Sunday, July 1, 2012

Interview with Anthony Marshall

On Saturday, June 30, 2012 Anthony Marshall did a comprehensive interview with Rebel Reign and many areas fans wanted to know about - he answered. As a senior, a leader, and a floor general Anthony will play a huge part of the Runnin' Rebels success this upcoming season, his final as a Rebel. He is also a class act as a Las Vegas native. Everyone enjoy!

RR = Rebel Reign
AM = Anthony Marshall

RR: You’ve been known to use negative comments from opponents, their fans, and even some from UNLV fans to push you harder – when did you start doing that and does it really work for you?

AM: It’s kind of something I’ve always done, even since my younger days. You hear talking around the city, and it kind of motivates you to prove doubters wrong. You just go out there and work harder, so publically its gotten out over the past year – but I actually do really use it. I use what people say about our or my abilities to work harder.

RR: So how far back have you been using it?

AM: Middle school, high school. A lot of people say you shouldn’t read negative things because it could harm your game or stuff like that, but for me, it just adds fuel to the fire. Back in high school I would go onto message boards and read, just like I do now. You have to have a tough skin and all, but I use it.

RR: With Oscar Bellfield graduating, there is an obvious opening at the PG position – are you ready to run Coach Rice’s up-tempo offense, and what can we expect different from what we saw from Oscar?

AM: Well, if you’re a Rebel fan and at the games you would see I ran a lot of point last season. Me and Oscar were so interchangeable, sometimes he would go to the wing and let me run the break, run the point guard position a lot. If you look at my stats, I’ve made some strides over the last couple of years on my assist to turnover ratio. I felt this past year I did fairly well, could do a lot better, but I felt it was a starting point for me. Oscar was first, and I was second in assists in the conference. So I feel that I am really ready to play the point guard position, it’s something I feel I can do, and to be the team we want to be I’ll have a good opportunity to fill that role.

RR: Do you see yourself playing shooting guard or point guard at the next level?

AM: Well if you look at the guys who play shooting guard at the next level, they are 6’6”, 6’7” around there, so for me, I feel PG is the position I’ll have to play and I’m pretty comfortable playing it. There’s still some things I need to work on in that area, just my overall game, I just can’t be satisfied with one thing. So for me to get where I’m trying to go the point guard position is something I have to play. If you look at Russell Westbrook, who is a great player – not trying to compare  myself to Westbrook, in college he was more of a shooting guard (at UCLA he wasn’t PG, they had Collision) and then in the NBA they tried to mold him into a point guard. It’s just a learning process – a transition.

RR: As a Las Vegas native, you’ve been a strong vocal supporter of recruiting locally. Are you happy how things have changed since you’ve started with the program, and how much further does UNLV need to go to get to where you think it should be in local recruiting?

AM: I think it’s changed a lot. Coming out of high school, people really weren’t considering UNLV as a destination, not too excited about playing basketball here. UNLV staff wasn’t really focused on recruiting local prospects like that. That’s why UNLV wasn’t recruiting local prospects. Now you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone with UNLV hat, tee shirt or sweatshirt or just talking about the Rebels – it’s a real feeling. When I signed my letter of intent this is what I envisioned, now its exciting to become a Runnin’ Rebel.

RR: Is there anything more that can be done to improve?

AM: I just feel like if we keep doing what we’re doing,, keep winning, and we’re one of  the elite programs – everything should take care of itself. Who wouldn’t want to come and play for a Coach who lets you do what you want to do, gives freedom as long as you play hard each time, play defense, and play as a family. He lets you get out of run, he’ll never tell you not to shoot a good shot. And who wouldn’t want to play in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada – it all just clicks.

RR: What are your personal goals for the 2012-13 season?

AM: Improving my overall game, I feel like returning and being a leader on this team, on and off the court, focus on the goal that’s ahead – to win a championship. That’s why we all came to UNLV, and that’s what Coach Rice feels we are capable of. So, if you look at the nucleus we already have and bring in the new guys, we have a great opportunity. Even though its far away, and easier said than done - put in the work and we’ll get there.

RR: Even though your already a pretty athletic and muscular guy, what are you working on physically in the off-season?

