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Marshall, grid converts start from scratch

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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 12:00 am

After 18 weeks on a football field it figures Israel Marshall would be in good shape.

And he was; just not for basketball.

“It’s a big adjustment,” the Mountain Pointe junior said after making a seamless switch from football straight into the Pride boys basketball team.

“Football conditioning is way different from basketball. At the beginning of the season I still had my football legs and in basketball it’s running, running, running,” Marshall said.

He was a 6-foot-1, 182-pound defensive back who was in on 60 tackles and threw a touchdown pass as a back-up quarterback to Austin Blom on the football field.

Those powerful football legs weren’t much help on a basketball court.

“Your legs move slower,” Marshall explained. “You want to move fast but your body won’t let you and your legs seem to hold you to the ground.”

So Marshall, who is known as Izzy, almost had to start over from scratch.

Mountain Pointe coach Brian Fleming started him on drills the first week he joined the team.

“Coach Flem worked with me and got me into condition,” Marshall said, “and the team really helped me out with encouragement. Every once in a while I need a break, but that’s because I have asthma. It gets pretty hard at times, but I’m able to travel pretty well and ready to go.”

When the Pride football team went three games into the state 5A-I playoffs this season, Marshall was on the field longer than he had been in his high school career.

“That made it even harder to get into condition,” he said.

Fleming said Marshall is gradually getting back into basketball shape.

“He’s been getting a lot better,” Fleming said.

Marshall missed all but the last few games of the basketball season last year with a meniscus tear in his right knee.

“It was kind of hard to come back because I couldn’t run as fast as I wanted,” Marshall said. “It took a while.”

He considers himself a football player who plays basketball.

Teammates Davon Jones and Stevie Knox steered him off the gridiron and onto the court.

“They got me playing club basketball with them,” Marshall said, “and it’s because of them that I play basketball.”

Marshall has become used to winning.

The football team went 12-1 and made it to the semifinals of the state playoffs this season and the Pride basketball team is also winning.

Marshall credits another basketball teammate, Jerome Garrison, with helping him get over the hump on the court.

“It’s an attitude you get,” Marshall explained. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence in football until Jerome Garrison told me you have to put your heart into it. I did, and realized that it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, if you don’t work hard it won’t matter.”

So Marshall realized he still had to keeping working hard in basketball.

“Hard work will overcome talent any day,” Marshall said.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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