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Clarke “Feels Like Family” for Rockford Recruit

By Clarke News  |  January 9, 2023

Growing up in Rockford, Illinois, Makarious “Biggie” Luster was born with a love of basketball. He felt at home on the court and his teams were like a second family to him. Biggie wanted that experience to carry on into college, and a former teammate knew just where he should go. 

“Kyler Hayes played for Clarke and he’d come home and train with me in the summers. Every day, we’d be working out and he’d tell me a little more about his experience and why he liked Clarke,” Biggie said. “I decided to visit Clarke and everyone was just so welcoming. I barely knew anyone coming here, but everyone I met went out of their way to introduce themselves. I felt like they took me in and embraced me for who I am.” 

Joining a team helped Biggie settle in quickly at Clarke and find a group of friends, but his positive experiences weren’t just limited to the court. As a Sport Management major, he’s connected with classmates and professors who share his love of athletics.  

“My favorite professor is Terri Stratta. She’s cool and understanding too,” Biggie said. “There are times when I’ve been traveling with the team and needed help on an assignment, and she’s texted or gotten on the phone with me. Terri’s always there for you, and a lot of the professors are like that.” 

“The MARC is a really great resource, too,” Biggie added. “They’ve helped me with a couple of my essays and they have study groups you can go to. There are lots of other resources around the school – you just need to reach out.” 

Now a sophomore at Clarke, Biggie is also trying to help the next generation of students, just like Kyler did for him.  

“One of my closest friends from back home came this year and Clarke has been so good for both of us,” Biggie said. “Coming from Rockford, college is always a “what-if.” It’s not a guarantee. I want to show kids in Rockford that it’s possible, and Clarke helped me do that. It’s an amazing place. It feels like a family here.”