AM: I’m just trying to get my eating habits right, hard being a college athlete and stuff like that. Just getting my eating habits right. I really want to take a night class in yoga, it prevents injuries and soreness – just staying healthy and all. It’s just hard to find a night one because of summer school, and practice.

RR: When this year is over, and you’ve graduated – what will you miss the most about playing for UNLV?

AM: It’s kind of hard to say because there are so many things, but I’d have to say being around my teammates. You really grow a tight bond with them – like they are your family. That and definitely putting on the UNLV jersey and running down the red carpet. That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish.

RR: What is something you’ve learned from Coach Rice and staff that’s new to you, both on and off the basketball court? (philosophy, tips, etc)

AM: They are both terrific coaches (Rice and Kruger). They are really similar, except for Coach Rice wanting to play fast and Coach Kruger wanting you to slow things down first. It’s kind of good having both because sometimes the flow of  the game is a team that likes to get up and down like you, then others want to work in the half court. Their methods of teaching are kind of different, but overall, it’s kind of the same.

RR: Who has been you most challenging 1-on-1 defensive / offensive assignment – in college basketball / MWC / within your team?

AM: Personally, that’s a tough question. Hard to say, I look forward to guarding all the guys at SDSU – I grew up playing against them. On the court – we’re enemies, but off we are friends. So I’d have to say it’s always good matching up with guys you know. Hank Thorns Jr. at TCU, Billy White when he was at SDSU, BYU, they liked to get up and down when we played them. It’s always fun.

RR: Inter-squad scrimmages – who is  the biggest challenge to play against?

AM: I always match up with Justin Hawkins, Bryce Jones, or Mike Moser. With Justin – I’ve known him like since the 9th grade. He always thinks he has an advantage on me because he knows my game. Bryce, he’s very competitive as is Mike Moser.

RR: Is Justin as successful at picking your pocket as he is in the game?

AM: Actually no, because I know his defensive tendencies, and I know better than to dribble the ball  right in front of him, keep my body between him and the ball. So he doesn’t pick my pocket like that.

RR: Twitter – obviously you are plugged into social media, what does the interaction mean to you and how does it differ from before you had a twitter account?

AM: I actually got Twitter my freshman year, before anyone really had it. Then my sophomore year, people saw how much I tweeted and people started following me – then it really blew up.

RR: What kind of effect does it have on you?

AM: Some people say  it may have a negative effect, but to me, it I’d say it has a very positive effect. Growing up, never had a website or social network to reach people we looked up to, to ask them advice or questions. So for people to write me questions or comment on how they feel about something – I cherish that, and appreciate it. I think it’s fun, I’m always looking to help someone if they need it, or answer questions like who’s my favorite players, etc. Someone taking five minutes out of  their day to talk to me, I appreciate that.

RR: Do you think you could go without Twitter at this point?

AM: Yeah, I could. It’s just a social network – not life or death. I could do without it.

RR: Just was curious, because obviously there are collegiate programs that don’t allow it and that can be a big part of a player’s decision on whether to attend that school or not. But it doesn’t look like anything like that will be happening at UNLV anytime soon.

AM: I feel like we are all responsible men. Coach Rice, he holds us accountable as adults – we know what we can’t write. So he treats us like adults.

RR: There was a stretch of games last season where you were half-man half-amazing – otherworldly. Now, you always play really well, looking back what was clicking for you during that time period?

AM: Just being aggressive. In the beginning, I was more passive, looking more to get my teammates involved. I wasn’t really looking for my own offense, and that hurt a bit .I’d say around the SDSU game, conference play, that’s when I got it going – that’s when I had a stretch of playing really well. I started being aggressive, going to the lane. When defenders tried to stop that, it opened up my mid-range jump shot. When defenders tried to stop that I just kicked it out to my teammates.

RR: When you started your UNLV career in 2009-10 with a roster that included Tre’von Wills, Chace Stanback, Matt Shaw, Steve Jones, Darris Santee, Brice Massamba, Kendall Wallace, Derrick Jasper, Oscar Bellfield, Justin Hawkins, Carlos Lopez, and Coached by Lon Kruger. Now in 2012-13 your roster has yourself, Justin Hawkins, Bryce Dejean-Jones, Katin Reinhardt, Daquan Cook, Mike Moser, Anthony Bennett, Roscoe Smith, Savon Goodman, Quintrell Thomas, Demetris Morant, Khem Birch, and Carlos Lopez now coached by Dave Rice. How is the feeling different now?

