Posted on 25 March 2012.
CH EL HILL, N.C.- North Carolina is preparing to play with no injured point guard Kendall Marshall.
The Tar Heels just haven’t figured out how but.
[ Pat Forde: Pat Forde: Kendall Marshall injury could be the final straw for North Carolina ]
Coach Roy Williams stated Tuesday that his team’s “preparation is 100 percent” to go without having Marshall after the pass-1st guard had surgery to repair his broken proper wrist.
North Carolina is preparing like it won’t have point guard Kendall Marshall in the Sweet 16.
Marshall’s status remains unclear for the Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night in St. Louis, the coach said.
“You’ve got me between a rock and a hard location,” Williams stated. “I cannot give you any answers. I’ve offered everyone all the answers I can give simply because I’ve stated honestly, I do not know.”
The left-handed sophomore broke his wrist on a drive in the second half of a win against Creighton on Sunday night in the Tar Heels’ second NCAA tournament game.
Contact it the latest undesirable break for a team that lost its No. 2 ballhandler, Dexter Strickland, to a season-ending knee injury, then played three postseason games with out two-time ACC defensive player of the year John Henson following he sprained his left wrist in the conference tournament.
“We didn’t come all this way just to lay down,” Henson said.
If Marshall can’t play against Ohio- and that seems most likely the case- 1 alternative for top-seeded UNC (31-5) could be Stilman White.
The lightly tested freshman has gone from being one of the last players to receive a scholarship to being Marshall’s major backup- to possibly beginning in the regional semifinals.
“Stilman’s grown a lot. When he very first got out there, we were a tiny scared that he may well have an anxiety attack or pass out,” teammate Harrison Barnes said with a laugh. “He looks far more fluid out there and he can kind of push the ball and get up and down.”
White- who is stepping away from the program right after this semester to start a two-year church mission- says he turned down scholarship provides from BYU, Utah State and UNC Wilmington and picked North Carolina final year after point guard Larry Drew II abruptly transferred to UCLA.
The injury to Strickland, the team’s No. two ballhandler, pushed him up the depth chart. Now the injury to Marshall could elevate him into an even bigger role.
“I’m prepared to do whatever the coaching staff asks me to do,” White stated. “I have all the confidence in the globe that I can do whatever they ask me to do, and hopefully, Kendall will be ready this weekend. If he’s not, the coaches will figure some thing out.”
An additional alternative could be Justin Watts, a versatile 6-foot-five senior from nearby Durham who averages roughly 7 minutes and has created 3 begins in 4 years.
[ Related: Kendall Marshall's broken wrist mars UNC's win to make Sweet 16 ]
“Stilman has generally had everything thrown at him all year,” Williams said. Watts, he added, “has had restricted portions thrown at him.
“So we’ll throw a few more portions at him and try to get him a tremendous number of repetitions Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and see if we can get them up to speed, since our preparation is 100 percent preparation to play with no Kendall.”
Marshall has been the Tar Heels’ most irreplaceable player, leading the rapidly-paced offense with his see-every thing court vision and best pitch-ahead passes in transition.
He was hurt when he drove to the paint and was knocked to the floor by Creighton’s Ethan Wragge with 10:56 left. He hit one of two totally free throws, then left the game briefly before returning and playing about 7 far more minutes ahead of leaving for good with 1:54 left.
Bluejays coach Greg McDermott later referred to as Williams to say there was no intent to injure Marshall.
Marshall had surgery Monday to insert a screw into his wrist, and the next day his father Dennis told The Linked Press in a text message that his son is “doing a lot far better” and experiencing less pain. He added that his son was improving and had “slept via the night.”
The Dumfries, Va., native is a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick who has 351 assists in 36 games, the very best season total in league history and fourth most in NCAA history.
The pass-first point guard is averaging about eight points and ten assists, although he has stepped up his offense recently and scored in double figures the past six games. He had 18 points and 11 assists in the 87-73 win against the Bluejays, his fifth double-double in that span.
“I’ve got to attempt to come up with a way to replace somebody that is darn difficult to replace,” Williams mentioned.
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Basketball Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C., and Sports Writer Eric Olson in Omaha, Neb., contributed to this report.
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The NCAA Sports News Digest distributes and publishes live, on demand NCAA sports news, reports, аnd information. This write-up was distributed by Syndicated Sports news wire and aggregation service, For more NCAA basketball news see: Williams: UNC preparing to play without Marshall.