In the ramp up to the 2011-12 basketball season, Tar Heel Fan will be profiling key Tar Heels who will likely be major contributors this season. Today’s profile looks at guard Kendall Marshall.
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 195 lbs
2010-11 and Career Stats: 37 gms, 6.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 42.0 FG%, 38.5 3FG%
What Happened Last Season
Marshall came off of the bench, and Carolina struggled (12-5).
Marshall started, and Carolina was awesome (17-3)!
Okay, so maybe it is not that simple, and considering that 5 of those 17 wins were by 3 points or less, and a 6th was in overtime, there is a little bit of luck that has to be factored into the difference, but no one can deny that there was definitely a palpable difference in the way the team acted when they were on the court with Marshall as the starter. What is interesting, is that while the team's level of play took off after the Georgia Tech game, Marshall's play actually took a small step backwards:
[table id=132 /]
While the drop in FG% and 3FG% that occurred after Marshall was inserted into the starting lineup is somewhat expected due to an increase in shots taken, the fact that Marshall's overall FG% dropped to below 40% the last 20 games of the season is somewhat alarming and is certainly something that will have to be significantly improved in this coming season.
Outlook For This Season
Absolutely no PG-controversy. Barring the obvious, which won't be mentioned, Marshall will start every game for the Tar Heels and by the middle of February, you can expect that he will probably be on the court a 32-35 minutes every game. Given the almost absurd amount of talent that will be surrounding Marshall, and the ease at which they all seem to play together, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Marshall will make a run at Ed Cota's school record of 8.1 assists per game. And if the Heels make a deep run in March/April, Marshall could become the first Tar Heel to amass 300 assists in a single season.
Shooting. Looking at Marshall's numbers from last season, he actually shot fairly well from three, as his 38.5 3FG% was better than either Wayne Ellington or Ty Lawson shot as freshmen. The issue here lies in the fact that Marshall only took 52 3-point attempts, and it was really his unwillingness to shoot the open three that allowed opposing defenses to sag off, and not his (supposed) inability to hit the shot. Looking forward to this season, Carolina would benefit greatly if Marshall became a consistent threat to take 2-3 three-point shots a game, while maintaining a percentage between 37-40%. This threat should also provide more lanes for Marshall to get to the basket for easier finishes, which should help raise his overall FG% into the mid-40s, where it needs to be for UNC to reach its ultimate levels of success.
10.0 ppg, 7.5 apg, 3.5 rpg; 45.0 FG%, 38.0% 3FG%, 75.0 FT%
These are basically Ed Cota's career averages, and certainly level of play that Marshall could achieve this season. One thing that might prevent him from achieving really high assist totals is the fact that UNC could be involved in a number of blowouts that would greatly reduce the total number of minutes that he plays, but at the end of the day, that is a really nice problem to think about.