Tom Marshall, Wilson County's only NBA player, dies at 93

May 22—Tom Marshall, a 1950 Mt. Juliet High graduate who is Wilson County's only NBA player, died May 10 in Ft. Myers, Fla., at the age of 93.

Marshall transferred from Nashville's Cohn High School to Mt. Juliet, where his sister Wilna Alexander was principal, as a sophomore. He played both football and basketball for the Golden Bears. He scored a then-school record 1,236 points in his two seasons for MJHS. He is now sixth. His 44 points scored against Joelton as a senior remains the school record 74 years later, having survived a 42-point challenge from Will Pruitt against McGavock in 2019-20.

As a 6-foot-4 forward at Western Kentucky, he was a two-time All-American as he led the Hilltoppers to three National Invitation Tournament berths in as many varsity seasons at a time when the NIT surpassed the NCAA as the premier postseason event. He set 16 school records, seven of which are still standing.

He was drafted in the first round of the 1954 NBA draft by the Rochester Royals as the seventh overall pick. He played two seasons in Rochester before serving a year in the Army.

Marshall returned from the service and played briefly for the Detroit Pistons before being sent back to the Royals, who had relocated to Cincinnati. He played two seasons there, the last as a "player-coach", the youngest coach in NBA history. After retiring as a player, he coached the '59-60 season with the Royals before leaving the league for good.

Marshall was honored by MJHS in 2011 as he returned to his alma mater. A poster with a photo from his Western Kentucky playing days hangs on the wall of the gym.