MarJon Beauchamp is here
Breaking down MarJon Beauchamp's journey to the Milwaukee Bucks
The emotion instantly poured out of MarJon Beauchamp from the moment NBA commissioner Adam Silver called his name Thursday night. The Milwaukee Bucks selected Beauchamp with 24th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, making their first 1st round pick in four years in the process.
Beauchamp’s visceral, raw reaction to seeing his dream become a reality was worthy of tears. His path to the NBA is one of hardships, adversity and perseverance. It’s also one that can only have occurred in this post-pandemic, post-amateurism world we currently live in.
It wasn’t as if Beauchamp was unheard of or unheralded as a recruit as he traveled from four high schools across the state of Washington before finishing his time at Dream City Christian School in Glendale, Arizona. Per RSCI’s rankings, Beauchamp was tied for the 46th-best recruit in the 2020 class. He earned scholarship offers from big-name programs across the country, including Washington, UCLA and Arizona, but decided to eschew all of that by focusing on the 2021 NBA Draft and joining a training program called Chameleon BX, a program designed by trainer Frank Mastrisciano and was based in San Francisco.
Beauchamp was the first to jump on board with Matrisciano and he recently told Andscape’s Marc Spears what he wanted out of going through with such a risky venture:
“I didn’t think I was going to come into college and just really be an X factor,” Beauchamp said. “I was skinny. I didn’t weigh that much. So, I went to the Chameleon BX one time, trained, and I was like, ‘Damn. I feel like this can really get my body prepared and stuff like that.’ I know [skeptics] questioned my not playing and stuff, but I was really focused on my body. …
“The best part of it was really just the workouts was really getting me prepared. But the workouts were so tough that you got to be mentally strong to really get through that. I feel like that really built my mentality to really be like I can do anything. And that’s the good part. And I gained like, 30 pounds.”
The intent and vision Beauchamp had in forgoing college basketball were extinguished once COVID erupted stateside. The restrictions in California made finding facilities extremely tough for Beauchamp and co. to train beyond the workouts Mastrisciano constructed. The same went for the coaches that Matrisciano had originally lined up to help these prospects and grow their game as well as the indoor facilities that were barred for public use. Beauchamp went back home to Yakima, Washington either in late 2020 or early 2021 without a backup plan, outside of reexploring possible college options again, though academic eligibility issues loomed.
With no outlet or platform to develop further, in large part due to the pandemic, Beauchamp’s love of basketball was tested significantly. He has talked openly about how he almost quit basketball, but his grandmother urged him not to.
If not for enrolling at Yakima Valley Community College in the spring of 2021, where he went on to play a shortened season with the Yaks, Beauchamp wouldn’t have made it all the way here. Being back at home helped him get back on the radar on the college level, scouts and ultimately, the G League Ignite, through the help of program manager Rod Strickland. Beauchamp reportedly even took $75,000 to join the Ignite program, which was quite the step down from some of the six-digit offers the G League has offered to other high-level recruits. Beauchamp’s successful stint with the Ignite rejuvenated his standing his prospect, to the point where he now is Milwaukee bound and will earn life-changing money for the years to come.
Beauchamp’s journey certainly mirrors the Bucks’ own direction in a post-COVID world. With a 53-12 record at the time the NBA went silent following Rudy Gobert’s watershed positive case during the 2019-20 season, Milwaukee struggled to reclaim that magic once play resumed down in the bubble at Disney World.
They played in a bleak bubble environment in Orlando that tested the strength of every coach, player and handful of writers that saw out the rest of the season. The Bucks looked dispirited, especially after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha that prompted the Bucks’ historic boycott in the first round of the playoffs. They were eventually bounced out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat in that year’s Conference Semifinals, amid all sorts of questions over the future of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The rest, as they say, is history. Antetokounmpo stayed the course and stayed in Milwaukee by signing the richest contract in NBA history. The Bucks made the massive move to trade for Jrue Holiday and subsequently made key depth additions like Bobby Portis and the midseason move for P.J. Tucker. Through hell and highwater, the Bucks battled through tough tests and incredible adversity throughout last year’s playoff run and eventually won their second NBA championship in franchise history and first in 50 years.
It’s true Beauchamp’s fit within Milwaukee’s isn’t the cleanest, with questions over his outside shooting ability lingering over anything else he brings to the floor. The Bucks have historcially placed a premium on spacing and shooting around Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Khris Middleton and Beauchamp has a long way to prove to himself and opposing defenses that he is a real threat.
But the intangibles, toughness, athleticism and work ethic that Beauchamp brings to the table makes it very easy to see why the Bucks’ brass tabbed him at #24. Nevermind the fact that they can always use the positional versatility. Beauchamp’s path only hardened him further and his adaptability has certainly informed his development as he enters the pros.
So much of Beauchamp’s story could have gone a different way, one in which doesn’t end with him being selected with the 24th overall pick. He, Dyson Daniels and Jaden Hardy will be looked as the next crop of prospects to be drafted into the pros from G League Ignite and a model for why other high-level recruits should go down that route.
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Yet, Beauchamp’s story and hurdles are so uniquely his own that the manner in which he overcame them in such a small time frame makes it that much more remarkable. Beauchamp may have succeeded through those obstacles, but the same may not be said for his Chameleon BX counterparts or for fellow prospects who have had promising careers that have been disrupted by the pandemic in some way.
To paraphrase a quote from a great Milwaukee philosopher, some see a wall and go the other direction. In the case of MarJon Beauchamp, he plowed through it.