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Wednesday, February 16, 2011
POTW: Brooks' Marshall back in big way

By Scott Powers

Brooks guard George Marshall has experienced a roller coaster of emotions this season.
George Marshall
Brooks guard George Marshall is bound for Wisconsin.

From anticipation and excitement over signing with Wisconsin and entering his senior year as one of the top guards in the state, to the disappointment of breaking his left hand in December and undergoing surgery.

But now he's back. And after sitting out 14 games -- a bulk of the season -- Marshall believes there's plenty of time remaining for the roller coaster to hit new heights.

Marshall earned ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of the Week honors as he helped lead Brooks into the Chicago Public League semifinals with three wins. Marshall scored 12 fourth-quarter points and hit the game-winner in the final seconds of Sunday's 56-54 comeback victory over Farragut.

"It's the biggest moment so far in my career," Marshall said. "It was just exciting.

"[The season's] been difficult because before I got hurt I was playing pretty well. I was really looking forward to the whole season. For me to come right back and contribute to the team and lead them, it means a lot."

Up until the final quarter against Farragut, Marshall had been quiet, and Brooks had paid for it. Marshall had gone scoreless for the game's first 24 minutes, and Farragut had built its lead up to 15 points in the second half.

Seeing his time quickly slipping past him, Marshall decided he needed to do something.

"George ran over to me and said, ‘Give me the ball,'" Brooks coach Bobby Locke said. "A real ballplayer asks for the ball in the heat of the moment. He was ready to make some plays for us."

Locke called a pick-and-roll. Marshall dribbled, his teammate set a pick, Marshall maneuvered and burst toward the basket and scored. From there, he added eight more points over the coming minutes to pull Brooks back into the game.

With the game tied after Farragut missed a free throw in the final minute, Locke went back to the pick-and-roll. Marshall received the screen, dribbled left, found open space about 17 feet out, leaped and released the ball from his right hand.

"I stepped right into it and followed through," Marshall said. "Once it left my hand, I knew it was going in."
The ball fell through the net with 3.7 seconds remaining.

"Bottom line, he wanted it," Locke said. "He wanted to do his part. He felt like it was his time to step up. That's what you expect from a high-major caliber player."

Marshall's game will remind Wisconsin fans of their current star guard, 6-1 junior Jordan Taylor. The 6-0 Marshall is a prototypical combo guard. He can handle it, shoot it and pass it.

"We do some of the same things," Marshall said of Taylor. "We create. He shoots well. I shoot well. We get other guys involved. I could see myself filling that role in the coming years."

Locke shares that confidence.

"Jordan gets it done, but I think George is more of a natural," Locke said. "George creates his offense. George is a natural point guard who can score the ball."

Marshall has his eyes set on national championship at Wisconsin, but for now he has big plans for the remainder of his season.

"City, I definitely think we can win city," Marshall said. "Simeon beat us before, but I wasn't playing. State, I don't think we're looking past anybody, but I think we can win state.

"I'm hitting my stride at the right time. I'm having a lot of fun. Winning is a lot of fun. As long as we keep winning, I'm going to have a lot of fun. Hopefully, a bigger moment in my career will come. Hopefully, it'll be winning a championship."