Thursday, June 8, 2006
Former OU basketball star experiences NBA Finals
|Former OU basketball player Rawle Marshall now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. The team is in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.|
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Last June, Rawle Marshall, CAS ’05, was preparing to enter the NBA draft. While he was disappointed by not being drafted, things started looking up when teams began competing over signing him as a free agent. He was signed by the Dallas Mavericks and expected to play with the Fort Worth Fliers, but he was able to play in 23 games for the Mavericks this season and will be with the team as they take on the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
“I was sort of surprised that Detroit lost to Miami,” said Marshall of Detroit’s elimination from the NBA playoffs by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. “I wanted to come back home for the Finals. That would have been great for me. However, this is great too because now we have home court advantage.”
While Marshall isn’t on the playoff roster, he is helping the team prepare for the finals as part of the practice squad.
“Before practice, we go over the other team’s plays and then scrimmage against our teammates,” said Marshall. “That definitely helps them get a feel for the other team.”
Marshall helped lead OU’s men’s basketball team to it’s first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament in 2005. After he went undrafted, Marshall played in a pair of summer leagues, including four games with the Memphis Grizzlies in the Southern California Summer Pro League and with the Mavericks in the 2005 Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was picked up by the Mavs in August. Marshall competed for a spot on the team’s regular-season roster, but was eventually sent to play for the Fort Worth Fliers of the National Basketball Developmental League.
Marshall said he worked hard in practice, spent extra time in the gym and kept trying to improve his game.
“I just wanted to improve my game so when my time came I could get in there and do my best,” said Marshall.
On Nov. 1, Marshall received word that he would make the team’s final regular-season roster. Marshall didn’t just sit on the bench the entire season, but instead he helped the team by making some key plays and filling in for injured players. Marshall started in nine of the 23 games he played and average 40 percent in field goal shooting. In a preseason exhibition game against Detroit, Marshall scored six points, four coming from free throws in the closing minutes of the game, securing the Maverick’s win.
Marshall said the NBA playoffs are much different than preparing for regular season. He said the practices are different, the mood in the locker room is different and the atmosphere in the arena is different.
“You get the feeling from the air that the fans are really into it,” said Marshall.
Marshall said he wanted to show the team and others in the NBA what he was capable of. He knew the Mavs were a strong team and could go far this season.
“I knew we had a good team,” said Marshall. “The guys on the team are really confident. They feel they can play anyone.”
Once the finals are over, Marshall will begin playing in summer leagues. He hopes to get a chance to come home to Detroit in August to visit with friends and family.