NORTHPORT — Tuscaloosa Academy guard Ja’Marques Darien selected Faulkner University in Montgomery to further his basketball career.

“This (scholarship) means everything to me,” Darien said. “My parents and I have worked tirelessly to try and get a scholarship, try and play at the next level, and it’s great to see it finally pay off.”

Darien accumulated a slew of awards in his three years playing for the Knights, including AISA first-team All-State member (2016, 2017), AISA second-team All-State member (2018), Tuscaloosa Invitational All-Tournament team in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and he was a three-time AISA Final Four all-tournament team member. He helped the Knights capture an AISA, Class AAA state title this past season.

“Not only is Ja’Marques an outstanding player, he’s also a great kid,” said head coach Barry Sanderson, whose brother, Scott, will be Darien’s head coach at Faulkner. “He’s got great speed with the ball, he’s got an in-between game, and he does a great job at leading the team.”

Darien hails from New York City, and moved to Tuscaloosa in 2011. He made the move from Bryant High to Tuscaloosa Academy in an attempt to help him concentrate more in the classroom, something he says paid off immensely. As for his academic focus in college, he will major in kinesiology and wants to eventually become a sports medicine doctor.