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NBDL Interview: Rawle Marshall

NBDL Interview: Rawle Marshall
Feb 03, 2006, 11:10 pm
Mike Schmidt of DraftExpress.com recently had an opportunity to sit with Rawle Marshall and discuss the different aspects of the NBDL. As an undrafted rookie, Rawle used a solid performance in the summer leagues and a lot of hard work to obtain a roster spot with the Dallas Mavericks. In the interview, Rawle talks about his path to the NBA, life in the D-League, and some comparisons between the two.

DraftExpress: What was your initial reaction to being sent to the D-League?

Rawle Marshall: Well, you know, I was probably one of the only guys who was happy coming down here, because I knew I was going to get a chance to play, and that’s all I wanted really. That was a big thing for me, coming down here and getting a chance to play, so that excited me.

DraftExpress: How do your Mavericks practices compare to the ones with the Fort Worth Flyers?

Rawle Marshall: It’s not a comparison. You got Avery Johnson over there, and he’s watching everything, and he’s definitely watching the rookies, me and the other rookie. You think about us being rookies, that they don’t care much about us, but it’s the exact opposite. We’re the most watched guys, you know, they stayed on us, and that’s what was good about it. But practice, it wasn’t tough, but you had to bring it every day. IF you were slacking, they would get on you, so we had to bring it every day and we just have to play hard. You defiantly have to play hard in practice.

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DraftExpress: How does the coaching style of Avery Johnson compare to Sam Vincent?

Rawle Marshall: It’s kind of similar actually. Coach Vincent’s defensive principles are similar to Avery’s, you know, he wants us to force baseline, rotations are the same, so the style, I would say it’s a little alike, but just different players.

DraftExpress: Is the coaching in the NBDL more about strategizing to win games or does it focus more on player development?

Rawle Marshall: It’s both actually. Although we’re down here in the D-League, everyone wants to win, and when you win, that’s how you get looked at. We try to play to win, but also you’re playing to try and get better. It’s kind of tough, but you got to go along with it.

DraftExpress: So for you, it’s an easy choice between sitting on the bench in the NBA and playing in the D-League?

Rawle Marshall: Oh, it’s not a choice at all. I know some guys, they’d probably rather sit on the bench and get to watch the games, but me, I like to play. When I was with Dallas, although I was sitting on the bench, I was kind of frustrated a little bit because I just wanted to play a little bit, just to get out there, and now I’m here. Being in the D-League, I’m just excited to be playing.

DraftExpress: Who do you pattern your game after?

Rawle Marshall: I watched a lot of Scottie Pippen growing up, and a lot of Anfernee Hardaway growing up. He was my favorite player, the old Penny Hardaway when he was in Orlando, man it was fun watching him. So it was a lot him and a lot of Scottie Pippen I kind of took my game after.

DraftExpress: What clicked for your Oakland team last season that went from being sub .500 to winning your conference tournament and making the NCAA tournament?

Rawle Marshall: Your coach always tells you, you want to play right at the right moment, and that’s all it was. We just- everybody came together, we were clicking at the right moment. Everybody was playing unselfishly, and in everyone’s eyes, we just wanted to win. Every game, it started 5 or 6 games before our tournament, everybody was just playing great together, so that’s what really helped us.

DraftExpress: Why did you decline to attend the Portsmouth Invitational last year?

Rawle Marshall: That was a business decision. I went and talked it over with a couple of my, uh- my agent and a couple people I consult with, and they were like ‘just don’t go to that, wait for Chicago.’ By not going to Portsmouth, a lot of people thought I was making a bad decision, and they didn’t think I’d be able to get into Chicago. I played well there, and things worked out. At first, when I got the invitation, I wanted to go, because I didn’t know nothing about it, all I knew was that NBA scouts were going to be there, so I wanted to go. I talked it over with a couple of my agents and a couple of my people and they said ‘don’t go, wait for the big one.’

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DraftExpress: Tell us a little bit about the draft process.

Rawle Marshall: Man, it was my toughest summer by far. You know, the workouts, I went to Chicago, worked out with Tim Grover, and Tim Grover, he’s the one who got me right. I remember my first workout with Grover, I threw up, because that’s how tough the workout was. I thought I was in shape, but I wasn’t in his shape. It was definitely tough, I worked out twice a day until the Chicago pre-draft camp, and it paid off. If I could, I’d do it all again, but sooner.

DraftExpress: How did you think you performed at the Chicago Pre-draft Camp?

Rawle Marshall: I did well. As a player, you always think you can do better, but you’re still sometimes satisfied with what you did. I think I could have played a little better. It was a lot of nerves, it was a lot of excitement, there was a lot of stuff going through me, and for all that was happening, I think I put on a good show.

DraftExpress: How many NBA teams did you workout for?

