NBA AM: Kendall Marshall, The Playmaker
The Best Playmaker In The Draft?: The University of North Carolina has produced some great NBA players. This year UNC is likely sending four more to the NBA in the first round of June 28th’s NBA Draft.
Kendall Marshall, a 6’4 point guard from Dumfries, Virginia, is likely going to be the last one drafted as his teammates (Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller) have more hype, size and potential – but that’s not at all what Marshall is focused on as he trains at IMG Basketball in Bradenton.
“We all have different immediate goals and different long-term goals,” Marshall told HOOPSWORLD. “I feel like I put myself in a position to where my immediate thought isn’t where I’m getting drafted. I feel like I’m in a good position where I have a high chance of getting drafted, so now my immediate goal is being ready for the season, being ready for summer league, being ready to play well. “
Marshall is still rehabbing an injured wrist that required a screw to be surgically implanted to stabilize a crack in his non-shooting wrist; however an elbow injury surfaced several weeks later that has slowed the recovery process.
“My wrist is close to 100%,” revealed Marshall. “I can pretty much do anything on the court with it. Again, the elbow is something that I didn’t find out about until a month later after complaining that it was hurting and finally getting an MRI. But that’s coming along as well. It is way better than it was two weeks ago, which was way better than it was a month ago. As long as I keep making progress I feel like I’m going at a good pace. “
Marshall is expected to attend this week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, but is still not sure if he will compete in any of the drills. Marshall does plan to meet face to face with NBA teams and tell his story.
“I think that’s huge, first impressions,” explained Marshall. “They’ve seen you play obviously, they hear what kind of person you are but to actually meet with you face to face, that can be the difference between them taking you or not. I’m comfortable. I feel like I have a good reputation. I present myself well and I’m excited about it. “
In watching Marshall play five-on-five pickup games with other draft prospects and NBA players, it’s clear why Marshall is so highly coveted. He is a natural floor leader that never gets outside of his own game. He never forces the bad pass. Never tries to take shots he cannot make and is always in control.
“I feel like at the next level the main thing that you have to do is just find your niche,” said Marshall. “You have to find one thing that sets you apart from everyone else. “
“80% of the NBA averaged at least 15 points in college. They have enough scorers in the NBA so you have to find whatever you’re good at and become extraordinary in that area. In my case I’ve found early what I have to do, what I’m good at and it’s just a matter of taking that to the next level and being as good at that as possible. “
The one thing that Marshall exudes is a confidence in who and what he is as a player. It’s all too common in the draft process for players to let their ego run away from them. Marshall comes off surprisingly comfortable with who and what he is as a player at the next level.
“One thing I try to focus on is staying in my lane,” explained Marshall. “I’m not going to go into this fast lane and try to score 30. I don’t want to take a backseat to guys and not be the leader I know I can be. The main thing is just being in my lane, being at a steady pace and doing what I’m good at. “
“I still want to develop my game in the process. I still want to become a more consistent shooter, become more flexible, but a player like me, my game’s not going to change. I’m not going to show them anything new in these workouts, so if anything I’ll show them that I can shoot the ball a little bit better than what I showed throughout the season. Other than that I feel like I am who I am.”
Marshall is getting in three workouts per day at IMG and is just trying to let the draft process play out. One thing he has tried to do is keep the hype of being drafted out of his head, but that’s not always easy.
“You can’t help it.,” laughed Marshall. “It’s something that is constantly on your mind. It’s a crazy thought to think about. I don’t know where in the country I’m going to be living a month and a half from now. But to me that’s insane. The draft has taken so long to get here that all you can do is work hard every day and just keep staring at the calendar. Time is ticking extremely slowly but it’s part of the process so I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible. “
“It’s very surreal. I never really thought I had any type of opportunity to play in the NBA until the end of my freshman year of college when people were asking me if I’m coming back. I was like ‘what do you mean coming back? Where else would I go?’ It just never dawned on me that I was ready for that next level. My freshman year in college I’m having bets with walk-ons to see who scores more points in a game. To be at this point in my life to where I have a chance to live out my dream, playing the game that I love. I can’t even look at it as a job… it’s surreal. “
Marshall has so many attributes of star level guard… He sees the court like Steve Nash; is shockingly unselfish and passes like Rajon Rondo. He is smart and in control like Jason Kidd.
Kendall Marshall is likely the second point guard taken in June’s NBA Draft, putting him in the teens to twenties as a draft range, and in talking about where he’ll be picked Marshall just isn’t at all concerned.
He knows he’ll land with a team that’s either just outside the playoffs or just inside the playoff bubble and that’s just fine for him. All Marshall is concerned about is getting back to 100% and challenging a veteran for their starting job in training camp, and that day can’t happen fast enough.
