Scouting Report: Kendall Marshall

Inside Carolina's Eric Bossi reviews his notes from the road and compiles an in-depth scouting report on 2010 Tar Heel commitment Kendall Marshall ...

    Kendall Marshall
    6-4, 182
    HS: Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell
    AAU: Boo Williams
    Class of 2010

    Background:
    If it seems like Kendall Marshall committed to North Carolina a long time ago, it's because he did. Offering up a verbal commitment to Roy Williams' Tar Heels back in September of 2007, Marshall has become one of the most thoroughly covered and dissected prospects in the class of 2010.

    The discussions regarding Marshall as a prospect began way before that, though, as Marshall was much ballyhooed before even playing so much as his first high school game. My first opportunity to watch Marshall came at the end of his freshman year when he was playing with his Boo Williams travel team at the Nike Memorial Day Classic in Nashville. Having heard and read about Marshall, I was curious to see him myself and observed at the time: "He has a great feel for the game, a super mid-range game he uses to score and he's already more than holding his own on the 17 U level." At the time, I rated him an Elite High Major prospect in the scouting report

    Strengths:
    As it stood out at this time two years ago, Marshall's feel for the game and how to play the point guard position remains a strength. It's pretty much impossible to define "feel" -- but the southpaw has it. You see it in the way that he dribbles with his head up, allowing him to constantly survey the floor for open teammates. You see it in his recognition of the best matchups on the floor and ability to deliver the ball in rhythm to teammates who are feeling it on the offensive end.

    While he isn't necessarily vocal, he's a natural leader who clearly puts the time in on his own to work on all areas of his game. He also has the ability to move from one play to the next. It's basketball and mistakes are going to be made, but Marshall doesn't let a few miscues ruin him for the rest of the game.

    Although he wouldn't be characterized as a speed merchant, Marshall is quicker than given credit for. Also, his ability to advance the ball up the floor via pinpoint passes over long distances and the quickness with which he recognizes opportunities and makes quality decisions allows him to play "faster" than some might think his physical attributes would allow him to do.

    Weaknesses:
    As a taller point guard who is sometimes a little stiff in his defensive stance, Marshall does struggle with smaller and quicker point guards. In particular, some guys seem to be able to get their shoulders into his hip area and knock him out of their way if they can't beat him with pure quickness. And, while he's clearly worked hard to add strength, Marshall remains a bit on the lean side.

    In addition to improving his ability to slide on defense, Marshall's shooting remains a work in progress. Where he shot more of a set/push shot when he first broke onto the scene, he now shoots a much more structurally sound shot with excellent extension, arch, backspin and follow through. However, he'd still benefit from generating a little more explosion off the floor -- in particular on pull-up shots that he consistently sets up with clever dribble moves and simple ball fakes.

    College Projection:
    While he's got the size and is developing the shooting ability to help out some on the wing if needed, it would be a major surprise for Marshall to play any position other than point guard. He's a kid who has played point guard his entire life and he would seem to be a fit for what Roy Williams is looking for at that position. He may not be the blur that Carolina fans have gotten used to watching in guys like Tywon Lawson and Raymond Felton in recent years, but he brings more than enough to the table to make the Heels high octane offense go.

    Final Thoughts:
    Like so many other kids who are highly ranked at a young age and offer up early commitments to high profile programs, Marshall's game has been pretty heavily scrutinized over the years. Playing for a travel team as high profile as Boo Williams has only intensified that scrutiny. At times, some of the fallout of that has been ridiculous and he's had to deal with evaluations that have been either unfair or completely unrealistic at times. Not only that, he's been the subject of plenty of rumors regarding the status of his commitment.

    Given how much can change over time, it's A) impressive that he's retained his status as one of the top floor generals in the class of 2010 and B) done so without developing any kind of prima donna or Hollywood-type attitude along the way. His maturity, mental toughness and ability to balance his life on and off the floor should serve him well when he arrives in Chapel Hill for summer school a year from now to begin his career as a Tar Heel.


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