Sunday Spotlight: Lake Oswego head basketball coach Marshall Cho - KPTV - FOX 12

Sunday Spotlight: Lake Oswego head basketball coach Marshall Cho

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LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KPTV) -

He was a high school hooper in Springfield who thought he might become an accountant, but instead, Marshall Cho remained in the game in a variety of coaching roles around the globe. 

Lake Oswego High School basketball has the history and the heritage, but the Lakers are being led into the future under a young head coach who is well-traveled. Born in South Korea but raised on hoops in Oregon, Marshall Cho is the leader of the Lake Show. 

Cho has the Lake Oswego boys chasing down a Three Rivers League title in season No. 3 at the helm of the Lakers. A 41-year-old married father of two, Cho moved the United States at the age of 10. 

“In this current political climate, I am very aware of the fact that I am an immigrant here,” Cho said.  

Mr. and Mrs. Cho ran a 54-unit apartment complex in Springfield, Oregon. 

“I am the American Dream in that sense, playing a sport that I am not physically built for, that I didn't grow up playing but for whatever reason, I fell in love with,” Cho said. 

A University of Oregon graduate in business administration and economics minor, Cho is doing neither after finding a brochure for “Teach for America.”

“I opened it up. It was this diverse group of recent college grads and said, ‘I could be one of those guys!’” he said. 

So, accounting was out and holding students accountable was in. 

“The thought of being with similar people who were like minded with a similar mission, to improve inner-city and rural education to do something about the educational injustices we have here,” said Cho. 

It was there in the South Bronx where Cho earned his master's degree and was a certified math teacher and a certified baller to his defiant middle schoolers. 

“I realized that my high school basketball skills were good enough to beat the best middle school kid so that gave me street cred,” Cho said. “This was like day two. They were like, ‘Mr. Cho got game!’”

After six years in the Bronx and Harlem, Cho met his wife. She landed a gig in Mozambique. He joined in southeast Africa to start a varsity program from the ground up. 

“One of my closest friends and mentors talks about how there is that type of trophy but the real ultimate trophy is what we get judged on five or 10 years from now and to be honest with you,” said Cho. 

Still in constant contact with his kids from New York to Africa, Coach Cho was next on the go to Washington D.C. to serve as an assistant coach for high school powerhouse Dematha Catholic.

“My first year there, Victor Oladipo and Jarien Grant was a senior. Quinn Cook, who is with the Warriors D-league team was a junior and then Jeremy Grant who is now playing for the Thunder, was a sophomore so that was my introduction from nowhere in Mozambique to this high-profile basketball program,” Cho said. 

His coaching profile was raised another peg as a volunteer with the U.S. Junior National Team since 2012.

“I get to represent this country that took me in and allowed me to live out my dreams,” Cho said. 

Then came the call back home to Oregon as the director of basketball operations at the University of Portland. 

“I really had a chance to fulfill a dream to be on the path to be a on a great Division I program at the University of Portland,” said Cho. 

After two years with the Pilots, that life path was over as Cho left the program in the wake of his mothers’ diagnosis with Stage 4 breast cancer, a fight she is still battling today. 

“My parents come to my basketball games on Tuesdays and Fridays then they go help at my brother’s restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays,” Cho said. 
His brother's little Korean spot, Han Oak, was just voted Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian. 

“If I ever get myself to a place where I complain to him that I am in a profession where people can publicly judge what I do, he always humbles me and reminds me that every time he opens his doors, that's a game. There is no practice, he’s going into a game so that shuts me up pretty quick,” Cho said.

Peter Cho’s Han Oak is located on Northeast 24th in Portland. 

Cho and Lake Oswego are nearing their first TRL title in five years before looking to make a deep run at the state tournament.

This summer, Cho will head back to China as he does annually to run a camp for former NBA star Yao Ming. 

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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