I have been saying this since last season. Now we have proof.
The N&O's Andrew Carter delves into one of the more amazing aspects of Kendall Marshall's game, his court vision with a surprising nugget. Marshall actually has poor vision.
People who watch Kendall Marshall play basketball talk a lot about his vision, and how good it is, but in reality it has become worse over the years. Marshall, the sophomore point guard at North Carolina, scratched his left eye when he was a baby, scratched it so badly it bled.
He suffered from light sensitivity throughout childhood, when he often would bury his chin into his chest to avoid the sunlight during rides in a car. His sensitivity to light has improved. His vision has not. He plays with one contact lens - in his left eye, and probably should be playing with one in the other, too.
"I went to the doctor to get new glasses, and he told me my right eye's gotten worse," Marshall said recently. "So I probably need to be getting contacts in that eye, too. But I'm trying to wait until after the season because I don't want to mess with it midseason."
Given how well Marshall sees the court, it is shocking to learn he is out there playing with one contact lens in his left eye and probably needs one for his right. Even with that going on he still sees well enough to make passes 95% of other players would not make. Then again that is not just about vision it is also about seeing a defender turn his head at the right moment or knowing you can pass the basketball 60 feet, buzz a defender's right ear and hit Tyler Zeller in the middle of the lane. So many of the "wow" passes Marshall are a combination of savvy and willingness to take a higher risk. The pitfall is Marshall does turn the ball over but his assist totals are so high is compensates to a certain degree. The next step for Marshall is to cut down on the former while maintaining the latter which is probably not as easy as it sounds.
Marshall says he plays the game by feel. Against Maryland on Saturday, Marshall came down with the ball on the break facing two Terrapin players and not once did he look to his left, right or behind. He drove right into them forcing them to play the ball then at the last second turned and flipped the ball to John Henson for a dunk. I have no idea how he knew Henson was there. Maybe Henson said something. Maybe he did a quick look as the break started. Or maybe he's a Jedi Knight which means I fully expect him to slay the dark lords of the Sith tonight in Chapel Hill.