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River Hill guard Nick Marshall finds ‘perfect fit,’ commits to play basketball at Loyola

River Hill's Nick Marshall goes up for a basket during a playoff game at Reservoir on March 3, 2020.
River Hill's Nick Marshall goes up for a basket during a playoff game at Reservoir on March 3, 2020. (photo courtesy of Tim Morgan)

River Hill senior Nick Marshall could have easily waited, sticking to an arbitrary timetable in his head that had him making his college commitment in the upcoming winter months surrounding his final high school basketball season.

Yet, the more he thought about it, Marshall decided there was no point in pushing off a decision when the offer he was hoping for has been in front of him all along.

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On Wednesday evening, the 6-foot-4 Hawks' guard made his plans official by announcing on social media his commitment to play at Loyola University Maryland following his graduation next spring.

“Loyola has been there as long as anyone — Coach [Tavaras] Hardy has been recruiting me for well over a year now — and they have always made a point of prioritizing me,” said Marshall, who received an official offer from the Greyhounds in July 2019. “I’ve always felt incredibly comfortable with the staff, with the program and it’s a relationship that is more than just basketball. The last few weeks, I just kind of realized there is no reason to wait when I feel 110% confident that this is the perfect fit for me.”

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Marshall battled back from a mid-December knee injury last season as a junior to finish with Howard County’s second-best scoring average of 17.2 points per game. He played mostly at the shooting guard position, but projects as a point guard at the next level.

“We had him off the ball last year, but the plan — if we do end up having our season later this winter — is to have him slide over to play the point,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “With his size, ability to handle the basketball and run an offense, the sky is the limit for him if he continues on his current path.”

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association announced its “Roadmap for Return to Interscholastic Athletics and Extracurricular Activities” on Sept. 11, outlining a plan that will have the winter sports season run from Feb. 1 through March 27.

Before ultimately choosing Loyola, Marshall had received nine offers from Division I programs — including seven since the end of the basketball season in March. The Greyhounds, however, were officially the first of the bunch last summer and have stayed right at the top of the list ever since.

Aside from the product on the basketball court, which includes Loyola improving its record three straight years in the Patriot League, Marshall said he’s been just as impressed with everything off of it. He mentioned specifically a recent series of posts on social media where the team’s players and coaches have started conversations about social justice.

“It’s things like that, being willing to talk openly about what’s going on, that kind of cemented for me that this is where I want to be,” Marshall said.

Marshall has been playing with Team Thrill this summer and says his knee is back to 100% and he hasn’t had to wear a brace since April.

He will be the fifth River Hill player in the last 20 years to go on to play Division I basketball, joining Kevin Steenberge (Richmond), Tommy Brenton (Stony Brook), Varun Ram (Maryland) and Charles Thomas, IV (Wisconsin). Graves said it’s a big positive for not only the Hawks' program, but Howard County as a whole.

“It just further showcases that you can play for a school in Howard County and go on to play Division I … you don’t have to go the private school route,” Graves said. “Nick’s a kid that started at Mount St. Joseph as a freshman playing JV and then came in here and continued growing his game. He’s been a terrific fit for us and I’m thrilled to see him get this opportunity to continue showcasing himself at the next level.”

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