Do you know your Draft Prospects? The 2012 NBA Draft is just 24 days away and HOOPSWORLD has put together the ultimate cheat sheet for knowing and understanding the prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. Check out of the player profiles for all of the players expected to be drafted this year.
Wake Me When It’s A Series: The Boston Celtic hung on last night to tie up their playoff series with the Miami HEAT winning in overtime 93-91. The night before the Oklahoma City Thunder won their Game 4 match up against the San Antonio Spurs 109-103. But here is something that’s being missed.
The Boston Celtics were 24-9 at home this season. The Oklahoma City Thunder were 26-7.
You are supposed to win your home games in the playoffs, and just as everyone got overly excited when the Spurs and HEAT won their home games. The tide has shifted to too much hype surrounding the Thunder and Celtics.
It’s the Conference Finals. These are the four best teams in the league and they are playing like it.
Until someone wins a game on a road, these things are going as scripted.
Keep in mind Game 5 switches things back to San Antonio for the Spurs – they were 28-5 in their building in the regular season. The HEAT get Game 5 in their building on Tuesday – they were 28-5 at home too.
It’s not a series until someone wins a road game, and right now everyone of holding serve.
Coveting Steve Nash: Don’t get too excited when you hear a team linked to Suns’ free agent Steve Nash. Whether it’s the Knicks, the Bulls, the HEAT, the Magic, the Lakers, the Raptors, the Nets or the Blazers… Nash will have his pick of situations in July and he has not even started thinking about that process.
Nash, who will turn 39 next February, is seeking a three-year deal this summer and word is more than half the league is willing to offer him something like that.
There will be no shortage of situations for Nash.
Word has is Nash and the Suns have agreed that if Nash is leaving Phoenix that the franchise would help facilitate a sign and trade deal to insure Steve gets the maximum dollars for his services and the Suns get something in return for him. Meaning all bets are off on where Nash lands, as cap space and exception money won’t be a huge factor.
The Suns have made it clear they would do a multi-year deal for Nash in the $10 million per year range to insure Nash stays in Phoenix.
There is still a very real shot that Nash, who has thrived in Phoenix’s environment, chooses to stay; however the Suns will have to make some serious roster improvements to be the front runner.
Nash’s connection with the support and medical staff in Phoenix is a real trump card, as Nash does have spondylolisthesis in his back, and that will factor into his decision. Nash has remained fairly healthy in Phoenix and has played far longer than most thought he would as a result. Nash routinely credits the Phoenix training staff as a key reason why.
Of the marquee would-be free agents, Nash is considered the more obtainable player, however before you get too excited, keep in mind almost everyone in the league is going to make a pass at Nash, and he’ll have an army of options in July.
The Orlando Update: Magic fans continue to wait for something to happen on the Magic front and unfortunately it seems like the process of finding a new General Manager and a new head coach will flow into next week and beyond.
But here is what we know at this point.
The Magic have interviewed former Hornets’ GM Jeff Bower, and while several other candidates have been contacted about the job, Bower remains the top name likely to take the job.
Spurs’ assistant GM Dennis Lindsey is said to be on the Magic’s wish list, and while sources close to the process believe he is more than ready to leave the San Antonio Spurs for his own team, those same sources are not sold Lindsey will take the job in Orlando.
The problem for Orlando is that they really are not looking for a singular dominating personality to take over the team, they are looking for someone to come in and fit neatly into the collective that’s already in place of Alex Martins and Adonal Foyle. They want a personality that’s experienced and has a proven track record of playing well with others, and playing the company line and that’s where the Magic job starts to become a little cloudy.
Jeff Bower has a history with Alex Martins and he is not a dominating personality. He can easily fill the void the Magic are trying to fill – add an experienced basketball person who can help Martins steer the Magic. That’s an important part of this dynamic – Alex Martins will be running the Magic and the GM hire will report to him.
Bower and Lindsey remain the most likely candidates to take the job, however a firm decision is not likely going to take place until after this week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
The Magic will also start looking at replacement coaches; however sources say hiring a coach is not going to happen until a GM is in place, which may not happen until next week.
Things in Orlando have not stopped working. The Magic did hold their first NBA Draft workout last week, which was ran by Magic director of player development Adonal Foyle and some of the support staff.
The Magic got a look at Moe Harkless, William Buford, Cameron Moore, Andrew Nicholson, Darrion Pellum and Jeff Taylor. Terrence Ross was scheduled to participate but opted to decline the invite at the last minute.
The Magic are expected to continue meeting with would-be candidates over the next week, including meetings in Chicago during the Draft Combine.
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NBA Chats: There are three NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram at 11am. Bill’s chats do fill up fast so getting in early is always wise. HOOPSWORLD’s Stephen Brotherston returns to hold down his weekly chat at 3pm EST. While HOOPSWORLD editor Jason Fleming rounds out the day with his weekly NBA chat at 8pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats