The starting five
Players, teams and matchups you need to have on your radar as the NCAA tournament approaches
Get to know these guys
ZEKE MARSHALL, Akron Senior center; 7-0; 235 pounds; 12.6 ppg; 6.8 rpg; 3.5 bpg; 65.5% FG
Five quotes from Marshall:
On Akron’s ultimate goal: “We, as a team, want to win at the Final Four, we want to be — we don’t want to be sitting — we want to be the team that nobody thought would be there, and will be there, and will win. And even during the offseason, that’s what we were gonna do, we were gonna be the team that continues to push for that goal of getting to the Final Four, and this is a fragment of the spoils that we’re getting from it, which is this winning streak. . . . As a team, we believe we shouldn’t even be in this conference, so we’re gonna destroy this competition, then when we get to the NCAAs, we’re gonna destroy that competition, too.” On his confidence in the Zips (who are 0-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament): “I believe that everyone on our team has that mind-set that, what do we have that the powerhouses don’t have? . . . The only difference between us and them is that they have the confidence to know that, “We’ve been doing this, we’ve been in the NCAA Final Fours four of the last seven years, and we know how to get there, and we’re gonna do it.” That is the only thing that is separating us, between the high-majors and us. I honestly believe that we have the talent, we have the skill, we need the confidence. And I believe, you know, a lot of the mid-majors lack that. A lot of the mid-majors are scared, and we’re coming in, we feel like we’re not going to come out and be intimidated by it all. We’re gonna come out there and we’re gonna spank y’all, and then we’re gonna move on.”
On whom LeBron James would root for if Akron played Miami, given his public
displays of fandom for both schools: “I think, honestly, he would root for Akron, because that’s where he’s from. But, I mean, who knows who he would root for? I mean, I hope he would root for Akron, because I believe we will win and he won’t end up disappointed when we win. ”
On whether he’d rather attain success in the NBA or in a different field: “I’d rather do well [in the NBA], because if I can do well there, by the time I’m done and retired, I’m set to be able to do what I dream of doing, because I have the money to do it. . . . I want to ultimately open a gaming company, I want to get into computers in general, I want to see if I can get into Cisco, even though that’d be hard, but I really want to see if I can get into computers as much as possible. I want to open a game software, a computer game software company, I really do.”
On what he does best, apart from basketball: “I’m a gamer, I definitely play video games well, but one thing I will say is learn, I love to learn. I would learn about these weird things that people would just look at me and say, ‘Why do you even know that?’ ”
Other notable centers (all statistics through Thursday)
ISAIAH AUSTIN, Baylor Freshman; 7-1, 220; 13.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 46.8% FG
Impressive array of skills, but not yet making impact that many predicted.
Akron center Zeke Marshall claims the 22-4 Zips have the talent to go deep in the NCAA tournament.