Previously: Tim Frazier
Jermaine Marshall was one of the previous staff's favorites. He committed to Ed DeChellis right after his junior year and was expected to contribute from day one. Unfortunately he tore his patella tendon in his knee during his senior season at Red Land high school and took a redshirt year to get back to 100%. Playing behind Talor Battle and Tim Frazier last year, Marshall didn't get consistent playing time. But there were a few flashes that gave fans reason to be excited for the future.
That's why many were surprised when it was announced in October that Marshall had been suspended indefinitely by Coach Chambers. With so little experience, Marshall was expected to be one of the guys to step up. The exact details behind the suspension never emerged publically, but Marshall stuck it out with Chambers and his program and got things turned around in 2012.
I'm always a fan of players who pick up their production in conference play, but as mentioned, Jermaine got off to a slow start due to missing all of preseason practice. He was absent for the season-opener against Hartford and didn't play more than 20 minutes in the first 7 games.
For seeing his first significant action in over 3 years, I thought Jermaine did as well as you could reasonably expect. He was the only guy other than Frazier that could consistently create his own looks. Marshall had his bad games, but he was a fairly dependable 2nd scorer. When you watch Marshall play, nothing really stands out, but he is very crafty and finds ways to get buckets. He is at his best driving to the rim with either hand, but he also showed the ability to shoot the perimeter jumper and the mid-range pullup.
Jermaine has that mean streak in every scorer, but he also bought in to Chambers and was a great teammate. Despite being the 2nd best player on the team, he was willing to come off the bench in an attempt to provide some scoring. He only started 17 of the 32 games this season.
While Jermaine's confidence fuels his game, it also comes with plenty of bad decisions. He's not an explosive guy that can blow-by defenders consistently, so he drew his fair share of charges. His 3-point jumper was also very streaky as evidenced by his 32% percentage.
His defense came a long way under Chambers, but Jermaine's foul trouble hurt the team in more than a few games. There were 8 Big Ten games where Jermaine finished with 4 or more fouls, including two foulouts. Watching Chambers get on Marshall's case, usually for his defense, was one of the more entertaining subplots to the season. Who could forget this? But if you remember, that staredown led to Jermaine's game-winning block just a minute later.
vs. Michigan - 27 points (10-18 FG, 4-8 3PT), 8 rebounds
Jermaine was in such a zone he played all 40 minutes. While the Lions ultimately lost the game, he helped fuel a big comeback that saw a 19-point Michigan lead cut to just 4. It was his career-high in points and showed what kind of scoring ability he possesses when he catches fire.
If Jermaine can develop a more consistent jump shot to complement his playmaking ability, he should continue to blossom into an important cog in Chambers' offense. Developing a rapport with Frazier and Newbill will also be huge. And if his defense continues to come along, I'm not sure how Chambers will be able to keep bringing him off the bench.
Final Grade: B+