It will be hard to miss Zeke Marshall this spring and summer. The 7-footer from McKeesport (Pa.) High School is one of the more intriguing players in the class of 2009 and there are a number of schools that want to see him some more this year.
McKeesport head coach Corey Gadson knows why. The big man clogged the lane for his team this year and helped change the way teams play against them during the high school season.
"He stepped up for us, definitely, on the defensive end," Gadson said. We could press up a little bit and know that he was back there to protect the basket. His presence just made people change their shots. That was so big for us."
Marshall averaged nine points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks a game this year and is getting better along the way.
"He's making strides. I'd say he's about right where we thought he'd be at this point," Gadson said. "This past year he is starting understand work ethic and his role on what we need him to do."
Offensively, Gadson says, Marshall has work to do. However, when scoring the ball meets the defensive skills that the big man has, watch out.
"The sky is the limit with this kid," Gadson said. "Everybody in the country is after him. I want to see him get more aggressively offensively. When he does that, he's going be really tough. I would even think he'd be the best player in the state.
"He has a great touch around the basketball, off the glass, a little five-footer. He's starting to hit that consistently. But he still isn't looking to score yet. That is where we are trying to get his mindset. He still doesn't know that he can score those easy ones."
Pitt, Virginia Tech, Virginia, West Virginia, Duquesne, Akron, Penn State, Purdue and Buffalo have been out to see Marshall in action this year while schools like Stanford, Boston College and others have shown interest.
"It is starting to come from all over the country," Gadson said.
Marshall will return to action this spring with the Pittsburgh Storm AAU team. His coach says the time spent away from the high school team is key to his development.
"This will be an important summer for him as far as improving. I know he's going to a big man camp and doing things to get him better," Gadson said.