- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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Over at RecruitingNation, ESPN.com's Dave Telep on Monday told 10 stories we need to know before the NBA draft -- 10 stories about players before they were NBA prospects. Among them were some memories about a couple of UNC players.
Wrote Telep about point guard Kendall Marshall:
Marshall always looking for an assist
Kendall Marshall made the Hoop Summit team as a senior. In addition to Marshall's playing behind Brandon Knight, there was another guard who impeded his playing time: Kyrie Irving. Marshall was put on the team because he was good enough, a great passer and a pied piper. Once Marshall was on a team, let him recruit the other players for the squad. Anyone sitting on the fence about playing would be swayed with Marshall at the helm. He's always been a unifying team guy.
Late in a close game, the coach turned to Marshall and was about to put him in. Marshall, who knew the team better than the coach because he's a junkie and basically a groupie who is a great player, would have nothing of it. "Coach, Kyrie's tired, but he's our best player. Leave him in -- he'll be OK," he said. With 44 seconds remaining, Irving's hoop put USA up for good. In an era of egos, Marshall's is tame, and he's a winner.
Telep also recalled two stories about wing Harrison Barnes:
Round 1 of Barnes vs. Gilchrist
The 2009 NBA Top 100 Camp was one of the greatest camp collections of talent in the past decade, as 23 of the top 25 prospects attended the camp. During camp, the biggest head-to-head matchup was Michael Gilchrist against Harrison Barnes. At the time, Gilchrist was the nation's best junior and Barnes the No. 1 senior. If they'd met before, it certainly wasn't on a stage this big. That year, I ran the camp, and Barnes called me two weeks prior to tip. "Please let me play against the best you have coming to camp," he said. We ran him through the gauntlet -- Jereme Richmond, Gilchrist and C.J. Leslie.
The matchup between Barnes and Gilchrist was a tale of two styles. Barnes is a thinker, the guy who examines the situation, formulates a plan and executes. Gilchrist's approach is much less complex. While Barnes is a planner, Gilchrist is in the moment. He was the aggressor versus Barnes and won the first half. Barnes struck back in the second as Gilchrist suffered an ankle injury. In a great matchup, Gilchrist scored the win on a bad wheel.
Three days later, my phone rang. It was Barnes. "The next time I see him, I'll know his tendencies," Barnes said. "That won't happen again."
Barnes, Prather and the offer
Barnes is a list guy. As high school sophomore, he kept a list of higher-ranked players, and he was intent on methodically taking down each one. In the spring of his junior year, North Carolina had a few offers out to players at his position. On the first day of the open period, Roy Williams visited with Barnes. The next day Williams flew to Tennessee and offered fellow SF Casey Prather a scholarship. Barnes took note.
At the Real Deal In The Rock, Barnes saw me as I was walking into the gym.
"What's his number?" he said. At first, I was caught off guard. It took me a minute to figure out he was asking who Prather was. I told him, and he said, "Make sure you're there. I'll give you something to write about."
Barnes held Prather to four points in the first half and scored 21 himself. He also led in cold shoulders given. However, Prather had the final say because he was on a better team and it rallied for a win. Regardless, Barnes made his statement.
Marshall, Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller are all projected as first-round draft picks.
Over at RecruitingNation, ESPN.com's Dave Telep on Monday told 10 stories we need to know before the NBA draft -- 10 stories about players before they were NBA prospects.