Signing Day with Marcus Paige

There's been plenty of coverage of Marcus Paige here at InsideCarolina.com over the last year. But now, as the Marion (Iowa) Linn-Mar point guard officially becomes a Tar Heel by signing on Wednesday, get to know him better with this in-depth conversation ...

Are you excited about Signing Day?
"It's a pretty big deal for me and my family. We're pretty excited about it. We're not doing anything too big. I'm just having a little bit of a get together at my high school in a conference room. I'm just saying a few words and having a little bit of food and stuff but other than that, nothing too fancy. It's definitely a special moment for me and my family."

Is it going to be mostly family and friends, or will your classmates come too?
"Hopefully a bunch of my classmates will come but a lot of it will be family and friends, too. … I'm not sure how many people they're expecting to come. It's just my friends and then family. I don't know, maybe 100 people."

You've been committed for a while, are you excited or relieved to have it finalized?
"Like you said I have been committed for a while and I've been planning to stay pretty true to my word. So I haven't worried too much about that but it's nice to finally finalize it and make it official. Then I won't have any worries. It's pretty exciting."

Has there been any kind of buildup this week? Have your classmates been asking about it?
"Yeah, they've been asking me if I'm going to sign on the first day or if I'm signing early or late. Obviously I'm going to sign as soon as possible. I've been committed for so long, I'm ready to write my signature down and make it official."

Do you think it will feel any more real to you after signing?
"I think it will a little bit. To have official documents in front of you and sending it in and all that stuff. It will give it a little bit more of an official feeling for me becoming a member of the Tar Heel basketball family. It'll feel a little bit more real."

Have you talked to your parents much about it? What are their feelings?
"They're pretty excited. It's just something I always wanted to do -- become a high level, D-I basketball player. They're pretty proud and supportive of me. They're going to enjoy it as much as I am."

What are your thoughts on the rest of UNC's 2012 recruiting class?
"I like the class we've got. I've known J.P. for a while. I know Brice. I haven't gotten a chance to meet Joel but I've seen him play a couple times. I like that we've got different positions and guys who can do bigger things now. I think we should blend in with the mix of guys pretty well."

As a point guard you'll need to know their games well. Do you feel like you've got a good handle on any of their games already?
"I played with J.P. at the Global Challenge and LeBron James camp so I have a pretty good feel for his game and how he excels in the open floor and stuff like that. Also, I've seen Brice enough to get his game down a little bit, too. He's really active on the boards and he really finishes above the rim. I've got a pretty good grasp on their games. Obviously, I'll have some time to get to know Joel and his game better, too."

I know you were trying to do some recruiting for Carolina. You had some pretty big shoes to fill after Kendall Marshall's recruiting job a few years back. How do you think you did as a recruiter?
"I tried to coax some guys to come here but at the end of the day it's ultimately going to be their decision. But bringing in three guys -- not saying I brought them in but -- to have three other people coming in with me, it's pretty successful I think. I'm excited to get on campus with them."

What was your coolest memory from the recruiting process?
"I think just my official visit, when I went down there the same time as J.P. We really got a chance to hang out with the guys and get a feel for what the college life is all about and all that stuff. That was really fun and I'll remember that for many years to come."

What was the most annoying moment that you can talk about?
"Jeez, I don't know. I guess right after the July period you get a lot of calls from all these coaches and it's hard to keep track of it. I would just say the phone calls and keeping up with all that stuff."

Do you think people forget how many calls you guys get from coaches and media?
"Yeah, I think it goes unnoticed sometimes. Obviously they recognize you have to call coaches back and stuff but you also have a lot of media outlets who want to talk to you. It can get kind of daunting at times. I guess it's only going to get worse now that coaches have unlimited contact with recruits."

Are you glad you're missing out on those rule changes?
"Yeah, there are some things that would've been fun to experience, like when they moved up the official visit and included the financial aid part for your family on official visits. But I'm glad the whole text message and phone call thing missed me by a year."

Where have you kept your letter of intent since you got it in the mail on Monday?
"I have it right on the table by my computer. I read through it and everything. I just can't wait to sign it."

What are you most looking forward to about college?
"I'm actually excited to get with Jonas, the strength and conditioning coach, in the summer and working with him. I know he has some big plans for me and getting my body ready for ACC basketball and everything. I'm kind of nervous and kind of excited for that. Other than that, just the whole experience. I got a taste of that on my visit and I just can't wait to be a full-time student there."

What are your thoughts on the Carrier Classic game against Michigan State?
"That's really cool. It would've been really awesome if I'd had a chance to do that. Obviously I'm going to be cheering the guys on and hopefully they can get the win. But that experience is something they're going to remember forever. I think that's really cool."

What's your favorite memory from high school so far?
"I would say last year when we went undefeated and won the state championship. That has to be my favorite memory from high school. That was a great group of guys and we had a lot of fun. Obviously, we won a lot of games, too. So that was fun."

What's your favorite class in high school?
"Actually right now I'm in AP English and I'm starting to like that a lot. That's probably going to end up being my favorite class."

What's your favorite book that you've read in that class?
"We just read this book called Life of Pi. It's about a guy who gets stranded out in the Pacific Ocean and it's a really interesting book that deals with a lot of themes like faith and religion. It's really intriguing. So that was probably my favorite book."

Let's see if we can get you some extra credit. What's your teacher's name?
"Her name is Liz Sheka. She's pretty good friends with my mom. I've known her for a while."

What's your favorite TV show?
"I don't watch a whole lot of TV but I do enjoy some Nick at Nite when they have The Fresh Prince or George Lopez on. Those are probably my two favorite shows."

Do you have a hidden talent?
"Not really. I consider myself a decent dancer. We'll have to see at Late Night next year or something like that but I think I've got some moves."

If you could only take one item with you on a desert island, what would you take?
"I would probably say the four-way cross that my grandma got me back when i was a kid and I had my first communion. That's probably the most prized possession I have."

What album is getting the most play on your iPod right now?
"I've been listening to a lot of J. Cole. I know he's from North Carolina. There are a lot of North Carolina people who like him. I really like his new album. Other than that, I kind of listen to everything."

***

After receiving the Letter of Intent, Roy Williams said the following about Paige:

"We're excited," Williams said, according to The Gazette. "He's a wonderful kid from a wonderful family. A wonderful athlete. You like everything about him. When you watch Marcus, he's a leader on the court, a coach on the court. He's really good defensively.

"It all starts with mom and dad, and his older sister (Morgan). Marcus is just a wonderful kid, a fun kid to be around. I love everything about him. His character off the court is probably more impressive than his play on it."

Marcus Paige Profile


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