Ever since the announcement on Sunday that Kendall Marshall had broken his wrist, I’ve been noodling on several different thoughts. Below are just a few of them as we move through the week and look ahead to what could either be the end of the road for Carolina, or an epic story leading to the Final Four.
There was an article that came out last week about Harrison Barnes and how he sees his opportunity at UNC to build a brand for his NBA future. As I watched this weekend and thought back on his season (which many would call average to disappointing after 2011), I think it made perfect sense. He listened too closely to those that said he needed to develop off the dribble for the NBA. This season has been his testing ground as he refined his game. He has gotten away from the long sweet stroke jumpers that made him daggers last year. Over the next 4 games, he needs to get back to 2011 form. Forget the drives. Forget your “brand”. Forget the NBA for the next 4 games, do what the team needs. If this team will succeed without Marshall, it’s going to take an entire team playing to their best. That will be legendary and being a legend is great for the brand.
As a fan, dad and coach, I look at this Kendall Marshall situation in three different ways. As a fan, get him back on the court with duck tape and super glue if you have to. UNC has an opportunity to hang another banner and it has to be this year. As a dad, I say that his future is all to important for 4 games that guarantee you nothing. Do what’s right for your son. As a coach, it’s a mixture of both. I know enough about Roy Williams to know that he won’t do anything that Kendall and his family have not agreed to. It will be there call and even then, Roy will be darn sure they are 100% certain in their decision.
While there are some nice prospects coming in next year, (2013 will be an EPIC class by the way), it could be a lean year in the Hill. If all or any of these guys declare, chances of going deep in March are pretty slim. That makes the Marshall injury that much tougher. You only get a chance every so often. Obviously those chances come along at UNC more often than other schools, but we’re spoiled and it would be nice to see another banner go up in the rafters.
I would be interested to be in the mind of the guys that are considering going pro as they watched Marshall get hurt on Sunday. It has to play into the decision when you have millions of dollars just waiting on you, or one more shot at an NCAA title. In an instant an injury can change everything for not only you, but an entire team. While millions of dollars would be nice, I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision.