March Madness is the time when top draft prospects typically solidify their status or boost their stock considerably on college basketball's biggest stage. Unfortunately for North Carolina's Kendall Marshall, he didn't get the opportunity to show scouts what he could do against top competition in this year's tournament. The sophomore point guard hit the hardwood wrist-first after a layup against Creighton in the round of 32, ending his season prematurely. However, Marshall has shown scouts plenty ever since taking the reigns as UNC's starting point guard in his freshman season and made tremendous strides in 2011/12 as he led the talent-rich team.
One could also say that Marshall's importance to the Tarheels was underscored by his absence for the remainder of the tournament. UNC, despite having three more All-Americans outside of Marshall, would succumb to No. 2 Kansas in the Elite Eight. Surrounded by a multitude of scorers, including likely top ten pick Harrison Barnes, Marshall spread the wealth with his remarkable passing ability. This year, Marshall averaged 9.8 assists per contest while turning the ball over just 2.8 times per game. It seems likely that Marshall will have a relatively easy learning curve entering the league this year and can be plugged in to any style of offense. While there have been questions about fellow one-guard Damian Lillard's court vision, there are no such qualms when it comes to Marshall.
Unlike Lillard, Marshall hasn't shown that he can be an effective scorer at the next level. Marshall averaged just 8.1 PPG this season, but in his defense, he wasn't asked to shoot as a part of UNC's offense. The youngster's distribution skills are so solid that he'll never have to be a quality scorer to succeed in the Association. The real question is, can he score well enough in order to establish a triple threat? Marshall's defense has also been called into question by some NBA scouts who fear that he can be easily overwhelmed by quicker, more agile opponents.
As it stands now, DraftExpress has Marshall pegged to go No. 14 while ESPN's Chad Ford has him at No. 18. If Marshall chooses to make the rounds on the combine circuit heading into the draft and shows that he can score and defend in live action, he could easily find himself in the backend of the lottery.