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North Clayton's Stackhouse, Hunt stayed focused on academics

Photo by Derrick Mahone North Clayton guard/forward Marcus Hunt (left) and his mother, Larisa Georges, share a laugh prior to the senior all-state players signing his letter-of-intent to play basketball for Georgia Tech on Wednesday in the school’s gymnasium. 

Photo by Derrick Mahone North Clayton guard/forward Marcus Hunt (left) and his mother, Larisa Georges, share a laugh prior to the senior all-state players signing his letter-of-intent to play basketball for Georgia Tech on Wednesday in the school’s gymnasium. 

Each of the coaches, teachers and administrators that got up to share a story about Mariah Stackhouse and Marcus Hunt didn’t dwell on their athletic prowess.

The speakers told about the academic accomplishments that landed them scholarships to two of the most prestigious academic schools in the country. On the first day of the early signing period Wednesday, Stackhouse signed a golf scholarship with Stanford while a couple seats away, Hunt put his signature on a basketball scholarship to Georgia Tech.

“These two have been leaders in this school,” North Clayton principal James Wilburn told the large gathering of students in the school’s gymnasium.

“They signed these scholarships not only because of their athletic success, but because of the work they have done in the classroom,” North Clayton basketball coach Martisse Troup said. “This is a great day for North Clayton High School.”

Stackhouse is one of the top amateur golfers in the country. She has played in tournaments all over the world, and has rubbed elbows with some well-known celebrities.

All at the same time, she has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, which includes some Advanced Placement classes.

“I’ve had to sacrifice some time with my friends to work on golf and my studies,” Stackhouse said. “But it has paid off with this scholarship. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Said her father, Ken Stackhouse, who introduced the game of golf to his oldest child at a young age: “I’m much more proud of her academics. My wife and I have placed a lot of emphasis on the academics. She has exceeded our expectations in both areas.”

For Hunt, who is considered one of the top basketball players in the nation, he had to get his studies before his mother would allow him to play. During the offseason, the 6-foot-5 guard/forward would hold 6 a.m. workouts with his father.

“I was always pushed by my parents,” said Hunt, who sports a 3.2 grade-point average. “I wanted to succeed. I just kept pushing for it.”

Last season, Hunt averaged 26.2 points, 15 rebounds and four assists in leading North Clayton to the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs. He was named the Clayton News Daily Clayton County Player of the Year in addition to making several all-state teams.

“I’m very proud of my son,” Larisa Georges said of Hunt. “It’s always been no grades, no basketball. He has done a great job.”

Stackhouse played in the U.S. Open this past summer. She said it was in the sixth grade that she realize that she could actually go to college to play the game she loves.

Since the sixth grade, she had always wanted to go to Duke, but a visit to the Stanford campus over the summer was the clincher.

“I walked on the Stanford campus, and thought it couldn’t get any better than this,” Stackhouse said. “I knew from that point that I wanted to go to Stanford.”