Rawle Marshall: I think it was something like 15 or 16, I was in and out of cities. Man, I remember it, I had 2 stretches where I had 5 straight workouts, and I had another stretch where I had 5 straight workouts. It was definitely tough, it was a long road coming here, but that’s the sacrifice you’ve got to make if you want to be a ball player.

DraftExpress: What was your reaction to going undrafted?

Rawle Marshall: Well, I wasn’t surprised, in these drafts, it’s the big name guys who get drafted. I was sure that I was going to get drafted, I was that confident, but I told myself, ‘if you don’t get drafted, don’t be surprised,’ because I’m coming onto the scene, and my name was probably not a household name. I wasn’t disappointed or nothing, that just gave me more motivation to work hard and try and get on somebody’s team.

DraftExpress: Tell us about your transition to the NBA so far.

Rawle Marshall: Now, looking at it, it’s been about what, 4 or 5 months into it, I’m real comfortable now, but first coming into the NBA, I didn’t know what to expect. Of course I knew the talent was better, everybody on this level is good, so I knew to bring my game. But just not knowing what to expect and playing against these great guys, it can be tough sometimes, because everybody has a mentality that they want to get out on that court and go to work on you. Defensively I had to adjust, offensively I had to adjust, you know at Oakland, I was the Dirk Nowitzki, I was getting all the shots. It was a lot of adjustments just trying to fit in, that was my main thing, I just want to fit in and play my role, and do well every time I get on that court.

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DraftExpress: Is there a big difference in lifestyle between the NBDL and the NBA?

Rawle Marshall: Man, that’s not even a question, it’s night and day. I didn’t realize how spoiled I was, you know, just the plane alone, the traveling. We have to be riding on buses here, it don’t matter if the next place in the NBA we’re going to is 2 hours away driving, we still are going to fly. Just that, of course, the money, and just the hotels, you know, we’re at A1 hotels, top- what do you call them?

DraftExpress: 5 star hotels?

Rawle Marshall: yeah, 5 star hotels every night. Here we got to settle for the Holiday Inn. But that’s all right.

DraftExpress: Is it easier being in the D-League considering that you’re in the same area and your teammates are close by?

Rawle Marshall: Are you talking about from Dallas?

DraftExpress: Yes

Rawle Marshall: Oh yeah. One thing I like, Fort Worth is only 25 minutes away from Dallas. I don’t have to commute, but I’d rather do that, because it’s not that difficult, just 25 minutes. I can always pick up the phone, talk to these guys, Josh Howard, Marquis, Desagana, I can always go by their houses, talk to them, see how things are going.

DraftExpress: Do you think there is any animosity between D-League players making a few hundred dollars a week, and NBA assigned players making half a million dollars or more?

Rawle Marshall: Guys are different, people are different. Some guys might have animosity, but the guys on my team, I feel that they are happy for me. Some people get put in different scenarios and different positions, so you got to work for your position, and all these guys here on my team, they could easily be in the same position I’m in. I’m just happy- I don’t want to say luck because I worked for it, but it had a little to do with luck too. God blessed me and put me in that position, and I just want to make the best of it. Like I said, there’s a whole bunch of these guys here on our team that could be in the same position as me. I look at myself as being a good player, but I look at some of them, and they’re good players too. It’s timing, it’s just timing with basketball.

DraftExpress: How would you compare the level of competition in the NBDL to the NCAA?

Rawle Marshall: The NCAA, other than the first round loss to North Carolina where they had 4 guys that went NBA, the D-League, it’s really a good league, it’s full of talent, ex-NCAA players who come from everywhere. Kansas, Kentucky, you know, Pittsburgh, every big name school almost is represented in the D-League, so you’ve got guys from everywhere. Some have been out for 1, 2, maybe 3 years and they’ve gotten better. The D-League definitely has some competition in it, it’s not no cake-walk league where you just think you can come here and cake-walk through it. You defiantly have to battle your way through this league.

DraftExpress: How does the D-League competition compare to the summer league you played in?

Rawle Marshall: The summer league was pretty tough too, and I’d probably put the NBDL on the same level as the summer league. In the summer league you’ve got guys trying to make their team, and trying to show their skills, and it’s the same way here. Guys are trying to show their skills so they can get on an NBA team. It might be on the same level, but I’m telling you, this D-League is packed with skilled players that could be in the NBA.

DraftExpress: What would you tell players coming into the league that would considering being sent to the D-League an insult?

Rawle Marshall: It’s your attitude, how you look at things. It’s definitely not an insult. I could tell guys, if they were in my position where they weren’t getting a chance to play, and now they get sent to the D-League and get a chance to play, that’s a good way of looking at it. You’re getting a chance to play, you not only showcase your talents to your team, or to another team, but there’s other people out there looking at you, you might have 4 or 5 other teams looking at you, so you definitely want to come here and play and give it all you got.

DraftExpress: Thanks for your time Rawle, good luck the rest of the season.

Rawle Marshall: Thanks a lot Mike.

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