At this time last year, the word started to spread about the new student at Greenbrier High School.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
After living in Hawaii, Eric Marshall had made the scene, and it didn't take him long to make his mark with the Wolfpack basketball team.
Marshall debuted in the 2001 Columbia County Christmas Tournament, and paced the Pack to the title. He was named tournament MVP, and hasn't let up since.
"Basketball doesn't let up for me. It's year-round," he said. "I've loved the game from the first moment I picked up a ball."
It's been that way since Patrick Marshall introduced his son to the sport.
"Most of my inspiration comes from my dad. He knows a lot about basketball and taught me everything he knows. He taught me to be the best at whatever I do."
Eric didn't take those lessons lightly - he took them to heart.
"I'm biased, but he could very well be the best basketball player to come out of Columbia County," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said of the 6-3 guard. "He's the total package. He can shoot, handle the ball with his right or left hand, play defense. What's really impressive is what people don't see - his work habits, and the way he carries himself."
As a member of a military family, Marshall is accustomed to travel. He has lived in Germany, North Carolina, and Florida. When he moved to Georgia from Hawaii, he brought along a memento.
Dangling from the necklace he wears is an ikalka, a Hawaiian war mask. Marshall has to take off the good-luck charm during games, but that doesn't matter - he remains the ultimate warrior.
"This senior year will determine whether all my hard work is going to pay off. People know me, and they're going to be gunning for me. Columbia County isn't known for basketball - I'm looking to change that this year."
Marshall is off to a strong start this season. His exciting style of play and thunderous dunks have earned him celebrity status at the Brierpatch, but he's not showing off.
When Marshall steps on the floor, he has a particular purpose in mind.
"First of all, I'm trying to win. That's my main focus - to win. I can show some stuff to the crowd later."
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