ASU Basketball: Pain and gain – Daniel Marshall’s impact

TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 31: Romello White #23 reacts with teammate De'Quon Lake #32 of the Arizona State Sun Devils after the Sun Devils beat the Arizona Wildcats 95-88 in overtime of the the college basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena on January 31, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 31: Romello White #23 reacts with teammate De'Quon Lake #32 of the Arizona State Sun Devils after the Sun Devils beat the Arizona Wildcats 95-88 in overtime of the the college basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena on January 31, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

Before the 2018-19 season, ASU basketball hired Daniel Marshall to serve as a basketball-specific sport performance coach.

When Daniel Marshall took the job as Arizona State men’s basketball’s sport performance coach last summer, it marked the beginning of a new endeavor. After a few years at Rhode Island, Marshall moved across the country in pursuit of a job at a major program.

The 2,559 miles between campuses wouldn’t stand in his way.

At URI, Marshall worked alongside former coach Dan Hurley, the younger brother of ASU coach Bobby Hurley. Familiarity with the Hurley brothers’ programs and coaching styles eased that transition.

“There are a lot of similarities in terms of what we did over there and what we do over here,” Marshall said. “Their approach day-to-day is very similar.

“It’s almost like I haven’t even switched over.”

Of Bobby Hurley’s four seasons at the helm, this is his first having a basketball-specific strength coach on staff. Marshall’s duties range from managing the team’s workouts to players’ pre-game preparation.

“Daniel does a great job,” Bobby Hurley said. “He’s young, he’s energetic, he’s got great ideas.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in what he does on the road with us.”

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But Marshall’s skill set isn’t limited to just basketball. He previously served as an assistant track and field coach at the University of Oklahoma, an opportunity that helped Marshall eventually immerse himself into the basketball world.

Despite having no experience in basketball, Marshall’s background in track and field landed him a position with the Chicago Bulls. Though technically just an intern, Marshall gained valuable experience while working alongside professional basketball players and coaches.

“It was an opportunity for me to go in there and actually work in an internship where they learned from me and I learned from them,” Marshall said. “They really treated me like I was a third strength coach there.”

During his time with the Bulls, Marshall acquainted himself with an up-and-coming star: Jimmy Butler. The rising phenom looked past Marshall’s age and actually preferred his assistance, rather than the more-experienced strength coaches.

“There was a point early in the season where he came to me and was like, ‘You’re going to be my guy. I’m going to work with you and only you moving forward,'” Marshall said. “Having a guy who’s a starter in the NBA come and tell me that was pretty big.”

Fast forward to the present day, and Marshall has now coached basketball at the collegiate level for five years. Though he was already familiar with the surname “Hurley,” any new coaching job requires settling in; the ASU job was no exception.

“Just finding out how to approach them,” Marshall said. “I’m big on relationships with the players, so just kind of navigating each of those individual relationships and determining the best way to coach each and every guy that we have here.”

But adjusting to his new role didn’t take Marshall long. Just under a year into his position at Arizona State, the players have already bought into his methods.

Specifically, Marshall’s addition to the staff paid dividends for redshirt sophomore Romello White.

“It’s changed a lot, especially for me,” White said. “He helped me get my body back to where I needed it to be.”

For White, the increased training has produced results. As a redshirt freshman, his numbers curtailed toward the end of the season, displaying possible fatigue down the stretch. But, this year, the forward has become noticeably stronger in the paint and reached double figures in 12 games.

In addition to players’ gains in the weight room, keeping them agile is another one of Marshall’s key principles.

“He just teaches a lot of movement stuff,” freshman Taeshon Cherry said. “I used to waste a lot of motion, but now I know how to use my feet well.”

Much like White, Cherry bulked up in the offseason, gaining 15 pounds. But that hasn’t slowed him down.

“He’s just helped me a lot on the court and getting quicker laterally,” Cherry said. “Now I’m not getting pushed around.”

In Marshall’s first year on the staff, several players have dealt with lingering injuries, including Remy Martin, Rob Edwards and Cherry.

Edwards missed six games in the non-conference season because of a back injury. Since returning, he has established himself as an everyday player in ASU’s lineup, averaging 12.5 points per game in Pac-12 play.

Marshall helped expedite Edwards’ recovery process through drills and curative stretches.

“Just a bunch of different stuff to get my agility and breathing good,” Edwards said. “He really does a good job with everything.”

With two games left in the regular season, it’s officially crunch time for the Sun Devils. Sitting at 19-9 (10-6 Pac-12), they need to take care of business in the next few games to reserve their spot in the “Big Dance.”

Marshall described how the workouts have changed from November to March.

“Early on, you’re going to go high volume, low intensity,” Marshall said. “As the year progresses, that kind of switches.”

It is now March, and everything hangs on the balance of the next few games.

Marshall said the team’s repetitions in the weight room and on the court have decreased as he steers the team away from a late-season burnout. But make no mistake – Marshall and the Sun Devils aren’t taking their feet off the gas.

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“We’re trying to move that bar as fast as we possibly can,” Marshall said. “We’re not really using light weights, we’re not doing slow conditioning.

“I want these guys being explosive, so everything we do is max effort.”

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.