By Brian Edsall
Another journey at Marist College has concluded for the class of 2017. Graduating seniors now reflect on the past as they cross the threshold into the future. Khallid Hart, one of the more notable players in Marist basketball history, now looks back at the goals and dreams he once had as graduating high school senior and at his accomplishments during his four years as a Red Fox. Though humbled and proud of what he has achieved, he is now ready for the road ahead.
Sports have always been an integral part of Hart’s life from a young age. But surprisingly, basketball was not always relevant. “I liked to play every other sport except basketball growing up which is really funny to think about now,” Hart said. “I would say that football was my first love….In high school I dabbled in a little bit of everything. I played soccer for a little, lacrosse for [a] little, tennis, baseball, and cross country.”
Hart would watch his father play basketball at various parks in the Bronx while growing up, but he did not begin playing the sport himself until around 11 or 12 years old. “Once I told my dad that I wanted to play basketball he started to teach me everything he knew,” Hart said.
Hart’s father taught him valuable lessons on and off the court. He emphasized how education was equally as important as practicing basketball. “He told me that I would be able to get a free education through college if my high school grades were good and if I earned a basketball scholarship,” Hart said. “From then on I thought it was a no brainer, plus it would give me a chance to go to the NBA.”
Hart, a graduate from The Sanford School in Newark, Delaware, was immediately drawn to Marist College when visiting as a high school student. “The coaching staff that recruited me is what lured me to Marist. They were cool and real and made me feel extremely wanted. Then when I came to Marist on my official visit and I instantly fell in love with the campus,” Hart said.
Unfortunately Hart’s career, along with fellow graduate Kentrall Brooks’, would become plagued by coaching instability. From 2013-2017, the Marist men’s basketball program transitioned through three different head coaches – from Chuck Martin, to Jeff Bower, to current head coach Mike Maker. Despite constant change, Hart was determined to remain focused.
“Transitioning through three different coaches was hard, but I adapted,” Hart explained. “I was asked to score and lead the team from each coach so it wasn’t that hard to adapt, but it was hard to foster relationships.”
Entering college, Hart was determined to make a positive impact both as an individual player and as a team. One of Hart’s main goals was to have a season above .500. This goal was heavily affected by coaching instability. From 2013-2017 the Red Foxes finished with a 34-91 record – an overall win percentage of .272.
Although Hart never achieved his team goals, he is satisfied with the impact he has personally had at Marist College and within the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
“One of my other goals was to dominate this league because my father always said that I would,” Hart said. “In my opinion, I don’t know if I can say that I dominated the league…but one thing I can say is that I definitely earned the respect of coaches and players.”
Hart finished fourth on Marist’s all-time scoring list with 1,879 points, averaging 16.7 points per game. He was also awarded Rookie Of The Year in the MAAC during the 2013-2014 season and was named to the All-MAAC second team for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. Hart attributes much of his success to his ability to simultaneously remain humble and driven.
Hart’s significant impact on the court is undeniable, but his impression has extended far beyond the Marist community as he has become a role model for youth in the Poughkeepsie area.
“My parents taught me how to act the right way,” Hart said. “They taught me humility and just to be thankful for every day, so that is how I approached everything. I am very grateful that I am looked up to by many youth, and I know it makes my parents very proud to know that they did a good job raising me.”
Hart’s experiences and the people he has met have taught him valuable lessons which he will remember as he pursues a professional basketball opportunity in the NBA or overseas.
“Basketball has taught me to never take any day for granted,” Hart reflects. “It has taught me to go out and play every game like it is my last. It has taught me perseverance and toughness. It has taught me to stay strong through the inevitable ups and downs.”