UNC-bound Performer Displays Offensive Skills, and Discusses UNC Feelings
April 8, 2005 - Soon-to-be Bishop O'Connell High School graduate and University of North Carolina freshman Marcus Ginyard recently performed in Richmond, VA's 5th annual Commonwealth Classic. This all-star game, played at Virginia Commonwealth's Siegel Center, brought a collection top-shelf high school senior talent from Virginia and the nation to battle in the city dubbed, "The Jewel of the James". In addition to displaying his skills on the court, Ginyard willingly discussed his matriculation into UNC this summer.
A common knock on Marcus Ginyard was that while he is clearly a talented ballplayer, he is not offensive minded enough to make an immediate impact in that aspect of the game at UNC, and as such will be more of defensive stopper there. Based upon his performance in the Commonwealth Classic, that school of thought needs to be challenged, as Ginyard showed he can 'put the ball up' with the best. Notching 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal in a game-leading 46 minutes, Marcus illustrated an offensive propensity that rivals his well-known defensive and team-oriented basketball abilities. Additionally, his 55% shooting percentage for the game was a manifestation of taking good percentage shots, making them, and having the skill to finish in traffic.
Marcus repeatedly attacked the rim throughout the contest. His nasty alley-oop around the 11:26 mark of the 3rd quarter is a prime example of this. Over 10 minutes later, he drove down the lane and slammed in traffic. Ginyard, when asked to comment on his rim-pounding, specifically in the second half, matter-of-factly stated, "You know, I saw some open lanes, and I just took it".
To classify his offensive performance as strictly an assault on the Siegel Center's goals would do a disservice to Ginyard, as he displayed a deft shooting touch which extended out past the three-point line. Within a 2-3 minute period in the final quarter, Marcus would smoothly drop a couple of threes. Ginyard would reveal, "I've been working on my jumpshot a lot I was proud of myself (in his shooting)".
Of course the young man provided those in attendance a glimpse of his much respected all around game, including passing, defense, and hustle. Lobbing an alley-oop to a cutting teammate with 6:28 to go in the first quarter was reminiscent of the 'dimes he dropped' for the O'Connell Knights this past season (subsequent to this game, Ginyard was named to the Washington Post All-Met's first team for his play this year). Everyone knows defense and hustle are intertwined in Dr. Naismith's sport, and Marcus displayed both; just look at his steal that preceded his fast break dunk around 11:15 in the first quarter. Clearly this young man had his 'mojo' working during the Commonwealth Classic. An obviously satisfied Ginyard would after the game declare, "It was good. I just tried to come out here, and have a lot of fun. And I think I played really well in the process".
When presented with the aforementioned school of thought, which some use to project him as functioning in the departed Jackie Manuel's role for the Tar Heels - that of defensive stalwart - Ginyard was not buying into it. "I'm going to be the new Marcus Ginyard", as opposed to the new Jackie Manuel, is how he addressed that idea.
Ginyard is going to Chapel Hill with the notion that, "It's a big step (up), playing in that ACC, and playing at North Carolina". Given this, the summer of '05 will be consumed by hard work, preparing himself: "That's going to be my fun right there (working on his game). I'm going to stay on the court, trying to get ready". His nose-to-the-grindstone mentality has taken on more importance than usual to Marcus, as he recognizes at UNC, " It's going to be a lot of spots open for playing time ", and strongly believes he can, " get in there and earn that playing time", by " working harder than the next man". With that attitude, there is no doubt that this young man who was born in Rochester, New York, yet raised in Northern Virginia (Woodbridge and Alexandria specifically), will have success on Tobacco Road and in the game of life.
Life is good for Marcus Ginyard. He just completed a stellar season in which he averaged 21.2 points per game, finished with an 86% career winning percentage at Bishop O'Connell High School, received post-season awards and all-star game invitations, and signed a letter of intent to play with the college team that would eventually win the NCAA National Championship. But the young man is still striving to improve. With his attitude, athleticism, and work habits, things are bound to get better still.
Ginyard would later proudly state that "It was definitely Coach (Roy) Williams" that drew him to sign with the Tar Heels (despite playful assertions from some of his Commonwealth Classic teammates that it was the young ladies at Carolina who piqued his interest in UNC). One day, it's entirely possible Coach Williams will claim that in addition to winning the NCAA title, one of the most memorable things of his '05 season was the signing of Marcus Ginyard. Do your thing Marcus. Those who call themselves Tar Heels probably don't even realize what you can bring to their campus. It's safe to say that they, and the entire ACC, soon will.