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Jeff Eisenberg

Assists like this show why Kendall Marshall should be starting

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Considering the airtime college basketball's most highlight-worthy dunks often receive, it's refreshing that this weekend's most impressive sequence was actually a deft pass rather than a rim-rattling finish.

Check out North Carolina freshman Kendall Marshall knifing into the lane against Texas on Saturday, drawing a double-team and then delivering a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass to teammate John Henson as his momentum carries him the other way. Henson finishes the play with a two-handed stuff, a dunk completely overshadowed by the spectacular pass from Marshall that set it up.

"He does that all the time in practice. That shows he's becoming more comfortable out there," fellow freshman Harrison Barnes told the Wilmington Star-News. "That's the most aggressive I've seen him, maybe ever since I've known him."

Assists like that one from Marshall raise the question of when North Carolina coach Roy Williams is going to hand over the starting point-guard job to the highly touted freshman. Incumbent starter Larry Drew III is the superior perimeter defender, but the offense appears to run much smoother with Marshall orchestrating it because he's less turnover-prone and more capable of creating off the dribble.

In North Carolina's narrow loss to the Longhorns, the box score suggests Marshall was by far the more effective of the two. The freshman had seven points, three assists and one turnover on Saturday in 15 minutes, while Drew had two points and four turnovers before fouling out in 25 minutes.

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