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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Kendall Marshall's (corrected) vision

By Robbi Pickeral

North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall has, perhaps, the best court vision in the ACC -- and maybe the nation. He’s averaging 9.8 assists (second-best in the country). A sophomore, he already ranks 11th in program history with 456 assists. And he’s posted 16 double-digit assist games, as many as UNC great Phil Ford.

So it was interesting to read in The (Raleigh) News & Observer on Wednesday morning that Marshall wears a contact lens -- and should probably be wearing two. Reporter Andrew Carter wrote:
Marshall, the sophomore point guard at North Carolina, scratched his left eye when he was a baby, scratched it so badly it bled.

He suffered from light sensitivity throughout childhood, when he often would bury his chin into his chest to avoid the sunlight during rides in a car. His sensitivity to light has improved. His vision has not. He plays with one contact lens - in his left eye, and probably should be playing with one in the other, too.

"I went to the doctor to get new glasses, and he told me my right eye's gotten worse," Marshall said recently. "So I probably need to be getting contacts in that eye, too. But I'm trying to wait until after the season because I don't want to mess with it midseason."

And for good reason. Marshall is the guy that makes this team go -- and the only experienced ballhandler with that capability, now that backup point guard/starting shooting guard Dexter Strickland is out for the season with a knee injury.

Marshall has often said he can’t explain exactly how he sees his teammates seemingly three passes ahead.

But with the Tar Heels preparing to play Duke on Wednesday night, it brings to mind former Blue Devils great Bobby Hurley, who holds the ACC record for assists (1,076). It’s a mark Marshall could pass -- if he stays at UNC for four seasons.

"When Bobby played here, for all you who can remember, he got a lot of assists in transition," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday. "And I think that's where Kendall is different than any other point guard in the country. He can really pass ahead. And not just a pass ahead for somebody to make a move -- he's made the move for the guy with the pass. With the runners that they have, you can get a lot of assists."

Especially when you can see like he does -- contact or no.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.