AM: I’d say for me, now I have the leadership role. Coming in as a freshman you really don’t say much, we had leaders like Tre,  Jasper, Oscar, and Chace. This year, it’s probably me, Mike, Justin, just taking on that leadership role.

RR: What do you know about Katin Reinhardt and DaQuan Cook?  Have you played with them at all?

AM:  I haven’t had a chance to play with them yet, they come up next week. But what I know is they are both great guards, athletic, great passers. Katin can shoot it, DaQuan is a traditional pass first guard. So I mean, once they get here we’ll have a lot of pieces to put together – but I’m looking forward to working with all of them.

RR: Everybody in the country is talking about the amazing new transfers and recruiting class, ranked #7 and likely preseason ranking in the top 10.  What’s the buzz right now amongst the team about it?

AM: The sky’s the limit.  I think our potential is unlimited. It’s exciting to have such talented pieces to work with. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to show that. If you look at the past, a lot of top ten teams, some don’t even make the tournament, or they get knocked out the first round. So buzz – we’re not trying to be that, we’re trying to surpass. We want to get to the end and cut down the nets and raise the trophy. That’s the ultimate goal and I feel this year we have the right pieces to do that. You look at our roster from top to bottom, and guys are interchangeable. You take our second team players, whoever they are going to be,  and they could be first team at another college and have them winning games. So for us, we just have to put together the pieces and make things work.

RR: Obviously coming into last season Mike Moser sat out a year as a redshirt transfer, and then came in and was amazing. Do you see the same thing happening with Bryce Jones?

AM: Yeah definitely, I also see the same potential in Khem. They are both terrific talents, and I am really pleased to have them on my team. Bryce is a competitor who brings some grit to the team which is good, but I also see the same things with Khem also.

RR: I know you won't be playing with them, but tell us what you know about Dantley Walker and Christian Wood.   Have you played with them, what do you see from them?

AM: Actually Dantley used to play for my AAU team the Las Vegas Prospects when he was in high school, so I’ve always been around watching him play. I’ve always liked his game, and when he decided to come to UNLV I was excited for him and happy for him. I grew up watching him – he’s like a little brother. Christian, I’ve seen highlights of him and made it to one Findlay Prep game – and he’ll be playing for the Las Vegas Prospects as well, so I’m excited and happy for both of them and excited to see what they do when they come in.

RR: Coach Rice seems to be a very "nice" guy, a solid guy like Coach Kruger, is he the same in the huddle as his public persona?

AM: Yeah definitely, he’s a nice guy. He really doesn’t do too much yelling – he talks to you calmly unless he has to get after you if you’re not doing stuff right. I think that makes a big impact on how you play, when a Coach can just come and talk to you, it makes you play relaxed instead of pressured. The way he is seen in the public eye – that’s the way he is, what you see is what you get.

RR: Give me a couple things that would get him "fired-up" mad.

AM: Not playing as a team, that’s one. We’re a team of great talent, so playing as a team is very important. Not playing defense, not keeping your man in front. We have some scrimmages were not keeping your man in front is really important. Not boxing out when rebounding, the little things – stuff like that.

RR: Do you work with any specific assistant coaches, and how do they help you?

AM: Each assistant coach, their doors are open to talk to them or get some shots with them. That’s the great things, they’re always willing to work with you and help you. That’s the great thing about having a coaching staff like this. I’ve worked out with all of them, and they just want us to improve and get better.

RR: What’s your favorite NBA team, player – similar games to your own or strive to play like?

AM: I’m a west coast guy, so it would have  to be Lakers and Kobe Bryant. I really try to play like myself, but drawn comparisons from fans and other people to Derrick Rose as far as athletic style and body type. Russell Westbrook as far as athleticism, being a shooting guard and then to point guard. As far as trying to play like Kobe – naw, he’s 6’6” and when I realized I wasn’t going to get that tall I realized I had to play like a smaller guard.

RR: Favorite shoe on the basketball court?

AM: I play different Jordan’s all the time, but this past year my favorite shoes were the Jordan XIV’s.

RR: We’ll that’s all I have – I really appreciate the interview.

AM: No problem, thanks.

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