Under Armour/Kelly Kline

Marshall, Scruggs shine on national stage

Two of Xavier's top 2017 recruits performed well on national television Saturday night.

Two members of Xavier's heralded 2017 recruiting class were in action on the national stage Saturday night as Naji Marshall and Paul Scruggs played in the Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Their Lightning team beat the Thunder squad 122-109 in a game that was televised on FS2. 

Marshall was tied for the second-highest point total on their team with 18 on 8-of-15 shooting (1-4 3PT) to go with seven boards in 20 minutes. He was also named the "Fan Favorite" player of the game. Scruggs added 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting (0-2 3PT) with five rebounds and two assists with no turnovers. He finished tied for second in the 3-point shooting contest at halftime, sinking eight of 25 attempts. 

Kentucky recruit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 29 points (12-15 FG, 2-2 3PT). He also had nine rebounds and six assists. 

For both Marshall and Scruggs, what stood out most during the game was their versatility. 

Marshall started at the four. His versatility was immediately noticeable on defense as he seamlessly switched onto both of the opposing team's guards on consecutive ballscreens during the same possession in the first quarter. On offense, he was active on the glass, attacked off the dribble from the perimeter, made plays in transition, and used his size in the post. 

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Scruggs started off the ball playing at the two and showed off his ability to attack downhill. Later in the game, he played on the ball at times, showing his ability to create for his teammates, and also went inside to take advantage of smaller defenders and mix it up on the glass. Most importantly, he looked fully healthy with no signs of lacking explosion or athleticism after sitting out most of the high school season following a knee surgery. 

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Both players will be in action again Friday night in Portsmouth, Virginia at the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic, though this time they'll be on separate teams.


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