There is nothing more exciting than discovering a hidden gem in the Natural State. Decatur, Arkansas, is a small city nestled outside the rural area of Centerton with an approximate population of 1,725. Many around the state and throughout the nation for that matter have overlooked the Decatur Bulldogs, but this season will be a bit different.

One of the most exciting high school basketball players in recent years calls Decatur home. Mario Urquidi, also known as Super Mario is a 6’4” 195lb Guard/Forward with a 38” vertical. If you don’t believe the hype take a look at Mario’s career stats: 14.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game. He compiled 18 double-doubles last year out of 24 games and has 1,111 career points, If that is not impressive enough Mario didn’t begin playing organized ball until the 7th grade and started honing in on his skills as a sophomore.  He is a physical player that can bang down low and has the finesse to score from the perimeter.

During an interview with Athletic Director/Head Basketball Coach John Unger it was easy to see why Mario is such a special young man. “Mario is the first one at practice and the last one to leave the court. His work ethic is nothing like I’ve seen before in my 15 years of coaching.” There are not many combo players like Super Mario in the state of Arkansas. “He can score, block, play defense…he can do everything,” says Unger.”

College coaches are starting to take notice of what this talented player can bring to their program. Mario is currently being evaluated by Henderson State, John Brown University, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and Harding University. “I’m excited to play at Decatur my senior year and I’m trying to finish my last year here with something huge, like state playoffs or even a state championship in 2A,” says Mario. “After high school I want to play college basketball so I’m trying to show out my last season.”

Mario is a class act on and off the court. His teammates admire his leadership qualities as well as his athletic prowess. In the words of Coach Unger, “Mario is a great kid and very respectful to his peers and teachers. He’s one of those kids that appreciate his God given abilities.” Mario embodies the core values of Letterman Magazine: Academics, Sports, Character. Check out the Decatur Bulldogs this season on a court near you. The Bulldogs look to make a run this year and prove they have what it takes to be ranked alongside the elite teams in 2A.

Written by: Trandon L. Moy