Where are they now?

by Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

Earlysia “Anna” Marchbanks: Basketball guard, 2010-2012

At OSU: Marchbanks moved around a lot before finding stability at OSU, growing up in California, moving to Salem in eighth grade and attending both North Salem High School and then McKay. She went to Central Arizona College as a freshman, then Yakima Valley Community College the next year. She committed to play for OSU in 2010 and arrived along with new head coach Scott Rueck. As a senior, Marchbanks lead the Beavers in points (12.5 per game), rebounds (7.6), assists (3.7) and steals (2.3).

After OSU: While basketball has been one of the biggest parts of Marchbanks’ life, much of her story is based on her family.

Marchbanks moved between foster homes growing up, her family life uprooted by her mother’s cocaine habit that sent her behind bars for a time. At certain points, Marchbanks lived with 20 other extended family members in a single room in a church, other times she was separated from her six siblings in foster homes. Things started to even out by Marchbanks’ junior year, though. Her mother, Wilma, finished her sentence and went on to open her own drug and alcohol counseling center. She owns a halfway house for women and now has been sober for nine years.

“She’s doing amazing,” Marchbanks said. “I’ve never not had a great relationship with her, even with she was fighting her own demons. We get along extremely well.”

The former OSU star has lived with her mother in Salem since she retired from professional basketball last year. Marchbanks decided to get her own place recently and is moving out Friday, but she won’t go far — her new place is just down the street and all seven of the Marchbanks kids still live within a three-mile radius in Salem.

Marchbanks headed to the professional ranks after finishing her collegiate career by playing for teams in Finland, Luxembourg, Germany and France. Her career was cut short, though, by severe osteoarthritis in her knee. It got bad enough that in the summer of 2014, her inability to exercise consistently caused her to gain 58 pounds from April to August. It took a year before her knee felt good enough to work out as hard as she wanted to, but she eventually lost 61 pounds to get back to her college weight.

A big help to her motivation, she says, was her new job.

Marchbanks coached the North Salem High School Junior Varsity Girl’s basketball team two years ago, the Freshman team last year and was recently promoted to the Varsity head coaching position.

“I felt like the thing that really helped me was coaching,” she said. “I love the sport so much, and since I work with the kids every day, it was something for me to get up and actually look forward to.”

Marchbanks also recently graduated from OSU. She only had nine credits left to finish when she headed to Europe to play basketball and finally finished her coursework this winter. She commuted to Corvallis every day while also working full time in Salem.

In addition to coaching, Marchbanks works in the classroom at North Salem an Instructional Assistant, will enter cosmetology school in July, recently opened up her own hair business and plans on bringing back “Anna Marchbanks Basketball Camps” that she starting holding in high school for young athletes. One of the most important things to Marchbanks is her ability to impact her community while working at North Salem High School, which has one of the highest poverty rates of Oregon high schools.

“It’s kind’ve in the ghetto of Salem, you could say,” she said. “Kids come in the same outfit three days in a row, kids that are homeless. Just to see that, mentor to kids and be able to be there for them, I love that.”

It helps that Marchbanks has a tumultuous past of her own, helping her relate to the kids she now teaches and coaches.

“I tell my team my story, I tell the girls that’s what made me a great basketball player,” she said. “That’s what is going to make them a great basketball player. Find something to love, stick to it and don’t let anything deter you. I felt like me going through that made me a better basketball player. If I had an easy route, I wouldn’t have been in the gym so much, but because my life was so hard at home I always was in the gym.”

Marchbanks had other job offers after she retired from professional basketball, but she chose North Salem largely because of her relationship with the Principal, Cynthia Richardson, who Marchbanks moved in with for part of her high school career. With her job at North Salem, her hair business, family life and more, Marchbanks says she is “super happy” with her stage of life.

“I didn’t think that I could be happy outside of basketball,” Marchbanks said. “When you spend 15 years of your life outside of basketball, you don’t consider other things. Everything happens for a reason, and I miss basketball so much but I am happy. I like coaching because I love the kids. It’s fun to see them happy.”