Marshall A Quiet Winner
If you’ve been watching Boston College the past few seasons, you may have occasionally overlooked Sean Marshall. Considering who he’s had for teammates, you probably wouldn’t be alone.
As overshadowed as Marshall has been by stars like Craig Smith and classmate Jared Dudley, the 6’6″ senior co-captain has also been a real barometer of this team in his career. The Eagles have at times gone as he has, in part because early in his career he was a shooter on a team full of inside threats, and later because the team counted on him for a lot.
While he has played alongside bigger stars, including a pair of 2,000-point scorers, Marshall has contributed his fair share as well, as he enters his last regular season game next Sunday just five points shy of 14th place on the school’s all-time scoring list. He has quietly started all 128 games since arriving on campus and will leave with the school’s all-time record in games started.
Marshall isn’t new to being overshadowed, and indeed, his college career has been spent as a teammate of players who were largely overlooked in high school. He wasn’t as overlooked as some, as several Pac-10 schools recruited him and Washington was the other finalist he chose BC over. Although he is from Rialto, California, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, he has a lot of family in the Boston area and his mother is originally from there. He wanted to get away from home, and the school seemed like the best fit in every way for him. Even so, he didn’t have much in the way of expectations when he arrived.
“I really didn’t know what to expect coming out here,” he reflected. “My mom tried to explain it to me since she’s from here, but I really had no clue what it was going to be like.”
Marshall is the youngest of three boys in a sports family and as may be expected, always competed with his brothers. His oldest brother played football throughout high school and his other brother played at a Division II school before transferring to a Division III school. He’s the tallest of them, a fact which led to a definite change in one life trend before that time.
“They always kind of beat me up when I was younger,” said Marshall, who notes that they were more physical. “The beating up kind of stopped once I got bigger than all of them.”
Marshall was 6’4″ as a high school sophomore at Eisenhower High School, ultimately growing to his 6’6″ frame now. He came in as a big guard and has used that to his advantage on plenty of occasions, sometimes posting up smaller guards and other times being able to shoot over a smaller defender or drawing a small forward instead.
Although his long range shooting is an important part of his game, it’s his other abilities that have helped him at times take over games. There have been many times where he has grabbed a rebound or loose ball and then led a fast break he finished. Just this season, he has scored points in bunches several times, most notably in the Eagles’ win over Rhode Island earlier this year when he scored 13 straight BC points on fast breaks and jumpers. He also scored eight points in under three minutes to start the second half against Duquesne and 11 straight BC points against North Carolina State in the second half.
“I’m a rhythm kind of player,” said Marshall. “Once I get into a rhythm, I feel like I can make any shot I take. I get my confidence going, get into a rhythm, start making shots, and I usually score a lot of points once I get into that rhythm.”
Marshall will probably be best remembered for his buzzer-beater against Florida State last month, but just as he has become more than just a shooter offensively, he’s done more than score for this team. He’s become a better rebounder every year and is averaging 4.5 per game this year, and with at least two games left has tied a career high in steals this season. Most importantly, he’s become a better leader when the team has needed it this year and is clearly more driven because he knows this is his last chance.
The soft-spoken Marshall is also the team barber, something he first got into during his early high school years. He admits he wasn’t very good at first, but it grew on him, so he kept working at it and felt he was pretty good by the time he got to college. When he got to Chestnut Hill, his first customers were a few football players and someone who might seem like an unlikely candidate given his hairstyle – classmate Jared Dudley. Dudley, like Marshall, is from southern California and didn’t know any barber shops in the area, but he trusted Marshall.
When his college days are done, Marshall will surely get a chance to play professionally somewhere. He has good size to play on the wing and has had a good career in two major conferences, and he’s skilled enough to play for a while. After his playing days, the human development major would like to get into counseling and work with kids. As he’s experienced a good deal in life, especially living on both coasts, he certainly has a lot to offer. He also draws from his own past experience with someone in that capacity. He still talks to his guidance counselor from his high school days, a man he trusted very much.
Marshall may have been overshadowed in his college career by great teammates, but there’s no question he’s left his mark. He is part of the class that is now tied for being the winningest class in the school’s history, and if the Eagles make the NCAA Tournament, which seems likely now that they have 10 ACC wins, they will be the first class to do that all four years. Expectations or not, that goes down as a pretty good accomplishment for just about anyone.