Monday, June 25, 2012

Bios and Breakdowns: Kendall Marshall

The Basics:
Kendall Marshall
Point Guard, University of North Carolina (2 years)
Official Measurement from NBA Combine in Chicago
Height (with shoes): 6'4.25"
Weight: 198 lbs.
Wingspan: 6'5.5"

While most writers seem to rank Damian Lillard of Weber State as the best point guard prospect in the 2012 class I firmly believe Kendall Marshall to be the superior player and thus choice. As I've been doing with most of these Bios and Breakdowns segments I tend to note and analyze the player's impact on their team rather than just spit out their stat lines. Any idiot can simply google and regurgitate a guy's numbers in an attempt to analyze a prospect's potential, but the one can't-miss bet on draft night is that we're bound to hear "drafting players is an imperfect science" at least ten times. Basketball, especially at the point guard position, is so much more than just numbers. So let's take a minute to talk about what Kendall Marshall meant to UNC in the two years he was there, shall we?

So Kendall Marshall shows up to Chapel Hill in August of 2010 prepared to back up starting point guard Larry Drew II for the Tarheels. He was part of a stellar three man recruiting class, which also included 2012 NBA prospect Harrison Barnes, and was joining a Tarheel team that had failed to make the NCAA tournament the year before. Tarheel fans aren't used to not seeing their boys compete in March and blamed most of the disappointing season on Drew. However - it was still Drew's starting role to lose...and that he did.

Taking the role of starting point guard as a freshman from a junior in the ACC is not something that happens often. Drew's inability to consistently ignite the UNC offense, coupled with Marshall's fearlessness and passing abilities, caused Drew to see decreased minutes and eventually transfer - hoisting Marshall into the spotlight. Marshall stepped up big time and took this team, which had missed the big dance the year before, all the way to the elite eight where they missed a trip to the final four on a last second buzzer beater.

In his sophomore season Marshall averaged just shy of 10 assists per game and once more lead his team to the NCAA tournament. In their second round matchup against Creighton Marshall broke his wrist ending his season prematurely. Without the play and leadership of Marshall the Tarheels BARELY squeaked out an overtime win against cinderella-hopeful Ohio and eventually fell to Kansas.

The trend in guard play around college basketball in recent years has been that of combo-guards. It's mainly shoot first, lightening fast, 6'2" athletes who can score in bunches. While this style of play can be sustained at the collegiate level we know what happens to these guys when they reach the next level. They fail.

Kendall Marshall is a throwback. He's a strong, quick, pure pass-first point guard. He's a floor general. He's a leader. He's a guy who makes everyone on the floor better. He's a guy your coaching staff and teammates can trust. He's the best point guard in the 2012 class.

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