(Photo: Noah Findling/WCSN)
Jermaine Marshall’s surroundings have changed quite a bit. This time last season the senior was in Happy Valley putting on some impressive offensive performances but coming up consistently short in the win column.
That season concluded with a 10-21 record as well as a 2-16 record in Big-10 conference play.
Marshall surpassed both of those marks this season in early December and January. The swingman has played over 20 games with the Sun Devils to this point and enough PAC-12 conference games to form a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the differences between the prestigious Big-10 and the rising Pac-12 conferences.
“The Big-10’s a lot more physical,” Marshall said. “I think guys slow it down a lot more in the Big-10 and really focus on defense. Whereas in the Pac-12 teams push the ball a lot more, focus on getting quick and easy points.”
The 6-foot-4 guard benefited a considerable amount from slow play last season; he put on some well documented shows where he scored 29 points against no. 18 Michigan State, 25 against no. 4 Michigan, and 23 against Wisconsin who was no. 22 at the time.
Most of the time, Marshall is seen hoisting up three-point shots. He has a quick and high release that has been a lethal injection to the opposition at many times this season, but stagnant at a few points as well.
“Mainly as a shooter the biggest thing is trying to hit your first shot, and then when you don’t see that you try to work from the inside out,” Marshall explained.
Although the guard said play is more up-tempo in the Pac-12, it is rather apparent that lengthy ball players like him are able to slow down the game at their command. This is a playing style that is often seen from UCLA’s Kyle Anderson. Both players are able to handle the ball either on the wing or the top of the key, break down their man on the dribble, and use their two lengthy steps to get enough room on their man to manufacture a basket.
Marshall does not go to the hoop every time he touches the ball, but the technique is unquestionably in the wingman’s arsenal. This is probably why the Pennsylvania native said he considers himself to be a guy that can do it all. “I like to post, drive to the basket, and if I’m open I’ll knock down the open shot,” Marshall said.
Anyone who has played basketball with players of a higher level knows that there is a certain culture amongst players that involves talking a substantial amount of trash talking to their opponents.
The Big-10 is filled with so many star players, one would think that, that atmosphere was filled with those types of loquacious individuals. Marshall however, said the case is inverse, “I’m gonna say guys are more confident in the Pac-12.”
“I think they have more freedom here in the Pac-12. The Big Ten is more of a team game,” Marshall said.
Speaking of confident actions, earlier in the season after Marshall sunk the game-tying basket with 17 seconds left on the road against Cal. He put his finger to his mouth to symbolize his quieting of the crowd.
When asked if he took any heat for making the gesture before the game had been secured in the following overtime Marshall replied, “No. I think coach Herb wants us to play positive be confident. That was just a sign of my confidence and what was going in at the moment. I was asking for the ball so I was pretty excited. “
Marshall has had another year of seemingly league-ready performances and cited raising his stock for the NBA draft as one of the reasons he initially transferred to ASU. However, right now he said he isn’t quite sure his stock is in that position.
“I don’t think I’m in the draft right now,” Marshall said. “I really try to focus on being the best team here at ASU. If that’s in God’s plan for me to get drafted it’ll happen. “
It always comes back to the team. The standout transfer mentioned the NCAA tournament twice without being prompted on the prominent post-season event. He has been there once before and is clearly, as are all his teammates, looking to slide in this year.
Marshall has been both a glue guy and the main attraction this season. He’ll be using his big game experience from all different walks of his basketball career as the Sun Devils continue on their odyssey to the dance.