Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
North Carolina’s chances at another NCAA championship appeared to take a major hit Sunday when point guard Kendall Marshall suffered a fractured right wrist midway through the second half of the team’s 87-73 victory over Creighton.
Marshall was injured after being fouled by Ethan Wragge on a drive to the basket with 10:56 remaining. He crashed to the floor hard but remained in the game until the 1:54 mark.
“Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first,” Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “Kendall has a fractured wrist and that’s all I can tell you. We don’t know. He’s got a fracture of the scaphoid bone of the right wrist.
“We do not know anything else….We’ll speak to the hand specialist tonight with Kendall and his family and we’ll see what happens after that.”
The good news is that Marshall is left-handed and could theoretically still play in the Sweet 16
“That’s the most positive thing,” Marshall said. “If it was my left hand I’d be telling y’all right now I’m not playing next week. Being that I was still able to be out there and help my team out and get them, in positions… that’s encouraging.”
Still, Williams is planning for the potential that Marshall may well be done for the tournament.
Asked who would handle the ball in Marshall’s place, Williams said: ” It would be Stillman [White] or [Justin] Watts. When you go to the Sweet 16, it’s supposed to be a lot more fun than this.”
The Tar Heels are already without off guard Dexter Strickland, the former Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick star who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Both Syracuse (Fab Melo) and Carolina have now suffered blows to major pieces of their teams, potentially making the road to a championship easier for No. 1 overall seed Kentucky.
Marshall is arguably the top point guard left in the tournament and finished with 18 points and 11 assists in the win.
He is averaging 7.8 points and 9.7 assists.
“He’s playing really well,” Williams said. “He’s really played well. As you said, the entire season, the first half today, four turnovers. As a matter of fact, he had I think 13 points at halftime. I told our staff I would rather him not have the 13 points and not have the four turnovers. But he’s been really, really good.
He added: “You just hate it for the kid. My gosh, we have handled a little bit of adversity the last two years and I’m just so proud of my group. But he’s been a big time basketball player for us.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.