Friday, May 14, 2010 | 7 p.m.
- Marshall becoming the player UNLV needs him to be (2-20-2010)
- Marshall steps up again, helps UNLV dance past SMU, 67-53 (12-23-2009)
- Marshall returns to Orleans Arena with fond memories of state title game (12-11-2009)
- Staying home to play at UNLV, Marshall feels no added pressure (8-2-2009)
- 2009-10 UNLV Schedule/Results
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
Editor's Note: Each week this summer, UNLV beat writer Ryan Greene will have a 10-minute question-and-answer session with a member of the Rebels' men's basketball team. The focus is not just on last season, but also what lies ahead.
As a highly-touted freshman, UNLV guard Anthony Marshall gradually emerged last season, averaging 5.3 points per game in what was largely a reserve role for the 25-9 Rebels.
The hometown tie made him a fan favorite right from go, while his knack for momentum-changing dunks certainly didn't hurt, either.
Still, the Mojave High grad was far from flawless, as he had to adjust to his role as a back-up point guard, finishing with 58 assists and 58 turnovers. He also had a tough time getting outside shots to fall, going just 1-for-23 from deep.
Still, his outstanding athleticism helped Marshall pull down 3.1 rebounds a game and make several plays around the rim. Also, his wingspan of roughly seven feet combined with quickness made him a tough defender.
Marshall has a ways to go before hitting his full potential but showed as a freshman that he could soon become a star for coach Lon Kruger.
Ryan Greene: I know it's kind of a cliché question, but if you had to grade yourself individually, looking back on your freshman season, where would you put yourself?
Anthony Marshall:: As an individual? I'd give myself a C. I felt I didn't do too bad, but I didn't play how I wanted to play. I felt like I helped my team, but felt like I could have done more. Obviously, I've got to do a lot of work on my jump-shot this summer, and that's something I'm working pretty hard on along with ball-handling. I'm just trying to be a better overall player to help my team win more games and help us get deeper into the NCAA tournament.
RG: Now, when I've talked to people about you, that's one thing they want to talk about a lot — the shooting. I saw you play in high school and thought you were a pretty good shooter. You had to come into last season thinking you were a pretty good shooter, right?
AM: I feel like I'm a pretty good shooter. I think with me missing a couple of shots early, then everybody talking about it, I guess it became a little bit of a mental thing. But I'm not too worried about it. I know I can shoot. I've been playing basketball pretty much my whole life, and I've been pretty good all of my life. I just had a down year last year. I've just got to get my confidence up and put more work in, put more time into it.
RG: It seemed like I'd watch you in practice, and be it in half-court drills or just shooting after practice, it seemed like you didn't have any problems mechanically. It seemed like you could hit shots pretty regularly, but for whatever reason, it didn't transfer over into games. How frustrating was that as the year went on?
AM: It was pretty frustrating, because I was shooting shots that felt good, that I know I could have made. But I tried to just never get down on myself, keep my head up. I feel like early in the season, I didn't really have a rhythm. Just going into my jump shots, my footwork and my technique. Then as the season went on, staying after practice and getting shots up with the coaches, they gave me little hints and advice for better mechanics on my shots and I felt like it progressed more and more. I've just got to take that into this offseason and really work on that.
RG: Even with the shooting struggles, you were effective on offense with momentum-changing dunks. Did you have a favorite dunk out of the bunch?
AM: I would have to say my dunk in the conference tournament against Utah. It was a pretty intense game and we were trying to pull away, and that dunk kind of sealed the deal, if I remember correctly.
RG: Other than just getting more shots and more repetitions, how do you think you improve at it going into the next year from the mental aspect?
AM: I feel like going into next season, I'll be fine. It's not just about getting shots up, it's about how you get shots up. I can't just be going in there at half-speed and just getting shots up. I've got to make it like a game-type situation, because once you're in a game, it won't be half-speed. I've got to simulate game shots as best as I can. I'll be going to open gyms around the city and stuff like that, with a lot of college players coming back home. I'm gonna just play against them and try to work on my game like that.
RG: Have you already been doing that?
AM: Yeah, in the last couple of weeks since school's been out.
RG: Who are some players not from UNLV who you've been going against?
RG: I know pick-ups in Vegas over the summer are huge. How long have you been playing in those top-level pick-up games?
RG: You probably have equally intense of competition in the summers as you do in the season then, huh?
AM: Yeah, with all of those guys coming back to Vegas, everyone's competitive and no one wants to lose. There are some pretty heated games; arguments break out here and there, and no one wants to lose at the end of the day. We push each other to go hard and Vegas is a tight group, so we also push each other to get better.
RG: Speaking of Vegas being a tight-knit group, a lot of people sort of gravitated toward you because you are the guy from Vegas. What was the best part last year about being that guy, being the hometown hero?
AM: I'd have to say the younger kids looking up to me. That was a great feeling. Just to have kids writing me on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, asking me for pointers or just congratulating me after games, telling me that when they grow up they want to go to UNLV, that was a great feeling. It's great to be a positive role model for them.
RG: Did you feel like you were ready to be a role model?
AM: I did. I've pretty much been a role model since an early age, because I have two younger brothers and two younger sisters. I've been a person to look up to for a long time.
RG: What was maybe the most flattering thing that a younger fan said to you last season?
AM: Off the top of my head, I can't remember. There's been a lot of things that younger children said to me that just had me in awe. It's been surreal to hear some of the things they've said, with me coming from the same background they come from.
RG: We talked last summer, and you said you felt ready to be the guy who plays here at UNLV, being from Vegas, and doesn't let the hometown distractions get to him. Do you think you handled it pretty well this year?
AM: Yeah, I pretty much think I did. By me staying busy with school, workouts, practices, games, that helped me stay busy a lot. But at the same time, with the people here in Las Vegas, no one tries to tempt me to do anything bad. My supporting cast, they know what I strive for. They all want to see me be successful. Even if I wanted to, they wouldn't let me do that.
RG: I feel like 95 percent of what I usually ask you about is basketball-related, but you've mentioned school. How tough was your first year of college?
AM: I'd say it was pretty tough, but at the same time, it was pretty good because my teachers worked with me. I'd have to say the toughest thing about it was traveling so much and being able to get all of my work done at the same time. You really have to be locked in to get it done. But I built a relationship with my teachers and they understood what I was doing. They kind of helped me on my way through my first year of college.
RG: I heard you added a new tattoo. What'd you get?
AM: I was actually born in Louisiana, so on my arm, it says "318 made," which was the area code there. And I was raised here in Vegas, so it says "702 raised," with some flames and dice for the Vegas touch.
RG: When you get a tattoo, do you ever think "Oh, boy, this is permanent, and will I really want it when I'm 40?" Or do you just live in the moment?
AM: That's why all of my tattoos mean something to me, like that one, with where I was born at and where I was grew up.
RG: So you don't see yourself regretting that one someday when you're old and wrinkly?
AM: No, I don't.
RG: Now, I started this off asking about your shooting, so I might as well finish the same way. Three-pointers last year, you hit one. Have you set a goal for yourself on how many you want to hit next year or no?
AM: Well, I hope it's more than one. But I'm not thinking too much about threes. That's a part of the game. I have to work on my overall game. Just getting inside the key, little floaters, free throw line jumpers and then extending. I'm not going to settle on threes or anything like that. I'm going to take what the defense gives me.