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2011 Scouting Report: Khyle Marshall, Butler

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Our next scouting report will look at Khyle Marshall of Butler, a 6’7″ forward who will be partly responsible for picking up the lost production of Matt Howard. Although they will miss Howard, a frontcourt of Andrew Smith and Marshall has the potential to be just fine in the Horizon League. Marshall showed several good things in flashes last year but still has several areas to work on as a sophomore.


Finishing at the rim

Marshall’s biggest strength is his ability to finish at the rim, even in traffic. When he gets the ball under the rim off a catch or rebound, he is able to keep himself under control and finish the tough layups near the rim.

Marshall effectively uses his body to prevent defenders from blocking shots, as he often sticks his lower body out which leaves defenders unable to challenge the shot. When there is a defender challenging his shot, Marshall has the ability to finish under pressure and often draws a foul, as evidenced by his 43.6% free throw rate last season.

Butler might not have a player who can create their own shot this season. This makes this skill incredibly useful, as Marshall will need to be able to convert these tough layups at the rim to help Butler put points on the board, either in open plays or off offensive rebounds.

Defensive Rebounding

Despite playing alongside strong rebounders in Matt Howard (20% Defensive rebound rate) and Andrew Smith (16.5% Defensive rebound rate), Marshall was able to collect 17.2% of defensive rebounds himself. He crashes the glass hard and uses his length and athleticism to secure the loose ball.

Marshall could improve on his rebounding by using a better technique when he boxes out. Last season, many of his rebounds came without him boxing out an offensive player but relying solely on his athleticism to jump higher to grab the rebound. Couple this skill with the energy Marshall already brings to defensive rebounding and he could become one of the elite rebounders in the country.

Areas of Improvement

Post Defense

Marshall really struggled with defending post players last season. He was not strong enough to body up the opposing players (such as Vernon Macklin or Jamie Skeen, as we will see in the tape), so he played a step off of the player to avoid being physical in the post. This gave the offensive player the space to make a move and put the onus on the footwork of Marshall to defend the move.

However, his lateral quickness was not enough to stop the offensive player’s post move and he was often beaten to the rim. Opposing players can score on him at will because Marshall does not play physical with them and he is no match for them once they start their move. Marshall sometimes resorts to flopping, which means he knows he is overmatched in the post.

Marshall needs to learn how to defend the post better. He needs to either become more physical to make it harder for the offensive player to start their move or become quicker when it comes to defending the move. I think this will come with time but it was a big weakness for him in his freshman season.

Scoring off the dribble

Marshall showed that he is strong around the basket, as shown above. When he is on the perimeter, he is uncomfortable with the ball and loses almost all ability to finish in the paint if he was to take a couple dribbles. One of the reasons he is so good at finishing after a rebound or a dump off pass is his ability to stay under control when he takes the shot.

If he tries to shoot off the dribble, he can’t compose himself once he is ready to shoot. This leads to a rushed or off-balance shot and he struggles to convert these close shots. Marshall is fine after taking one power dribble (as we saw in a few clips above) but when he needs to create off the dribble, he has room for improvement. With the offense that Butler runs, Marshall will need to become more comfortable on the perimeter.

Pick and Roll

When Marshall does make the effort to roll after setting a pick and roll screen, he is a threat due to his ability to finish around the rim (when he doesn’t have to dribble). In the following play, Marshall takes advantage of the defender hedging on the screen by rolling to the rim and receiving the pass from Howard for two easy dunks.

Marshall does not always roll this hard after setting the screen as he often floats after setting the screen and does not try to get open. By not rolling hard off the screen, the screening action is much easier to defend, as the defense does not have to pay much attention to Marshall, as he does not put himself in position to receive a pass. Instead of popping and looking for an outside shot or rolling to the rim, Marshall sets the screens and hesitates before slowly opening up to the play. The ball handler could not make a pass if he wanted since Marshall is not looking to receive a pass.

When you see Howard set the ball screen in the first play, you see him roll hard to the basket. Although the ball does not find him, he makes the defense pay attention to him on the roll. Teams don’t have to pay attention to Marshall on pick and rolls, as he does not look to get open after the ball screen. Even if the play is not designed to get him the ball, he needs to force the defense to respect him, which will open up space for his teammates.

I trust Brad Stevens to improve the play of Khyle Marshall as he steps into a more substantial role with the team this season. Marshall exhibited that he can rely on his athleticism to be successful in some facets of the game but will need substantial improvement in other skill areas.


Written by Joshua Riddell

October 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm

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