Profile: Kendall Marshall

There's something that feels abnormal about reporting on a 15-year-old basketball player. But then, Kendall Marshall is not your normal 15-year old basketball player.

Marshall’s name first became know nationally three years ago, when a recruiting analyst named him the No. 1 sixth-grader in the nation. Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly heard about the rating and used his popular back-page column to rail on the silliness of such early scouting.

Suddenly, there were news stories across the country using Marshall’s case as anecdotal evidence of the increasingly overzealous nature of player rankings and recruiting coverage.

Well, it’s three years later and Marshall’s name is about to jump back onto the radar. Now a freshman, Marshall stands 6-foot-1 and appears poised to be one of the next star players to emerge from the Washington, D.C.-area hoops hotbed. The lefty point guard is likely to start on varsity for Bishop O’Connell, one of the area’s programs.

According to his father Dennis Marshall, a hoops fanatic who runs a website that scouts players and teams in the area, the buzz from his son’s pre-pubescent fame has finally run its course.

“It’s a dead issue,” Dennis Marshall says.

His son’s talent, though, is not. Kendall has an innate feel for the game, that intangible ‘it’ that the great point guards have in common. Yet to play his first varsity game – he averaged 26 points and eights assists playing J.V. as an eighth-grader at The Potomac School – he is already receiving mail from high-major college basketball programs.

The recruiting process “has kind of already started,” Dennis Marshall said. “You can’t help it, ‘cause people are sending mail, emailing, text messaging.”

The elder Marshall said his son already has a list of colleges he would like to be recruited by and could commit quite early in the process, although he didn’t say how early, and he said his son has not received any offers quite yet as occasionally happens with high-school freshmen and sophomores.

“Some times, the quicker you can get it done, the better. That way he can enjoy his high school career, his friends, all the things kids like to do.”

When Dennis Marshall realize years ago that his son might have a unique talent, he began to take in coaching clinics and do research on how to help him fulfill his potential. He says he never pushed his son, though. Kendall is a gym-rat who eats and breathes the game. For instance, after a recent all-star game for incoming freshman, he stuck around all day and evening, taking in the sophomore, junior and senior games while chatting with his coaches and other players.

“He wants to do it and is willing to do what it takes to get what he can out ofit,” Dennis Marshall said.

The younger Marshall has been rated as one of the top-10 incoming high school freshmen in the country this year. He’s got excellent ballhandling skills and a feel for where the ball needs to go. He also has a soft shooting touch and can get to the hoop, though, as one would expect of a freshman, he’s thinly built. But there’s plenty of time to worry about that, and his father also expects he’ll grow to aroubd 6-3.

He’s familiar with local programs Maryland and Georgetown, but the college team he follows most closely is North Carolina. He talks on the phone frequently with Tar Heel sophomore Marcus Ginyard, a former O’Connell star who attracted similar attention as a young player.

His father has talked to a handful of college coaches about his son’s abilities.

Says Dennis Marshall: “Most of them say he doesn’t have any flaws.”

Kendall Marshall Profile

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