Takeaways from Gregg Marshall’s media day availability

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Takeaways from Gregg Marshall’s media day availability

Head Coach Gregg Marshall watches the Black and Yellow Scrimmage on Saturday inside Charles Koch Arena.

Head Coach Gregg Marshall watches the Black and Yellow Scrimmage on Saturday inside Charles Koch Arena.

Marshall Sunner

Head Coach Gregg Marshall watches the Black and Yellow Scrimmage on Saturday inside Charles Koch Arena.

Marshall Sunner

Marshall Sunner

Head Coach Gregg Marshall watches the Black and Yellow Scrimmage on Saturday inside Charles Koch Arena.

Men’s Basketball Head Coach Gregg Marshall took the podium Tuesday during Media Day to give an update on his team before the season officially kicks off in two weeks.

 Marshall spoke on an array of topics ranging from freshman class, the American Athletic Conference field of talent, and the improvement of his players who reside in the paint.

 Here are some key takeaways from Marshall’s time with the press:

Freshman Minutes

 One thing is a definite for this year’s freshman class — the young guards are going to play. Marshall confirmed that the trio of Grant Sherfield, Tyson Etienne, and Noah Fernandes will get minutes if they’re healthy.

Fernandes has been out for “five to six” weeks because of a bone bruise he suffered in practice, Marshall said. 

“The three guards are going to play,” Marshall said. “Those guys are very good, very competitive, and they can all shoot it very well.

 “But with freshmen, how they come out of the shoot, handle the basketball, that will be very, very important to see.”

 Sherfield is seen as a point guard first who can transition into a shooting guard if needed. Etienne is the opposite of his freshman counterpart, playing the two-guard before the point. Fernandes is a “pure point” in Marshall’s mind.

Improving Big-men

 Throughout the offseason, Marshall said he has been impressed with his post players’ improvements, especially in terms of personal tenacity and confidence.

 Earlier in October, Marshall said he was looking to redshirt one of the team’s big-men, but a decision hasn’t been made yet. Marshall said he has been pleased with their effort in practice.

 “Confidence, we will see,” Marshall said. “I’m always trying to rev them up a little bit in practice — the big guys in particular. Mo (Morris Udeze) is the one whose motor runs. The other three are more laid back, but Poor Bear, I challenged him today, and he had a great practice today, so I was very pleased with that.”

 Marshall expressed his pleasure with the rapid improvement from now-junior center Asbjørn Midtgaard over the course of last season and this summer.

“His whole deal is confidence and playing with a fervor and a tenacity,” Marshall said. “It’s gotten better. Sometimes, still today, I just let it go, man. It’s okay to flex your muscles a little bit and growl in the court.” 

Conference Size

 Marshall, along with sophomore Dexter Dennis and senior Jaime Echenqiue, traveled to

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the AAC media day last weekend. Marshall noted the high volume of “large humans” at the conference center.

 “Well, there were some large humans trolling around that Marriott conference room,” Marshall said. “They look good — I haven’t seen many of them play. I’ve seen some of them play and those guys that are returning that I’ve coached against are talented players.

 “There’s a lot of good talent — a lot of good players and a lot of tremendous coaching in this league.”

 Marshall said the conference could land anywhere from three to five teams into the NCAA Tournament come March.

“You’ve got some pretty good teams, traditionally, picked behind us,” Marshall said. “UCONN, Temple, and Tulsa are all really good basketball names in my lifetime, or at least in the last 25 years. We’re picked behind Cincinnati, Houston, and Memphis, but we’re picked in front of some really good teams, too.”