Among the Georgia’s high school juniors, Wilcox County’s Nick Marshall may be the No. 1 football and basketball player. When is the last time that has happened?
As with all great players, especially those being recruited as intensely as Marshall already is, there are always rumors circulating. There is a rumor going around that Marshall was ejected from the Class A semifinals because of a bad attitude.
That’s just not true, but we’ll let Wilcox County basketball coach George Kennedy clear it up:
“The (Wesleyan) kid was right there on him, and (Marshall) elbowed a little bit and the referee saw it and called a technical foul. I think it was a little bit of frustration from Nick about the second half (about fouls not being called). It was a close ballgame, and then it started slipping away in the third quarter, so some of it was frustration, which is no excuse. I’m not making excuses for him. There is no excuse for that.”
So, yes, Marshall left the game for good, but it was only because the technical was his fifth and final foul. If you’ve ever seen Marshall play (and yes, it is worth the trip to wherever Wilcox County is on the map), you feel like you’re in the presence of greatness. He averaged 28 points per game, and dropped 52 points in the playoff opener. Marshall is very competitive, but the technical is more the exception than the rule, according to those who know him the best.
“Sometimes he’ll get frustrated, like anyone else,” Kennedy said. “But that’s the first time I’ve know of that he’s lost his calm and somewhat retaliated. He’s still young, and he’s a junior. At other times, he has shown frustration but he’s handled it better.”
The big difference between Marshall and 99-percent of the high school athletes in Georgia is that everybody is always watching Nick. Anything he does, whether it be good or bad, is greatly magnified. It’s part of the deal when you’re an elite athlete, whether they like it or not. However, one thing every kid wants to avoid at all costs is earning the reputation for having a bad attitude (like one of the state’s top senior basketball players who we won’t name). Kennedy strongly defends Marshall’s character.
“I talked to him individually the next day … He said ‘Yes sir, coach, I understand and I’m sorry (about the technical),’” Kennedy said. “He understands it. I’ve told him he’s going to be in a fishbowl for the rest of his career at the high school level. Everybody is going to be looking at him not only as he plays, but also at how he handles himself. He’s young, he’s learning, and still maturing. He’s a great, great kid.”
Note: While we’re on the topic of rumors, Nick’s mom says she had to make people around town clear that Nick has not committed to Florida State.
Marshall’s offers include UGA and Georgia Tech in football, and UGA in basketball.
Correction: An online headline earlier said Nick Marshall was ejected from the Class A semifinals game. He was not. AJC.com regrets the error.