Analysis

Is Anthony Marshall Playing Too Many Minutes?

MarshallThere’s no doubt that Anthony Marshall has proven to be one of the Rebels’ best and most dependable players this season, but is the team relying on him too much?

Marshall is currently averaging 32.8 minutes per game (four minutes more than the next-closest Rebel), and it’s easy to understand why Dave Rice is riding him so hard. As the Rebels have struggled to find consistency throughout the season, Marshall has been one of the few constants in the rotation. He’s running the team on offense (10.4 points and 6.0 assists per game) and also playing great defense.

But that’s the thing that has me somewhat concerned. Marshall’s minutes are all high-leverage, as he’s usually pressuring the opponent’s primary ball handler in addition to pushing the tempo on offense and facilitating most of the Rebels’ halfcourt sets. When he’s playing, he’s playing extremely tiring, intense minutes.

And since the start of Mountain West play, Marshall’s workload has only increased. In five league games, he’s averaging 37.2 minutes, with a low of 34 against San Diego State and a high of 43 in an overtime win over Air Force.

It hasn’t helped that all the MWC games have been fairly tight, but Marshall’s spike in playing time also speaks to the lack of depth behind him. Freshman Daquan Cook has seen more playing time recently, but his spot minutes don’t make much of a dent. In close games, Rice can’t afford to take Marshall out.

Marshall has often stated his opinion that last year’s Rebels tired down the stretch and couldn’t match their energy from earlier in the season, and he’s also stated his desire to reverse that trend this season. Will playing 37 minutes per game in conference play eventually slow him down?

Marshall says he’s feeling fine physically at this point in the season, though the long minutes sometimes leave him gassed.

“At times I get tired,” Marshall said after Sunday’s practice, “but I’ve just got to get in better shape.”

It hasn’t affected him yet — Marshall is posting 12.0 points and 7.6 assists in Mountain West play — but it’s something to monitor going forward.

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