Last week, Eric rightfully suggested that D.J. Newbill is the program's most important player going forward after leading the Nittany Lions in scoring and assists in his sophomore season. If that's the case, then I think the argument can be made that Jermaine Marshall is one of the most under-appreciated players on the roster. The redshirt junior finished fifth in the conference in scoring, just behind Newbill, while improving nearly all of his efficiency stats in Big Ten play.
Like Newbill, or anyone else on the roster not named Sasa, Marshall wasn't exactly a model of efficiency, all told. His offensive rating (100.3) in conference play was 12 points higher than Newbill's score, yet he ranks just 41st in the conference in that category. Perhaps the most surprising figure Jermaine posted was his 74 defensive rebounds in conference play, tied for 11th best in the B1G.
Marshall also spent a little time at point guard to give Newbill a bit of a chance to play off ball, and there were a couple of outings where he played distributor to devastating effect (10 ast, 2 TOs at home against Iowa; 7 ast, 0 TOs in the B1G tournament against Michigan).
At this point in his career, Marshall is what he is--a volume scorer. When JUHMAINE shows up, he can be borderline unplayable. His sophomore year he was prone to lowering his shoulder in the paint and hoping for the referee to make the call in his favor. This season he added a floater to his repertoire to set up the drive and it made all the difference; his conference-only free throw rate improved by nearly 17 percentage points (18.9 last year to 33.6) because of it.
The boneheaded mistakes he was known for his sophomore year seemed to be cut down a bit in 2012-13, but occasionally Bad Jermaine reared his ugly head. Bad Jermaine plays out of control, takes poor shots and commits dumb fouls. Bad Jermaine is infuriating.
When he wasn't hitting his shots, it sometimes got ugly. Marshall shot 30% or worse from the field on eight occasions and in each of those games he took at least 10 attempts. It'll be interesting to see how he handles becoming the third scoring option upon Tim Frazier's return, but you would think that a more balanced floor will get Jermaine better looks than he got used to this year.
vs Michigan - 25 points (8-17 FG) 6 rebounds 3 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 1 block
We saw some of the very best of what JUHMAINE can do in the famous win over the national runners-up: 25 points on 6-10 3pt shooting and DAT LAYUP. He had better nights in the field goal percentage department (47%) but his barrage of threes to help overcome Michigan's lead was perhaps the most memorable moment from an otherwise hellish nightmare of a season.
Much like Newbill, it'll be difficult for Jermaine to average near 15 points per game again with the return of Frazier, and the arrival of John Johnson should see Marshall's minutes take a hit. Though, as stated above, with a more balanced floor he should see more open looks than ever before. If he can bottle JUHMAINE for longer periods, he should be the third scorer a Penn State team hasn't had since the 2008-09 season. miss u, Stanley Pringle.
Final Grade: B+
Maybe you would've liked to see Jermaine cut down on the number of ill-advised shots, but he's a volume scorer, and that's exactly what he had to be on a team so decrepit of offensive firepower. He made some strides that were clearly visible by the end of the year, and all things considered it's pretty hard to be disappointed by what he managed to accomplish.
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