ROCHELLE — The season didn’t end the way Nick Marshall wanted it to.
For the second time in as many years, Marshall sat on the bench at the Macon Coliseum as his team lost in the GHSA Class A semifinals.
The disappointment was readily apparent as Wilcox County lost an opportunity to become the first school since Mitchell-Baker 20 years ago to win the football and boys basketball championships in the same school year.
The loss, however, did nothing to diminish Marshall’s outstanding junior season.
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Marshall, The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia GHSA Boys Basketball Player of the Year, averaged nearly 30 points per game to lead his Patriots to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. He was named The Associated Press Class A Player of the Year, as well.
“He’s a special player,” Wilcox County head basketball coach George Kennedy said. “You don’t get a chance to coach many guys like him.”
During the season, Marshall had two games where he scored more than 50 points. His playmaking ability allowed the Patriots to get their feet under them quickly following football season. They won their first eight games and only lost two in the regular season. By comparison, the same group lost seven regular-season games during the 2008-09 season on the way to a Final Four appearance.
Marshall’s biggest growth was making his team better. The group had a better connection on the court, and Marshall got the best out of all of his teammates, Kennedy said.
This Wilcox County team was steady from the start and had a goal of winning a state championship. Wesleyan, however, upset the Patriots by 20 points in the semifinals on the way to a state championship.
The loss hurt deeply for Marshall, but his junior season as a whole was a huge success.
The sweet-shooting guard cemented his status as an elite basketball prospect. That followed a football season in which he was named the A Player of the Year and The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Football Player of the Year. He led his Patriots to a state championship with a win over Savannah Christian at the Georgia Dome. His performance in the title game elevated his stock as a football prospect. Most already felt he was a high-major college basketball prospect, but after his junior football and basketball seasons, he became an elite prospect.
Scout.com ranks him as one of the top 10 football players in the state and as the top quarterback in the state. He is ranked as the No. 9 quarterback in the nation. He is also ranked by Rivals.com as the 53rd best basketball player in the country.
“He can do whatever he wants in college,” Wilcox County head football coach Mark Ledford said in December. “Most schools will let him play both.”
He has offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech to play both sports.
Ledford said the biggest excitement surrounding Marshall is that he returns to Rochelle next year for a senior season.
“He’s one of those kids that you just have to enjoy every moment you watch him, because you won’t have many like him ever,” Ledford said. “We just can’t wait to see what he keeps doing.”