Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tudor: UNC's Marshall the new Phelps?

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams sees a few differences, but there are some similarities between former Tar Heels playmaker Derrick Phelps and current starter Kendall Marshall.

It goes beyond the fact both are left-handers.

Like Phelps, who directed Dean Smith's club to the 1993 NCAA title and a 78-68 Final Four win over Williams' fifth Kansas team in the process, Marshall shows an uncanny knack for knowing exactly how and when to detect soft spots in opposing defenses.

"He really does see the whole court at once," said UNC junior center Tyler Zeller. "He's got that feel for who's open and who's not."

An example was Marshall's no-look, overhead flip-back pass to John Henson with about 13 minutes left in the first half of Sunday's 89-69 win over Florida State in Chapel Hill. Marshall finished with 16 assists.

Phelps showed the same traits as a freshman in 1990-91, but there was far less first-year pressure on him to produce with senior King Rice at the point.

By the start of the '92-'93 season, the 6-foot-4 Phelps, now on the Fordham staff, was among the best passers in the ACC and nationally.

"Kendall's not as athletic as [Derrick] was," Williams said. "We're going to try to run a set play before Kendall's career is over to see if he can dunk it.

"Derrick was a little quicker and was a really intelligent player.

"That's what Kendall is. It's the best part of his game, but it's just not his brain. He's got great vision and he can shoot the ball. His shooting is going to get to the point that it's really good because he'll work at it.

"I'd like for him to play at a faster pace and that's something he has the time to work on. Then, it'll be really hard to guard him."

If it means anything, Phil Ford had a virtually no jumping ability and couldn't come remotely close to dunking. But for sheer foot speed as a player, Ford still ranks among the quickest players in ACC history.

-- Caulton Tudor


DUCK_FOOK said...

Go Heels!! Baby blue-88
Puke blue-77

Anonymous said...

Phelps was one also of the best defensive players at the point UNC has ever had, which the article fails to mention. Don't quite see that as a similarity....yet.

Anonymous said...

Delusional. Both the article and "DUCK_FOOK"'s prediction.