It all starts with PG Marshall for No. 5 Tar Heels

AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer Published:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Kendall Marshall has made himself fifth-ranked North Carolina's most irreplaceable player.

The sophomore point guard is second nationally in assists, averaging 9.8 assists per game. He's been the perfect floor leader for coach Roy Williams' fast-paced attack, leading the Tar Heels in transition with his see-everything court vision and precise passing.

He'll need to be on his game for the Tar Heels heading into Wednesday's rivalry game with No. 10 Duke.

It was about this time a year ago that Marshall took over as the starter. The Tar Heels have gone 37-6 with him since, though they have little depth behind him after losing junior Dexter Strickland to a season-ending knee injury last month.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says Marshall "orchestrates" the Tar Heels' offense very well, particularly in transition.