North Carolina wasn’t just missing its starting point guard when sophomore Kendall Marshall had to sit out its final two NCAA games with a broken right wrist.
It was missing the nation’s top point guard.
The pass-first ballhandler won the Cousy Award on Thursday. The award's named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics guard Bob Cousy and is given to the nation’s best point guard.
Marshall is the third Tar Heel to win it, joining Raymond Felton in 2005 and Ty Lawson in 2009.
"I'm extremely thankful and honored to be mentioned in the same breath as past Cousy Awards winners," Marshall wrote on his Twitter account after the announcement.
Marshall, whose team lost to Kansas in the NCAA regional finals last Sunday, led the nation in assists and assist-error ratio and finished second in assists per game. Prior to injuring his wrist, he set an ACC record 351 assists, the fourth-most in NCAA single-season history. He also became UNC’s all-time leader in assist average (7.96 per game) and the ACC’s career leader in assist-error ratio (3.01). He set an ACC single-season record with 17 double-figure assist games, and holds five of UNC’s top eight all-time single-game assist totals.
He was a second-team All-ACC selection, and has not yet announced whether he plans to return to UNC for his junior season.
“Kendall had one of the finest season-long performances by a point guard that I can remember, so it is fitting for him to win the Bob Cousy Award,” UNC coach Roy Williams said in a prepared statement.
“He made it almost routine to have a game with 10 or more assists, something that just doesn’t happen on a regular basis. He is a coach’s dream -- the way he runs the team on the floor, exemplifies great leadership and makes each of his teammates better. He set standards that will be hard for college point guards to match in years to come.”