When Anthony Marshall was a kid in Las Vegas, prominent figures from the city were tough to identify with. That’s mostly because they were never visible in his neighborhood.
“Growing up, we didn’t really have a lot of people who were figures in the community coming back like they should have, talking to me and my peers,” he says. “For me, I wanted to make a change and go back to the kids and everybody else and tell them that you can stay in Vegas and make a change.”
Now, Marshall is taking full advantage of his opportunity to impact the community he calls home.
The 6-foot-3 UNLV junior guard was born in Louisiana, but his family moved to Las Vegas not long after. By his senior year at Mojave High, Marshall had become one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country. Although several major Division I programs came calling, Marshall opted to stay at home. Sure, there was the chance to play major minutes right away for coach Lon Kruger, but Marshall also chose UNLV so that he could be close to his four younger siblings, serving as a mentor and setting a good example.
This season, his family has seen him come of age on the floor in more ways than one. He’s averaging per-game career highs in points (12.3), assists (5.1), rebounds (4.6) and steals (1.7). He’s the team’s resident high-flier, throwing down highlight-worthy dunks almost nightly. Marshall also has made major strides over three seasons at UNLV in developing his once-raw jump shot.
On top of it all, Marshall’s leadership qualities have served his team on the floor—and his community off of it.
Marshall recalls a freshman year trip with teammate Chace Stanback to the Doolittle Community Center, where he spoke to a group of kids from the city’s north side and played some hoops with them. One of the kids told Marshall that he wanted to be just like him when he grew up.
Now, Marshall pays regular visits to local elementary schools, middle schools and community centers. Sometimes he reads books to the kids. Sometimes he shoots hoops with them. And sometimes he just hangs out.
He hopes that more local role models in the future will do the same.
“In Las Vegas, there are places that are pretty tough,” Marshall says. “When you go down to those neighborhoods and talk to the kids and you just see them smile, it makes everything you do worth it.
“Las Vegas has kind of made me who I am,” he says. “To give back is just me paying my debt to the Las Vegas community.”