrived at Providence High as a freshman prior to the 2011-12 school year, Marcus LoVett Jr. could have sequestered himself in the Pioneers’ gym and concentrated his athletic efforts solely on the hardwood.

And why wouldn’t he?

Although just a freshman, LoVett was getting a lion’s share of interest from major colleges who were interested in the basketball phenom.

But LoVett wanted to immerse himself in the total Providence experience and not limit himself, so he laced up his shoes, put on a Pioneers uniform and made his athletic debut at the school — on the boys’ cross-country team.

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“It was just something that I wanted to do,” said LoVett, who admitted that he didn’t have any previous competitive long-distance running experience. “It was really hard at first, but it was something that I got into and I was glad that I did it.”

Providence cross-country Coach Michelle Boucher was aware of LoVett’s talents on the basketball court when he first came out for the team. She said LoVett worked hard to get acclimated to the sport and eventually turned into a talented runner.

In the Liberty League finals in November, LoVett finished 10th in 16 minutes 25 seconds.

“He is one of the most coachable kids we have ever had at Providence,” Boucher said. “You tell him something, give him advice and say, ‘This is how you go about it,’ and he will do it immediately and follow exactly what you say. It’s pretty incredible.”

LoVett, who is trained by this father, Marcus Sr., was in pretty good shape when he joined the cross-country team, Boucher said.

“His dad told me he could run,” Boucher said. “He’s just a competitive kid and he’s just so talented and athletic that he was able to make himself be successful.”

In light of his cross-country exploits, basketball is LoVett’s sport, and it is on the hardwood where he is making a name for himself.

LoVett is a member of a talented Providence team that has enjoyed a wealth of success this season. The 5-foot-10 guard with cat-like quickness, an innate court awareness and an unrelenting work ethic that has amazed coaches and teammates, said the Pioneers have come together in a relatively short time under first-year Coach Ernest Baskerville.

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