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New to the Zoo: K.J. Marshall commits to Pitt

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The point guard out of North Carolina will join the Panthers as a walk-on

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff added another piece to their 2019 recruiting haul on Wednesday, as K.J. Marshall, a point guard out of Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, announced his commitment to the program in a message posted on Twitter. Marshall is the sixth recruit to join the Panthers in the 2019 cycle.

”If anyone knows my journey getting here, it wasn’t an easy one,” Marshall wrote. “It took plenty of patience, time and hard work to get to where I’m at today. ... It took a village to get me to where I am today. Thank you to Coach Jeff Capel and Jason Capel for giving me this wonderful opportunity to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Pittsburgh.”

During his time at Trinity Christian School, which went 46-16 overall and 18-2 in its league over the last two seasons, Marshall averaged 9.5 points, 3.0 assists and 2.1 rebounds over 52 games as an upperclassmen. The 5’11” guard was also a teammate of Au’Diese Toney, who joined the Panthers in 2018.

While Marshall’s stats may not jump off the page, he has drawn praise for his selfless play from many who have watched him at work, including Jeff Bendel of Phenom Hoop Report, who broke down his game.

”Marshall understands how to properly run a team and conduct an efficient offense, as he’s proven countless times throughout the last few years at Trinity Christian,” Bendel said of the Pitt commit back in February. “He consistently sets the tone on both ends of the floor and is willing to sacrifice his individual numbers for the betterment of the team. Marshall has also filled a similar role with Team Felton and seems to always bring success, regardless of surrounding teammates.”

Capel and his staff have been looking to address the looming absence of Xavier Johnson, which could be an issue as soon as 2020 if he declares for the NBA draft after this coming season. Thus far, they have missed out on Ethan Morton, a four-star point guard out of Butler, Pennsylvania, who committed to Purdue in May, as well as Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly, who committed to Alabama in June.

In addition, the Pitt staff is currently awaiting a decision from Delaware transfer Ithiel Horton, a shooting guard who is also giving serious consideration to Arkansas. Horton is set to announce his decision on Wednesday.

As for Marshall, his commitment to Pitt is a positive sign, as his intangible qualities are indicative of the kind of player who could help Pitt establish a winning culture. He will join the team as a walk-on, according to Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, meaning Capel still has two open scholarships at his disposal.