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Reid Marks Looks to Deliver Gold at Upcoming JCC Maccabi Games

 Reid Marks, who played basketball for Gordon Tech, will play hoops in the upcoming Maccabi Games in Orange County, Calif.
Reid Marks
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GOLD COAST — Reid Marks was born in 1997, but his path to the JCC Maccabi Games started 10 years before that.

His father, Seth, played guard on a basketball team from the Chicago area in the 1987 Games, which bring together Jewish athletes from around the world. Seth Marks' squad lost in the semifinals, and he has never forgotten.

"He's finishing an unfinished job in the family," Seth Marks said of his son, 16, who also is a guard.

Reid's mother, Meredith, said her husband was talking about the Games "even before we had children."

"I guess my husband will be living vicariously through Reid," she said jokingly from the family's Gold Coast condominium.

Reid will compete for the Team Chicago 16-and-under basketball squad, of which he is the lone player on the nine-member roster from the Windy City.

The club was selected after multiple tryouts in Skokie. Reid, a 6-foot-1 sharpshooter, likely will start at point guard for Team Chicago.

"My dad really wanted me to do this, and I'm excited," Reid said. "I've been working hard every day — training, lifting, running — to prepare for this."

Reid honed his hoops craft over the past season as a sophomore at Gordon Tech High School.

After a freshman season at Ogden International School of Chicago, Reid transferred to the Catholic school in part because of his father's longtime relationship with Rams first-year coach Tom Kleinschmidt. Seth Marks had met Kleinschmidt, arguably the best player in Gordon Tech history, when Kleinschmidt was an assistant coach at DePaul University under Jerry Wainwright, who coached Marks at Highland Park High School.

Reid, whose parents are both Jewish, said attending a Catholic school was a "little bit weird" at first, but after "two to three weeks, I started to settle in and feel comfortable."

"It was the best situation that combined academics and athletics," said Meredith Marks, who coincidentally graduated from Jesuit institution Loyola University and also is a Latin School of Chicago alum.

"The religious issue was not such an issue," she added. "The study of religion is not necessarily teaching you what to be, it's about learning about different types of religions."

Reid is not the only JCC Maccabi Games athlete to come from a Chicago-area Catholic school. His basketball teammate, Jonathan Kagan, is a junior-to-be at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, while his former Gordon Tech classmate, Greysen Sanchez, is on the Team Chicago baseball team.

Kleinschmidt said Reid was the Rams' top scorer on the sophomore squad, for which he averaged about 15 points per game. He noted Reid had a good chance to crack the starting lineup as a junior, but the Markses are moving to Park City, Utah, next month because Seth Marks started a new job in nearby Salt Lake City.

"From the time he got here to the time he left, his game grew by leaps and bounds," Kleinschmidt said of Reid. "I love the family. I love the kid. It's a tough loss for us and our program."

The JCC Maccabi Games, which take place in two sites over five days each year, begin Sunday in Austin, Texas. Reid's club's games will occur in Orange County, Calif., beginning Aug. 4.

In Southern California, Reid plans to have fun, but he has a simple goal.

"We're going down there to win it all," he said.