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LOYALTY COUNTS – Rebels basketball star Marshall is a hometown favorite

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Feature


Anthony Marshall

Anthony Marshall had plenty of college options while starring for four years at Mojave High School in North Las Vegas. The 2009 Gatorade Nevada Basketball Player of the Year was a consensus Top 100 recruit by all the major national scouting services. He had also excelled at the prestigious NBA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., before his senior season with the Rattlers, when he averaged 25 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. Everyone from Stanford to UCLA to Gonzaga was recruiting him.
But Marshall, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound sophomore shooting guard, decided to stay home to play for his hometown school, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Marshall said it had nothing to do with the fancy pregame fireworks show or the fact that the Runnin’ Rebels won a NCAA national championship 20 years ago. Instead, Marshall, whose parents both work at Nellis Air Force Base — he frequently starts his answers to questions with “Yes sir” or “No sir” — said it had everything to do with something often overlooked in the world of sports these days: loyalty.
“My final list was down to UNLV, Miami (Fla.), Colorado State, San Diego State, Stanford and Baylor,” Marshall said. “I just felt that (UNLV head coach Lon Kruger) and the coaching staff were the most loyal to me. They had been recruiting me since my sophomore year. I felt I built a tight relationship with them. They were at my games when they were permitted to be by the (NCAA recruiting) rules. They were recruiting me before I blew up across the nation. I wanted someone in my corner that was loyal to me.”
Kruger, now in his seventh season as the Rebels head coach, said: “We were in there (recruiting) early and kept selling the fact that this is his hometown, that this was an experience that he could share with his family, how much he would bring to our program, and just how great a fit we thought he was.”
Midway through his sophomore year, Marshall has already established himself as a fan favorite at the Thomas & Mack Center thanks to his high-flying dunks and tenacious defense. It seems only a matter of time before he garners All-Mountain West Conference honors. Kruger said Marshall’s value to UNLV’s basketball program extends beyond the court.
“He’s a great ambassador for our program around campus and around town,” Kruger said. “Most (players on the Rebel team) are low maintenance. Anthony is no maintenance. He just takes care of everything on his own and does a great job. He’s very conscientious about how he’s represents his family and his community and his team.”
Marshall gives his former Mojave High School coach, Tony Hopkins, credit for helping mold him both on and off the court. “He was a big influence,” Marshall said. “I really had an attitude problem but he helped me mature as a basketball player. I was real emotional. I used to hate losing. I used to cry after losses. He just kind of helped me mature as a basketball player over the years and as a young man and I thank him a lot for that.”
As popular as Marshall is with basketball fans at the Thomas & Mack, he probably exceeds that in the world of social networking. Facebook no longer allows him to add any more friends after he hit the 5,000 mark and he’s closing in on 1,500 followers on Twitter, where he tweets daily and often.
“I do like it,” Marshall said. “It gives me a chance to interact with the fans, my family and friends. I get a lot tweets from younger players asking for advice and it’s great to be able to help them out.”
Marshall said he has no regrets with deciding to stay home to play for the Rebels. “Right now I can’t picture myself being anywhere else,” he said. “I love it. I love the community. I love the fans. I think we have the best fans in the nation. I’m just happy to be a part of the Rebel family.”

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