Jan. 30, 2007
Senior guard Sean Marshall will make his 121st consecutive start for the Eagles (14-6, 6-2 ACC) Wednesday night when Boston College hosts the Hartford Hawks (9-12, 3-6 AEC). A Rialto, Calif. native, Marshall is averaging 15.9 ppg and 5.5 rpg this season. Marshall and the Eagles hope to return to their winning ways after a loss at Duke on Sunday.
The team has played 20 games and has nine regular-season games left. Talk about the season so far.
We've had some problems off the court that we haven't had in previous years, so that has somewhat affected how we've played. We're going through a learning process and I know it's annoying to be going through a learning process at this point in the season, but it's something we have to do to become a better team. That's where we're at right now, just learning and trying to get better.
Can you pinpoint any specific games that you believe were high points or low points for the team?
Losing to Vermont, that's really a terrible loss. We didn't come out and respect them, and that's basically what it was. We didn't play hard enough to win and they outplayed us. Against Duquesne, not having Jared out there kind of hurt us a little bit, missing a leader, but we still should have won that game. Beating Maryland kind of got us going in the right direction, so that was a high point. Going down to North Carolina and beating NC State and Wake Forest was another high point because those were key wins for us. I think we got those wins because of good preparation and scouting reports, which is a credit to the coaches for getting us ready for the games. Also, just being mentally ready was important in going on the road in the ACC and getting some wins.
What has surprised you about this year's team?
The biggest surprise about this year's team is how close we are. We've been through a lot, more than what people know, and we've still remained pretty close. In previous years, we weren't as close and I think this is the closest that the team has been since I've been here.
The ACC is rated as the nation's top conference this year. Now that you're playing in the league for a second season, can you give us your impressions of the league?
The ACC is a very intense league, more intense than the Big East. Playing on the road is very hard. Fans are very supportive. They just go out and do anything, say anything, so it's very loud on the road. Being at home, I've realized that our fans have gotten a little bit more into it because you have teams like Duke, North Carolina and Maryland coming in. Also, players are quicker and more athletic, so those are the biggest things.
Talk about your role on the team.
I think I've become more of a leader for the team, just in terms of being one of the most experienced guys on the team. Jared and I, we've had to step our game up in order for us to be successful. I think I'm doing a pretty good job of that right now.
Talk about some personal goals that you set for yourself this season. How are you progressing toward those goals?
My number one goal coming into the season was to be consistent. I don't think I've done that in previous years and I started off pretty slowly this year, but I think I've picked it up as of late. I've also worked on being more focused and being a better defender. I think I've done pretty well with that.
Take us through the last five seconds of the Florida State game - and also through the minute or two of celebration after the game. What was going through your mind?
First off, Jared had the ball out of bounds and the play was designed to have Tyrese come off a double screen and since he's our fastest player, try to get to the paint and get an easy shot off. I set the screen and my man went with Tyrese, so I popped back to get the ball. Jared had two options, either go to Shamari or go to me, so he decided to go with me. When I got the ball, the first thing I looked at was the clock to see how much time I had. Once I realized there were about five seconds on clock, I took a couple of dribbles and I just let it go. I had it in my head once I got the ball that I was going to shoot it and it went in. In terms of the celebration, I really didn't realize what I was doing. I knew I took my jersey off, but I didn't know I threw it into the stands until I watched it later on that night. It was fun.
What kind of reactions did you experience on campus after that game?
I got a lot of love around school for it, kids coming up and congratulating me. I think kids were pretty excited about it because it was a big win for us. It kept us at the top of league and I would assume it was a fun game to watch as a fan.
You play with a lot of emotion. You celebrate baskets and you celebrate when things go well. Talk about why you do what you do and to whom your emotions are directed.
Ever since I was young, I've been an emotional guy, on and off the court. On the court, I think it helps me play a little bit better when I get into it, when my energy's going, when I'm cheering on my teammates, when I'm psyching myself up. I think I play much better that way than when I'm relaxed, when I get kind of tentative. On the road, a lot of fans get on me for it, yelling and screaming. They may not like it, but really I'm just playing the game the way that I've always been taught and the way that I've always played.
As a California native, how have you adjusted to Boston and what might be a slightly different lifestyle? Do you think you've changed in any ways because of your nearly four years on the east coast?
I've definitely changed. I think the biggest thing is being away from my family. I'm really close with my family. I have two brothers that I'm really close with, as well as my mother and father. I think I've grown up a lot, just being on my own, learning to live on my own. I think it's helped me grow up and become a man.
Talk about the personal cheering contingent that you have at all the home games.
Everybody sees my family walking in with huge signs that say "Marshall Rocks". People always ask me who that is. I think they're probably my biggest fans. They come to every game. They haven't missed a game since I was a freshman. Whether I'm playing well or I'm playing badly, they're still yelling and screaming.
Talk about your classmate Jared Dudley. How close are you with Jared? And, tell us what you think of him as a player.
Jared and I, we come from similar areas. He's from San Diego and I'm from Rialto. Coming in as freshmen we were really close because we could relate to each other. Sophomore and junior year we kind of went our different ways. We were still close but we weren't as close because we were starting to open up and meet new people. Senior year, I think we're pretty close again. It's our last year together. I'm actually teaching him how to cut hair now, so we're working on that. He's a great player, he's a great guy, and he's a great teammate. He's the most consistent guy that we have. He's one of the best players to ever come through this program. Everybody sees what he does inside and outside, and he's much more of a leader this year. His career here has been one of the best if you look at it in the books. It's been a great four years with him and I'm going to miss him.
Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann