Former McKeesport, Akron star Zeke Marshall sets sights on NBA
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Within 48 hours of his accomplished college basketball career coming to an end, Zeke Marshall was back home in McKeesport this past weekend.
While he welcomed the chance to relax with friends and family, Marshall's visit was only temporary. Make no mistake, the 7-foot McKeesport High graduate wasn't in any hurry for the basketball portion of his time at the University of Akron to end.
“It couldn't have been better,” Marshall said of playing for the Zips, an experience that ended with a first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. “I don't think I could have asked any more of it to happen any better than it did.”
Marshall intends on finishing up an associate's degree this spring, and he has plans on eventually earning a bachelor's in the coming years. His immediate future, though, involves preparing for the NBA Draft.
A two-time Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year, Marshall was all-MAC as a senior after averaging 13.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game in leading Akron to the MAC regular season and tournament championships.
The NCAA Tournament appearance was Marshall's second during his four years with the Zips, a period of time in which he played in the conference championship game all four years.
“They say when you go to college, you find yourself,” Marshall said. “You find out more about who you are.
“Physically, mentally and psychologically, I've seen myself grow up in college.”
When Marshall left high school, there wasn't much room for him to grow in terms of height. That's OK, Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. He's grown in plenty of other ways.
“Most importantly, he's really matured as a man,” said Dambrot, a veteran of 10 years of Division I coaching experience who also was LeBron James' coach in high school. “Second-most importantly, he's really spent a lot of time in the gym, especially this year, so he's really improved his consistency level.
“He's not letting things bother him as easily, he's made big improvement as far as that goes.”
Shot-blocking is what stands out about Marshall — his 7-5 wingspan allowed him to break the MAC career blocks record. And that's likely one of the first things that will catch the attention of NBA scouts.
But it's not Marshall's only attribute, says Dambrot.
“He's got great instincts for (shot-blocking), but he's also gotten stronger,” Dambrot said. “He's a strong guy — he doesn't even realize how strong he is.
“He's a good lateral mover; he's just got to continue to get greater consistency and just keep maturing — that's the biggest thing. He was a late-developing guy. If he can continue to improve over the next one, two, three, four, five months as he did in the last year, he's going to be in good shape.”
Marshall is soliciting advice from coaches and scouts about how to refine his game in advance of the draft and to impress teams who might be interested in signing him should he not go in the two-round draft.
Marshall said he will continue to work out on the Akron campus this spring.
“Just getting better at all aspects of my game before I leave,” Marshall said. “Refining what I'm good at and getting better at what I'm not good at.”
McKeesport coach Corey Gadson followed Marshall's career closely. Gadson said there were times Marshall came back to work out with Tigers, sharing his experiences about college life and the college game.
Gadson has noted the improvement in Marshall's strength and conditioning since arriving at Akron — and he also has seen him develop a much stronger love for the game.
“He's just shown tremendous growth from a kid into a man,” Gadson said. “He's really matured as an individual; I'm just so proud of what he's done.
“He knew where to go where he would mature as an individual and in his game and also academically. He's stuck to it. Akron was just a great fit for Zeke. He's become a tremendous player, one who's sought after for the NBA.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Frederick’s bombs lead Belle Vernon softball over Elizabeth Forward
- Highmark asks patients to ‘Meet Dr. Right’
- Fawn man accused in assault sentenced to probation
- Butler County new home sales surge in 2014
- McKeesport’s Lake Emilie ready for trout season
- Business owners see pros, cons to Lincoln Way widening in White Oak
- Penguins stars Crosby, Malkin enduring playoff slump
- Bridge replacement projects set to start in Fawn, O’Hara
- Marathoner hit by vehicle in Murrysville recuperates
- Arnold family back home after gas leak
- Valley Independent roundup: Ringgold falls to South Park, Cal Area dominates