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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Markell Lodge has the ‘It Factor’


Lodge’s presence is undeniable on the court

Currently at 9 wins to 10 losses overall, and 2-5 within the Atlantic 10 (A-10) Conference, the St. Joe’s men’s basketball team has seen better days.

At the start of the season, Markell Lodge ’19 was playing minimal minutes. In November, Lodge played a total of  26 minutes in seven games. In December, Lodge saw a rise in his time on the court from 26 minutes to 58 minutes.

This increase in minutes coincided with a 92-82 win over Princeton University and a 45-42 win over Loyola-Chicago University. With 88 minutes thus far in the month of January, Lodge is seeing the an uptick in the amount of minutes he plays.

If you watch the men’s basketball games on a fairly consistent basis, you will notice the change.

Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, the moment Lodge stands from the bench, removes his warm-ups and trots to the scorers table, the atmosphere in Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena begins to change.

The heads of those in the student section turn. Applause and screams arise from their throats because they know that something special may happen in the next few minutes.

For the few minutes that Lodge is on the court, he is the team. The team may not run through him. He may not have the ball in his hands. But he is the team.

When you think of the ideal teammate, the ideal player to support, what characteristics come to mind? Hustler? Supportive? Hardworking?

Lodge is all of these and more.

Looking at the stat line after a game, you may not notice Lodge even played. He averages 2.2 points per game and has yet to have a double-digit scoring game this season. He averages 2.5 rebounds per game, nothing to brag about.

If you watch a Hawks men’s basketball game, or, better yet, are in attendance for a game, you know Lodge. He runs the fastest, jumps the highest, and has the most electric highlight reel of any player this season, even if the statistics might not match up.

How can one define Lodge? He is the heart and soul of this team. Lodge is the first player to go for a rebound every time a shot goes up, offensively and defensively. Lodge is hustling the hardest down the court after a turn over to ensure that an easy bucket is not given up. Lodge is the player that everyone else knows they can toss the ball up to for an alley-oop dunk at any moment because he is always ready.

Opponents are afraid of him when taking a shot or going for a layup. Why? Because his vertical leap is one of the highest in the NCAA. It was recorded his sophomore year that he had the St. Joe’s men’s basketball programs highest vertical leap at 39 inches.

He seems to be beat out by only Duke University’s Zion Williamson, whose vertical leap is 40 inches high.

With the season of the Hawks in disarray, it is Lodge that needs to be leaned on for the remainder of the season. With Lodge’s collegiate career coming to an end after this season, the Hawks must take advantage of him while they can.

Scoring is not a crucial aspect of Lodge’s game. Some may argue that is why he is not playing. That is why he shouldn’t be playing.

I argue differently.

It is the little moments that Lodge brings to this team that are the reason he should be on the court. From the pick-and-rolls he completes with Jared Bynum ’22 and Chris Clover ’19 to the timeout handshake he has with Charlie Brown ’20, it is clear to fans around Hagan that Lodge is an integral component of our team.

There are 11 games left in the Hawks’ regular season. If this team wants to do well in the A-10 tournament; if this team wants a chance at making a run for the NCAA Tournament, they must take advantage of the man that is Lodge.

If Lodge consistently plays 25 minutes or more, he will be able to influence the success of the team in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

The St. Joe’s fanbase is looking for someone to give us hope onto when we are below .500 midway through the season. Lodge brings energy and excitement.

Lodge is one of the most experienced players on the team. He has felt what it means to win and win big.

Say what you will about Lodge not being a great shooter, that is fair. But do not tell me he should not be playing a larger role on this team. If you pay attention to the interactions and chemistry of this team, both on and off the court, Lodge has the ‘It factor.’

I, for one, will continue to stand and scream and cheer when Lodge enters the game because I know that something big, something exciting is about to happen. I hope you stand too.

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