Those are big words, I know. Marcus Paige will be better than KButter5? Impossible! No, it’s going to happen and it going to happen quicker than Tar Heel nation thinks.
Kendall Marshall was one of the absolute purest point guards in North Carolina basketball history. He was a true pass-first, shoot-second floor commander who was the most important player on the floor for UNC and if he hadn’t of suffered that season-ending wrist injury…well, that’s a sore subject. Let’s just say Kentucky’s Human Uni-brow and Used Car Salesman Elect wouldn’t have been smiling so wide (You know who I’m talking about).
Semantics; it didn’t happen. What I’m trying to get at is that Marshall was an unbelievable talent and floor general. The thing is, true freshman Marcus Paige has scarily similar numbers.
Kendall finished his freshman season with 6.2 points per game, 69% free throw percentage, and 2.5 turnovers an outing for his 24.6 minutes a game average. Paige finished his freshman season better than Marshall. Paige ended with higher points per game (8.2), higher free throw percentage (83%), higher minutes per game (29.2), and the same 2.5 turnovers an outing. Now, Marshall broke out his sophomore season with a head-shaking 9.8 assists and 8.2 points. Can Paige do that? My answer is: yes. Here’s why.
Kendall Marshall had many more options of scorers to get the ball to than Paige has had. Surrounded by three other NBA first-rounders, Kendall was able to disperse the basketball without having to put up so many buckets himself. Paige has had to shoulder a lot more of the load this early in his career. With J.P. Tokoto and Joel James having such underwhelming freshman seasons, Marcus Paige has willed himself to become a strong scoring threat—though he is a true pass-first, shoot-second guard. Marshall didn’t have to do that until late in his sophomore season.
Look, both are phenomenal UNC point guards. Kendall Marshall was silky smooth on the court and Paige has an even-tempered demeanor with a healthy dose of scrappiness. Though both the ying and the yang are both important, Marcus Paige will fully overtake Marshall by the second half of next year.