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November 16, 2011

Marshall to redshirt

MADISON - One of the hardest things for most college freshman to grasp is the idea of redshirting. For most of their prep career these players were the top player on the court in a given game.

Many times they were the most advanced player in a respective conference.

So when they make the transition to college and realize their skills as a 17, 18 or 19-year-old aren't quite up to the task when going against guys with a few years of development and maturity under their belts.

That, in essence, is the reason true freshman guard George Marshall has decided to redshirt during his first season in Madison.

"I came to the conclusion that a fifth year in this program will be more beneficial than what is potentially a season with limited minutes," Marshall said via UW press release. "I asked myself if it was worth playing this season when I could possibly be playing a lot of minutes as a fifth-year senior."

With seniors Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson, along with sophomores Josh Gasser and Ben Brust and freshman Traevon Jackson seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart, it seems as though Marshall recognized how he wouldn't be a constant in Bo Ryan's rotation.

Instead he'll take the year to physically develop and learn behind one of the nation's elite point guards in Taylor.

"This is a great opportunity for George to have a one-year internship under arguably the best point guard in the country," UW's lead assistant Greg Gard said. "He can learn from that and at the same time know that he'll be better physically and fundamentally as a player at 22 or 23 years old than he is at 19.

"That extra year at the back end of his career can really turn into something."

Marshall originally joined the program, like many freshmen do, with thoughts of playing during his true freshman year. Having practiced for approximately a month, though, Marshall has thought better about that decision.

"I've talked to some of the assistant coaches and Ryan Evans about the decision," Marshall said. "Ryan definitely suggested it and he said he's really happy he redshirted and it helped him a lot. I'm confident that I could compete for minutes this season.

"But this just gives me another year to prove it."

Marshall is one of five true freshman on the Badger roster this season. Both Frank Kaminsky and Jackson have played so they no longer have their redshirt option available to them. Fellow guard Jordan Smith and Jarrod Uthoff have not decided what to do, although it's apparent Smith will likely redshirt.

Next year at this time, Marshall will be one of three returning guards for Ryan's squad.

"He can definitely play at this level," Gard said. "The experience that he's getting going against Jordan Taylor every day in practice - - and those are some battles - - will be worth as much game experience as he would get this season. He has to use that to his advantage and he understands that.

"The unsure amount of minutes he would have played this season are being invested and put into the bank, so to speak, and they're gaining interest. He'll take those out in his fifth year knowing that he'll have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes as a senior."

Wisconsin plays host to Colgate Wednesday night.


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