After Kendall Marshall scored 15 points, dished 11 assists and generally ripped apart Duke'sdefense in North Carolina's 81-67 ACC title-clinching beatdown, Mike Krzyzewski took a seat for his postgame press conference and repeatedly praised the Tar Heels' freshman point guard. Then Roy Williams did the same thing. Tyler Zeller, too. All of which led to me approaching Marshall in the UNC locker room and asking the question every college basketball fan has wanted to ask at one time or another.
Why did it take you so long to get into the starting lineup?
"No comment," Marshall said through a smile after a brief pause that ensured he would choose his words, or lack of words, wisely. So chalk it up as another smart play by the kid -- the latest and last on a Saturday night that highlighted Marshall's role in North Carolina's turnaround and legitimized the Tar Heels as a serious Final Four contender.
"I think we've come a long way [since November], and I still think we have a long way to go," Marshall said. "Our potential is through the roof."
Almost entirely because of him.