For the past two years, Marshall Moses has thoroughly enjoyed his life as a professional basketball player – in Turkey.
His contract ended there in May, and the Aiken native has had offers from France, Greece, Spain and Finland.
“But I want to go back to Turkey,” Moses, 25, said cheerfully, while visiting his parents, Ben and Margaret. “There’s such a great level of basketball there, the best I’ve come around.”
A 6-foot-7-inch power forward, he has enjoyed a productive career – playing three years at Aiken High School, and finishing high school in Winston-Salem, where he lived with his AAU coach. Moses then spent four years at Oklahoma State University before moving overseas.
His dad and older brother, Brandon, also played basketball in college. His father grew up in Sumter and played at USC Aiken. Moses loved his three years at Aiken High.
He didn’t get serious about basketball until his sophomore year, yet he had gotten involved with AAU as an eighth-grader. He traveled extensively to many states, joined often by his parents.
Moses was delighted to get a chance to play at Oklahoma State. He set a school record for power forward – going 13-13 in one game. The Cowboys made the NCAA tournament twice and once made the Sweet Sixteen.
He got an unexpected bonus with the Oklahoma City Thunder arriving from Seattle. Kevin Durant started coming to the college games.
Moses got an opportunity to train with the Thunder – including players like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kendrick Perkins.
“They really liked my game,” Moses said, “but they didn’t want to give me minutes.”
He then ventured to Europe and, with the help of his agent, landed with a Polish team. He didn’t stay long, and Moses and his wife, Kyra, settled in Rouen City, France, for a year. He didn’t have to try out; his new team simply looked at his stats.
“France’s basketball is more structured, more defense-oriented,” Moses said. “It was a big adjustment to get used to the physical level, even though I played in the Big 12 for four years.”
Americans may not realize that basketball is huge in France, Moses said. The stands were always full, and the team played more than 50 games – some of them in Spain and Italy.
He then signed up with a Turkish team – the only one that would give him a two-year contract. Again, he welcomed the high level of skill, and appreciated playing with other Americans from such schools as the University of Massachusetts, Oregon State, the University of Houston and UCLA.
The Turkish fans “are friendly and are open to new things,” Moses said. “It’s a Muslim country, and they love Muhammad Ali.”
Moses readily acknowledges the unrest in Turkey, but lived nowhere near those areas. There was never a time when he didn’t feel safe for his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
He will remain in Aiken with his family for another week. As long as he remains healthy, Moses would like to play basketball overseas until the age of 36 or so.
“I really want to see the world,” he said.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.
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