My first thought upon reading that Akron 7-footer Zeke Marshall went over 1,000 career points on Wednesday night?
He’s come a long way, baby.
Like, really, from a baby to a man.
Marshall being the highest-rated recruit in the history of Mid-American Conference basketball is misleading. He came to Akron as a skinny kid who liked a bunch of things besides basketball — which was something he did because he was always the tallest kid and other people told him he should. Since then he’s become Akron coach Keith Dambrot’s favorite project, and he’s come a long way on and off the court.
“Zeke is a sweetheart,” Dambrot told me last year, “and that’s part of his problem.”
To say his getting 1,000 career points is an accomplishment is both an understatement and an incomplete statement. Dambrot insists that his story will continue to be written past this season. That’s up mostly to Marshall and in some other ways to those who evaluate him, but there’s no doubt his defensive presence is one of the biggest reasons this Akron team has pieces a lot of mid-major teams don’t have.
I wrote this about him last year, and I’m going to write about him again here soon. Marshall is a likable kid who’s had absolutely nothing come easy, and though he’s consistently four or five inches taller than the guys he’s playing against on the MAC level, it’s also not a stretch to say that four years ago, he might not have scored 1,000 points in four hours in an empty gym.
He’s worked on his craft, made himself love basketball (at least most of the time) and had a career he and all associated with his success can be proud of.