Rainier Beach will be the third Metro League school in three years for the five-star guard. The guard played at Nathan Hale and Garfield the last two seasons, and the addition of him, as well as former Garfield role player Jamon Kemp, has Beach ranked in USA Today’s Super 25 preseason rankings.
The rumors are true.
Garfield’s boys basketball team did have internal problems leading up to its 2018 Class 3A state championship. Cohesion was an issue as former coach Brandon Roy tried to game-plan for a roster loaded with top-tier players.
But, according to MarJon Beauchamp, that’s not why he ended up at Rainier Beach — his third Metro League high-school in as many years.
In the Beauchamp house, it was mold and apathy eating away at success on and off the court. He and his father, Jon, were constantly sick, they suspect from living in a century-old home in the Central District, and MarJon was unmotivated in class.
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So, his father, a single parent, moved to the South End in April.
“Basketball was the furthest thing from this,” said Jon Beauchamp, a former radio personality who works in customer relations in Bellevue. “We needed to get whatever was going on about the school worked out. Because a failure there is a failure all the way around. Period.”
Seattle Public Schools has open enrollment. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules say students are eligible to compete at a different school if they move into the school’s boundary. Beauchamp was cleared last week.
The Vikings weren’t pegged as a contender after losing leading-scorer Kevin Porter Jr., who plays at USC, guard Tre Anderson, who’s at the University of San Francisco and Freddie Roberson, a football player at Eastern Washington. The trio accounted for 58 of the Vikings’ 63 points in the overtime loss to Garfield at state.
But once former Garfield role player Jamon Kemp announced his transfer to Beach midsummer along with Beauchamp, the outlook for Rainier Beach changed. Garfield also saw Tari Eason and Pierre Crockrell Jr. leave for Federal Way, and Roy stepped aside from coaching for the 2018-19 season.
Beach is 19th in the nation in USA Today’s Super 25 preseason rankings and are again a favorite to win state.
“Of course it’s exciting when you get to coach top-notch players,” longtime Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “My approach is still the same. Come March, we plan on being there regardless of who we have. Talent-wise, though, I would rank this a notch below the 2014 (championship) team. That was a really special team with Dejounte Murray and Shaqquan Aaron and all of those guys.”
It might be surprising to hear Beauchamp regarded so highly when he only logged 12 minutes in the state title game for Garfield. As a freshman on Nathan Hale’s Class 3A championship team, Beauchamp didn’t play in the title game.
The Yakima native was spotted as an eighth grader as special.
His father was a multisport star at Davis and played basketball at EWU and Highline College. Jon passed on his shooting touch to MarJon, who’s developed to be a 6-foot-6 combo-guard. The AAU circuit is where MarJon earned his five-star recruiting rating.
Jon admits he moved from Yakima to Seattle to have his son coached by Roy at Nathan Hale. But the family didn’t need Seattle in order to get noticed.
“I’m just trying to pick the best place for me and my future,” said Beauchamp, who has offers from schools such as Arizona, Washington and Marquette. “(Last year), everyone was trying to go for their stats and not team stats. At Beach, the chemistry is way better than at Garfield. It’s early, but we play well together.”
Having longtime friend Kenny Curtis at the point has helped Beauchamp and Kemp, a 6-6 forward, get acclimated. Curtis is in his third season playing in Bethea’s system and is a more vocal floor-leader to open the season.
Ideally, Beauchamp would replace Porter’s scoring output. Kemp would be the No. 2 option offensively while Micah Monroe and Stevie Smith fill in any gaps.
Rainier Beach opens its season at Seattle Prep on Friday.
“Last year we focused on Kevin and Tre,” Curtis said. “This year, I feel everyone can score. We just need to play great defense because the offense is going to be there.”