An addendum to Kendall Marshall's big game versus NC State.
Anyone who follows Kendall Marshall on Twitter and pays any attention to what he says knows he is very aware of what is said in the media. He is a student of the game which means he watches a lot of college basketball and also heeds praise/criticism as it comes. That was the case on Tuesday when a preview of the UNC-NCSU game in the News & Observer provided Marshall with some extra motivation(via Tar Heel Blue)
Tuesday morning, Marshall walked past the Smith Center on his way to his 9:30 a.m. Information class. Video coordinator Eric Hoots called him into the basketball office.
"You see this?" Hoots asked Marshall.
The "this" in question was the matchup feature of that morning's News and Observer sports section, listing which team had the edge at each position on the court. The point guard segment of that story read as follows:
"Depends on which version of Lorenzo Brown shows up. If it's the passive one from the first meeting in Chapel Hill, then it's Marshall all day, every day. If it's the Brown who had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists at Duke, and was aggressive with the ball, then it's the multi-faceted Brown over the one-dimensional Marshall. Edge: Brown."
Marshall read it once. Then read it again. "The multi-faceted Brown over the one-dimensional Marshall," it said. He raised his eyebrows and harrumphed. All he said was, "Who wrote that?"
To answer Marshall, J.P. Giglio wrote the preview which was not off base. Marshall has not proven himself to be a consistent offensive threat outside of setting up his teammates. Coming into the game he was shooting 27% from three and driving to the basket infrequently. Lorenzo Brown, on the other hand, has been a more versatile player. Besides, UNC's offense has been performing quite well(aside from missed perimeter shots) with Marshall focusing primarily on distributing the basketball. In that respect Marshall is "one dimensional" because that is his role in the offense. However, a Kendall Marshall who can be more than that to the point it keeps opposing defenses honest only bolsters this team's chances in March. In essence there was nothing wrong with Giglio's assessment based on the facts at hand and Giglio acknowledged to me on Twitter(after congratulating Marshall publicly) that the "one dimension" is why he thinks Marshall should be All-ACC. Regardless, Marshall took the assessment as motivation to prove it wrong playing possibly his best all-around game as a Tar Heel. It should be noted that in the first game versus NC State there was talk about Brown being the best PG in the ACC. Marshall answered that by putting up seven points and 11 assists en route to a 19 point win for the Heels.
As for how this game impacted Marshall's pursuit of various assist records, let's just say it was a very good night. First of all, Marshall's 13 assists bring his total for the season to 275 in 28 games raising his average to 9.82 apg. Marshall needs to just ten more assists to break Ed Cota's UNC record for assists in a season and 29 more to eclipse Georgia Tech's Craig Neal for the ACC record. Cota's mark could fall on Saturday vs Virginia though the tempo of that game might reduce the number of chances. That would means Marshall could break the record on Senior Night versus Maryland which would be a lot of fun for everyone involved. In addition to those records, Marshall's zero turnover game against 13 assists raised his A/TO for the season to 3.61 and back ahead of Ty Lawson for the UNC and ACC record. This will obviously continue to fluctuate but the more high assist, low turnover games Marshall has the more UNC wins and the easier it will be for him to snag this record as well.