Marshall Attends First Day of School

Marshall literally ran through his first day of conditioning practice at training camp.
(Greg Esposito/Suns.com)
Posted: October 2, 2012

Growing up, there was nothing like the feeling of the first day of school. After a long summer, everyone can recall the butterflies felt before a new year of potential and uncertainty.

That’s exactly how Suns rookie Kendall Marshall felt before his first official practice in the NBA on Tuesday morning. The Suns’ lottery pick underwent his first conditioning practice as a pro at the UCSD campus in San Diego, awaiting his first full-contact NBA practice later that evening.

However, when asked whether there was much of a difference between his first practice at North Carolina and his first as a Sun, Marshall gave a bit of a surprising response.

“None,” the 6-4 point guard said. “There’s no difference at all. I feel like Carolina definitely prepared me for the next level.”

And it wasn’t like Marshall’s memory was hazy, stating that he remembered his first practice at UNC like “it was yesterday.” The playmaker recalled North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams’ two-and-a-half-hour practices and all of the running and conditioning that went into them.

When one thinks about it, it does make sense that UNC provided a practical apprenticeship for adapting to the Suns’ style and the NBA. The Tar Heels had four first-round picks in the 2012 NBA Draft and are consistently among one of the best collegiate programs in the country.

However, the main thing that stood out to Marshall about playing with his new NBA teammates, as opposed to his college ones, is the “girth” of his fellow Suns.

“These are grown men,” Marshall said. “I did feel like I was playing for a professional team in college, but we weren’t grown men yet. We still had little bodies, I guess you could say.”

Marshall also credits the input of the Suns’ head of player personnel, Lindsey Hunter, with preparing him for training camp. The first-year guard has learned that adjusting to the rapid pace of the NBA doesn’t always consist of going fast all the time.

“You have to learn to use your body and get into somebody both on the offensive and defensive end,” he said.

Although it was just the first day of class, Marshall has already learned what good students use to excel: the importance of being prepared. Now, that he has that down, he just has to do what good students know about getting ahead: doing his homework.

Now we’ll see how much he can cram in by opening night on October 31.

Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.