Indiana guard Remy Abell will be matched against his Eastern High teammate Arman Marks when IU plays James Madison Friday.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDRB) – The first thing Arman Marks checked when he returned to the locker room after James Madison won its first-round NCAA Tournament game Wednesday night was his cell phone.
There it was: A text message from his best friend from Eastern High School Remy Abell.
The message was simple: "Let's Gooooooo!"
On Thursday they will go: Marks and James Madison, a 16 seed, against Abell and Indiana, the one seed in the East Regional. The game is scheduled to tip around 4:10 p.m. (EDT) at the University of Dayton Arena.
"It's an amazing experience," said Marks. "I can't really think of another word. I'm ecstatic about it. When I came out of high school, playing in the NCAA Tournament was one of my goals – to get here and make a run.
"I can't say that I never thought that I would be because I'm a competitor. It's going to be an amazing experience to get to play against him."
"It's very exciting playing against a high school teammate," Abell said. "He's somebody I've played with for a long time."
Any trash talk between friends?
Said Marks, "I just texted him back and said, ‘Let's do this buddy.' We're very good friends. It will be great to see him again."
Marks and Abell were two of the four Division I recruits from Eastern's powerful 2011 team. Kameron Woods plays for Butler. Lyonell Gaines is a sophomore at IUPUI.
"It's great seeing everybody be successful," Abell said.
Abell serves as Indiana's seventh man. Marks, who grew up a fan of the Louisville Cardinals, has played in only eight games this season, averaging 1 point and 1 rebound. But his family has claimed all four of his complimentary tickets for the game. They're excited. So is he.
A 16 seed has never toppled a top seed in this event. This would be a first.
"It's what you've been envisioning ever since you were young," Marks said. "It would be an overwhelming feeling. We'll see what happens."