Detroit Pistons: Marcus Sasser is “Dallas Royalty” on both ends

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 13: Marcus Sasser #25 of the Detroit Pistons poses for a portrait during the 2023 NBA rookie photo shoot at UNLV on July 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 13: Marcus Sasser #25 of the Detroit Pistons poses for a portrait during the 2023 NBA rookie photo shoot at UNLV on July 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Many fans didn’t know much about Marcus Sasser before being drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 25th pick. His journey on the hardwood started as a toddler when he would go to the gym on Saturdays to watch his father and uncles play. His grandfather would occasionally make an appearance, showcasing his long range marksmanship, leaving everyone in awe with his ability to shoot deep, well beyond the long line.

His upbringing and family structure molded him into the player he is today, and a likely candidate for playing time as a rookie. He’s the perfect complementary guard you would want long term next to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. The log jam at the guard position could be a blessing in disguise, giving him time to get acclimated to the system before being thrown into the rotation.

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When his time comes watch out, he’s another Dallas/Fort Worth native ready to make his mark in the association. Cade is also from Dallas, giving them a hometown connection within the locker room. This could help him with any chance of getting homesick as he adjust to life outside of Texas. With his mental toughness and work ethic I don’t see that being a issue.

Detroit Pistons: Marcus Sasser is “Dallas Royalty” scoring the basketball is in his blood…

He caught the NBA’s attention with his 40 point outburst where he shot 16/25 from the field in the Summer League finale. This performance was the highlight of the Detroit Pistons Summer League. He was showcasing the three level scoring prowess that led him to become a first round pick.

Marcus Sasser is a third generation bucket, he comes from a bloodline that’s been synonymous with high school hoops in the Dallas area for several decades. Marcus’ scoring touch comes from his father and grandfather, and he inherited it at birth. The Sasser name is considered “Dallas Royalty” by many locals in that area, it’s safe to say the four year Houston Cougar is living up to his name.

His mother once told a story about a game in the summer before his junior year of high school, when a coach was disgruntled with his play, she recalled him stating “I don’t understand this, I never seen a Sasser pass the ball so much, Sasser’s shoot” in reference to the name recognition the young man carried. Soon after that he went on to rain buckets the next few possessions for his team, causing his coach to call a timeout. She stated the coach said ” that’s how Sasser’s play do you hear me, you shoot the ball” laughing while reflecting on his early years. His mother believes this was a moment that helped build his confidence, understanding of his family legacy, and a offensive problem on the court.

If scoring is genetics, where did he get his defensive mindset?

When Marcus Sasser arrived at Houston University he already showed tenaciousness on both ends of the floor. As a freshman he obviously wasn’t the defensive player he became, hard work and dedication led to his success during his stint. The family structure of the team is what sold Sasser on the school, after receiving a surprise birthday party at Head Coach Kelvin Sampson’s residence. Sampson saw the potential of a player he deemed a silent assassin for the way he leads by example and quiet demeanor.

Under the tutelage of Sampson’s coaching staff he emerged as a high level point of attack defender. As a freshman he averaged 0.6 steals per game, by his senior year he was swiping 1.6 steals a night. His highest year was the 2021-22 season when he averaged 2.2 steals, however he only played in 12 games due to injury. Many of these forced turnovers are a direct result of his instinctual habits, Sasser an exceptional player anticipating action and reacting defensively.

The growth he showed helped pave the way for one of the most stifling defenses in the program’s history, along with a Final Four appearance during his time there. Kelvin Sampson is a tough old school coach who demands a defensive commitment from players. He held Sasser accountable for mistakes, while providing his expertise and the adequate tools to make the necessary improvements. This helped create one of the most versatile, two way guards in the draft class. He prepared him for the next level, as he did with several recent other picks such as Jerace Walker, Quentin Grimes turning Houston University into a collegiate powerhouse.

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