The Easterner

Basketball alum Marc Axton is an Eagle for life

Photo+courtesy+of+EWU+Athletics.
Photo courtesy of EWU Athletics.

Photo courtesy of EWU Athletics.

Photo courtesy of EWU Athletics.

By Michael Brock, Sports Editor

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Former EWU men’s basketball player Marc Axton was a crucial piece of Eastern basketball from 2002-2005, four of the most successful seasons in program history.  The Eagles won 60 games in Axton’s time at the school, and gained first-ever berths in both the NCAA Tournament (2004) and the National Invitation Tournament (2003).

Individually, Axton was the conference Freshman of the Year and was named all-Big Sky in his final three seasons. He was also All-Academic in the Big Sky twice. Heading into the 2017-18 season, Axton still ranked highly in multiple school marks for his career, including: threes made (4th), games played (5th), free throws made (8th), points scored (11th) and rebounds (13th).

Axton’s greatest claim to fame though may have been his work ethic. He started 99 straight games for the Eagles, beginning with the final 10 of his freshman campaign. Axton famously never missed a practice or game in his career, an impressive feat in a sport with so many nagging or lingering ailments.

“I wanted to be out there competing every day,” Axton recently told The Easterner. “That was my goal, to try and give our team the best opportunity to win.”

Axton also met his wife Krystn while at EWU. In 2005, he graduated from EWU with a business  administration degree. After four years with the Eagles, the 6-foot-7 forward out of Tacoma played seven years professionally overseas, including stops in Finland, Spain and France.

The first two of Marc and Krystn’s four children were born in Spain, and Axton said his family went back last summer to meet up with friends that still live there. Looking back now, Axton equates playing professional basketball as “being retired before actually working.”

“Living overseas you’re able to be with new cultures, understand their way of living and really enjoy your time there,” said Axton. “I will always value that.”

In 2011, Axton decided to retire from basketball, unsure of what to do next. He considered a number of opportunities, including assistant coaching, but the necessary time commitment didn’t appear worth missing out on family time.

Ultimately, Axton was hired as a lead sales representative for Mitek Sports Medicine in Arizona. After three years in the orthopedic field, he took a position at Cardinal Heath in Spokane, where he is now a sales representative providing products and services to hospitals in the surrounding area.

“I think being in that team atmosphere for so long in basketball, it really helps,” said Axton. “Working with a team in sales and just knowing and helping each other out, those are probably the biggest things. And also having that work ethic of showing up and working hard.”

Now, Axton gets his basketball fix by participating in Hoopfest, the annual 3-on-3 extravaganza held in Spokane. He’s played in two festivals so far, with his team placing second in 2016 and first last summer in the Men’s Over 6’ Elite division. EWU alum Parker Kelly plays for the same team.

“It’s definitely just for fun, but I’m able to keep that competitive spirit up,” said Axton. “I still love the game. I always will.”

Axton attends EWU games when he can, and first-year head coach Shantay Legans said the former Eagle still comes and plays pickup with the current players from time-to-time.

“He works hard at everything he does, so it’s great to have him out as much as we can,” Legans told The Easterner. “He does everything the way we want to. After college he went to play pro ball. And then after that he’s got a great job and he’s got a family. So it’s a good barometer for our guys to look at.”

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Basketball alum Marc Axton is an Eagle for life