Marshall star keeps on rising

The star quality of Nick Marshall continues to grow and the Castec Rural Mount Gambier Pioneers have been an integral part of the shooter’s success.

Since arriving at the Pioneers last year, the Adelaide-based Marshall has become one of the team’s biggest names, pushing it to the top of the NBL1 South ladder.

Mount Gambier is currently the highest scoring team of the competition and the 22-year-old is a major reason behind that being the fourth most prolific scorer in the league.

Marshall said he is just enjoying playing basketball in the Pioneers environment which is easy off the court and high octane on it.

“It has been great because I am having lots of fun with the group and enjoying it,” he said.

“It has been fun playing fast basketball and the Icehouse is the best place to play in the NBL1 South with a crazy crowd each week.”

Despite only rejoining Mount Gambier in round 2 due to Adelaide 36ers commitments, Marshall has established himself as one of the most dangerous shooters in the competition.

The forward has cut opposing defensive structures apart with his athleticism, agility, speed and accuracy averaging 22.66 points per game.

His partner in crime is new Adelaide recruit Michael Harris, who has been equally prolific.

The pair sit second and fourth best in the entire conference for average points per game and Marshall said their relationship goes way back.

“We pretty much have the same team as last year besides Harris, so I knew we were going to be pretty good,” he said.

“Harris is one of my best mates and we have known each other for around four to five years.

“He has been training with the 36ers as well and knows how I play, so we work well together and play off each other.”

Despite achieving lots of success over the last 12 months, Marshall is relatively new to basketball and has enjoyed a meteoric rise.

He started out life as a football player and solely played Australian rules until Under 18’s when he decided to give basketball a crack.

Even though he had only been balling for a single season, when questioned which sport he was going to pursue, basketball was the one.

“Growing up I played football until Under 18’s which is when I had a year playing football and basketball,” Marshall said.

“After that year my parents said I had to choose one and I was loving basketball at the time, so it was a pretty easy choice.”

Now fully focused on basketball, Marshall’s career took off.

He laid the groundwork at North Adelaide starting in the Division 4 team and within a year worked his way up into the men’s team.

The rapid progression continued when he was selected for the Under 20 state team alongside Harris before he jetted off to America to play for Clarke University.

After his trip to the USA was cut short by COVID-19, Marshall caught the attention of the Adelaide 36ers as a development player before arriving on Richard Hill’s radar.

When arriving at the Pioneers before the 2020 NBL1 South season, Marshall was instantly struck by the team’s professionalism and community’s support.

“I really enjoyed playing for Richard straight away because he is a great coach and knows what he is talking about,” he said.

“He has helped me learn and grow my understanding of the game to keep getting better.

“But playing for Mount Gambier is so much fun because the community is always great with amazing people who help us every week.”

Marshall credits the rapid rise to his work ethic covering all areas of the game which is a skill coach Hill has often been impressed by.

“There are no days off,” he said.

“Pretty much in the gym and shooting everyday working on parts of my game.

“The biggest thing over the last year has been watching film and gaining a bigger understanding of the game and scouting teams.

“The last year I feel like I have made a massive jump and the Pioneers and 36ers have been big parts of that.”

This attitude helped Marshall make a huge impression at the Adelaide 36ers and earlier this season he made his NBL debut.

The youngster went on to play 18 games in the big league and he showed enough promise to be resigned for the next two seasons.

Marshall said he now felt right at home at Adelaide after overcoming some understandable nerves around his debut.

“It was like a dream come true because it was something I had been working towards,” he said.

“I was definitely a bit nervous, but once those first few preseason games went by I just felt like I had a nothing to lose kind of mentality.

“It was just so cool to be out there and realise I could play at that level and show what I could do.

“It was really cool learning from the likes of Mitch McCarron, Sunday Dech and Cameron Bairstow.

“I developed a good relationship with them and they helped me grow.”

Thanks to his efforts at the NBL, Marshall was stunned to discover he caught the attention of the Australian Boomers having been named as a reserve for the national team before the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers at Japan in February.

Even after experiencing so much within the last couple of years, Marshall is keeping a level head and remains focused on his career trajectory going forward.

“I have had some time to think about it, but I am just keeping my head down trying to focus on how far I can take it,” he said.

“I like playing for Mount Gambier, but the end goal is to have a signed contract with the 36ers and then who knows.

“Hopefully I can try to make it to the NBA which is the big dream.”

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