Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 | 2:30 a.m.
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Ryan Greene is joined by Austin Meek, who covers Kansas State for the Topeka Capital-Journal, to preview Saturday's matchup between No. 18 UNLV (7-0) and Kansas State (8-1). The contest tips at 4 p.m. at the Orleans Arena.
Following a Wednesday afternoon practice with the Rebels at the Orleans Arena, the freshman from Mojave High in North Las Vegas was able to point to the exact spot on the court at the facility where he attempted his desperation shot in the final seconds of the 2007 state championship game.
It was a moment basketball dreams are made of — well, sort of.
Unfortunately for Marshall, who then was an up-and-coming sophomore for the Rattlers, his attempt hit the basket's front iron and fell helplessly to the ground.
"It felt good when it left my hand," Marshall said. "It was like everything was in slow motion like in the movies."
But the happy ending went to Northern Nevada's Galena High in a 54-51 victory for the large-school crown.
Despite the outcome, Marshall stole part of the spotlight in scoring 14 points in the second half and finishing with 18. He connected on a 3-pointer with three minutes to play, giving Mojave a two-point lead, but the Rattlers didn't score the rest of the game.
He'll return to the Orleans Arena on Saturday when UNLV hosts Kansas State at 4 p.m. Taking jumps shots Wednesday after practice at the facility, Marshall appeared to have the same touch he had during the state tournament — the left-hander with a smooth shooting stroke connected on several baskets in succession like he was slicing through Galena's defense.
"It was the last game of the year and nobody wants to lose that last game," Marshall said. "I guess you could say I didn't like that feeling."
Marshall followed the performance by shining on the summer circuit with the Las Vegas Prospects and instantly becoming a can't-miss college prospect. Recruiting Web site Rivals.com listed him as the No. 66 prospect in the country and rated him a four-star recruit in its five-star system.
"He does a little bit of everything," Prospects coach Anthony Brown said. "He's just an all-round good player who does the stuff to help you win."
Marshall's breakthrough game that summer was against perennial AAU power Pump N' Run. Brown said Marshall scored 30 points while being guarded by Jrue Holiday, who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers.
"That's when the light switched on that this kid was going to be all right," Brown said.
Seven games into his college career with UNLV, Marshall is averaging 4.7 points in 16.3 minutes per game. He scored a career-high 14 points against Holy Cross on Nov. 25 and had five points last Saturday in a 66-63 come-from-behind win against Santa Clara.
"He is doing a tremendous job for us," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "He was very well-coached in high school and came to us well prepared."
Marshall, who has played both guard positions for the Rebels, knows there is plenty of room for improvement. He is only shooting 38 percent and has misfired on all nine of the 3-pointers he has taken.
"I'm never satisfied," he said. "I'm working on all areas of my game to be the total package."
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).
Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.