UNLV basketball:

UNLV’s Anthony Marshall plans to turn negative comments into a win against TCU

Rebels guards Marshall and Oscar Bellfield frequently favorite negative tweets, keeping them handy for motivation

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall heads off the court after the Rebels dropped their Mountain West Conference opener to San Diego State 69-67 Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at Viejas Arena in San Diego.

UNLV Rebels to face TCU

KSNV coverage of upcoming game against the UNLV Rebels and TCU Horned Frogs, Jan. 17, 2012.

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UNLV junior guard Anthony Marshall often favorites negative tweets as a means of motivation, including these from after Saturday's loss to San Diego State.

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Senior guard Oscar Bellfield often favorites negative tweets as a means of motivation, including these from after Saturday's loss to San Diego State.

They flow in steadily, 140 characters or less at a time.

Most of the time people tweet UNLV guard Anthony Marshall (@ANT_MARZ3) about the Lakers, relationships or to congratulate him on the season or a particular game. Then there are the other ones.

“anthony marshall #youdisgustme”

“I really don’t like Anthony Marshall. Cocky beyond belief.”

Most people go out of their way to avoid bad things that are written or said about them. Marshall favorites them, filing the negativity away so that he can read it at any time with the click of a button.

“Every other day, when I’m on Twitter or I just have some down time I read some comments that people say about me,” Marshall said. “It just adds motivation, fuel to the fire.”

The vitriol was especially voluminous after Saturday’s 69-67 loss at San Diego State. On Wednesday, Marshall and the Rebels (16-3, 0-1) get a chance to turn that negative energy into positive results when they host TCU (10-6, 0-1) at 7:30 p.m. It’s the Rebels' first game at home since a historic 124-75 victory against Central Arkansas on Dec. 28.

Marshall’s motivational tactic ramped up after his 0-for-7 debut in a 71-67 victory over Nevada-Reno, a performance he said he still thinks about. However, the practice dates back to high school.

“Some people say you shouldn’t read comments like that, but it’s something I’ve been doing since high school, even articles in the newspaper you see something that someone had to say,” Marshall said. “That’s something I’m accustomed to doing.”

He’s certainly not the only one. Athletes are known for using perceived slights to drive them to work harder and improve their game (see: Jordan, Michael). The only thing that’s changed is the technology.

“You just had to make mental notes,” Marshall said, “so now that you have Twitter it allows you to favorite those tweets.”

UNLV senior guard Oscar Bellfield (@odyebeeisback) also favorites tweets that attack him or point out poor statistics. And after shooting 1-for-12 against the Aztecs, there were plenty of those.

The thing about this tactic is that almost anything can be perceived as a negative comment if you want it to be. And that’s what makes the practice such an effective tool in the proper hands.

If you can emotionally detach yourself from the attacks most of the time, as Marshall said he does, and then use them when you need an extra boost, it’s a perfect solution.

After all, living well is the best revenge.

The key is to keep your composure and rely mostly on positive support or constructive criticism, especially when it comes from your coach.

“Offensively, we got away from how we’ve played most of the season,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said of Saturday’s loss. “We were not selfish, but I do think that we had some guys that probably tried to do a little bit too much instead of relying on each other.”

Bellfield and Marshall, who was 8-for-17, took the most shots on the team in San Diego. Marshall kept the Rebels in the game with a team-leading 26 points, but antagonists could also point to his team-leading five turnovers.

The Rebels are never going to please all the people all the time. They know that. This is about getting better by any means necessary.

Whether it’s a tweet or a comment on a story, if you’ve written anything about Marshall on the Internet, there’s a good chance he’s read it.

And if it was negative, or even just perceived to be so, you probably helped make him better.

“I read comments, I go to different message boards in my free time, and just read things people have to say,” Marshall said. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but just for me, I use that as motivation to prove those people wrong.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Sounds like SDSU trolls creating fake twitter accounts, then following our players and then bash them after a great game? Is there nothing they wont stoop to? Way to stay classy SDSU.

  2. God bless SDSU.

  3. I don't understand why Marshall would get negative tweets from actual Rebel fans? If it wasn't for him we would of lost by 20. Even though I may seem harsh, I can understand why fans would be upset with Oscar.

  4. I typically send the teammates a good luck tweet on gamedays, maybe I should just tell them the opposite from now on. Haha.

  5. @ guru--
    i know why you're saying that, but i actually DON'T see why fans would be upset with oscar. the kid had a bad shooting night. you could even say he's been in a slump. but it's not like his effort hasn't been there, and anybody who's played basketball at any level can tell you that sometimes the shots just don't go in. it sucks and it's frustrating as hell, but it's nothing fans should be giving him sh*t about. it seems like people forget that this is the same dude who had a great shooting night against UNC, or hit the game winner twice against louisville. he's done a lot for us as fans to be proud of him in his 4 yrs and it's kind of annoying that people are forgetting that.

  6. Go read the rebel.net rivals board, plenty of "legit" rebels fans openly criticize UNLV players. I am sure they have a bunch to refer to unfortunately. The threads on Oscar's performance were very attacking. It's one thing for SDSU fans to do that, another when our own fans do it.

  7. Some people do go a bit far when criticizing our own players, but I don't think it's necessarily wrong for people to be able to express opinions regarding certain players. When it starts going to irrational, personal attacks, that's when things go crazy.

    Unfortunately, Oscar really is the "cog" of sorts that keeps the team going smoothly and when he has terrible off games, such as he had in the three games we have lost this year (3-9 @ WSU, 3-12 @ WIS and 1-12 @ SDSU), the whole team really struggles. I don't think he should be benched and I think he will get it going, but he has to find a way to keep it going even when his shot isn't.

    I don't think anyone, at least anyone who pays attention, is suggesting Oscar is an awful player. Hopefully everyone remembers the big shots he has made in the past, but it is still the past.

    And don't mistake this post as laying it all on him. Chace disappeared in Viejas again, Moser rebounded well but was a non-factor on offense, Massamba's early technical effectively took him out of the first half. It was a bad game for the TEAM. The TEAM lost and the TEAM will work on it and get it right. Good news is... the toughest road game in conference is out of the way.

  8. It gets pretty disgusting reading someone rip a college(or high school) athlete for their performance or lack thereof. I would question if any of the "haters" would have even 10% of the the athelete's athletic ability or his drive. If you need to vent because of your athletic inabilities and/or shortcomings direct it at the coach not the player!

  9. NoCal: It's reasonable for fans to express their disappointment with a player or the team.

    Adrock: I agree with you that the young man has struggled shooting, my problem is when you are 1-12 perhaps it's time during that game you turn into a distributor, re bounder, and defender. I only get upset when he takes bad threes early in the shot clock when he is struggling. Which I believe is a reasonable complaint.

    Mike Lange: I agree with your analysis completely it is a team loss, and the responsibility has to be shared by all members.

  10. @guru--
    fair enough. the only thing i would say is that a shooter in a slump needs to shoot his way out of it. i think sometimes the shots we might call "ill-advised" actually are, but that's a trade we'll have to make, seeing as how we were all so gung-ho about the rebels getting running again. fast pace sometimes means more turnovers and quick/unnecessary shots. not speaking for everyone, but that's a trade i'm willing to make.