Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kendall Marshall Has North Carolina on the Right Track

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Earlier this season, all the talk surrounding the North Carolina Tar Heels (17-5, 7-1) was Harrison Barnes inability to live up to his AP Pre-Season All-American tag.

The lack of solid point guard play didn't aid the Tar Heels well knocking them out the top 25 rather earlier than expected.

Nonetheless, the 'Heels have returned to both polls and are re-emerging as a basketball power.

Before the season started, Larry Drew II was the starter for North Carolina with Kendall Marshall playing the backup role.

After the 'Heels loss to Georgia Tech, coach Roy Williams inserted Marshall in the starting lineup and since then the 'Heels haven't loss anything besides their backup Drew II.

Drew II opted to transfer after losing his starting role to Marshall.

Despite losing a formidable guard, Marshall has North Carolina fans saying, "Drew who?"

As a starter, Marshall has averaged 6.2 points and 6.6 assist per game, including a 16 assist effort in the 'Heels most recent win over Florida State.

"I saw it on the board--I mean, they said freshman assist record so I thought that was big for him confidence-wise," said John Henson on Marshall's freshman record for assist.

"It's a good feeling," said Marshall. "Harrison told me that after the game. He looked up at the scoreboard and looked at me and told me I just set the record," said Marshall about knowing about his record setting performance.

His stats do not do him any justice. His progression since joining the starting lineup has allowed North Carolina to be a lot more productive.

Barnes has seen his stats skyrocket with Marshall as the starter averaging 18.8 points, and 6.2 rebounds on 59 percent shooting.

Henson has averaged 13.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game. The list could go on.

Marshall stepped up big time for the 'Heels. His contributions and leadership is the main reason this North Carolina team is able to breath fresh air again.

It was just last month when the 'Heels were blew away by 20 on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-12, 3-6). Now the 'Heels have the chance to overtake Duke as the No. 1 team in the ACC conference on Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The 'Heels are back on track and frosh Barnes seems to be energized with the emergence of Marshall. If one thing is worth noting, it's that the North Carolina Tar Heels are back!

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