Brooklyn (actually Utah) picks Marcus Paige

Linn-Mar grad finds an NBA home

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Update: Paige one step closer to NBA dream


Original Story:

IOWA CITY — Marcus Paige’s road to the NBA began at Linn-Mar High School, accelerated through North Carolina for four years and now moves on to Utah.

Paige, who stands 6 feet, 1 3/4 inches, was picked 55th overall in Thursday night’s NBA draft by the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets made the selection for the Jazz.

One of the most accomplished players in North Carolina history, Paige finished his career with 1,844 points, 602 assists and 203 steals at North Carolina. Paige was named a second-team All-American after his sophomore season and was a two-team team MVP.

Paige was known perhaps even more for his intangibles. Paige was named North Carolina’s only four-time winner of its defensive player of the year award. He also became the school’s first three-time permanent team captain.

“I’ve watched Marcus all throughout his career. I haven’t covered a better kid,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said. “Just an amazing young man and has had a great college career. I absolutely believe that he can play in the NBA.”

Paige ended his final season with solid statistics at 12.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game. He was inconsistent shooting from 3-point range, hitting just 35.6 percent. But Paige hit one of the biggest shots of the NCAA tournament. In the Tar Heels’ 77-74 loss to Villanova in the NCAA championship, Paige tied the game with a double-clutched, tying 3-point shot with 4.1 seconds left. He scored 21 points in defeat.

“The question is whether he can play the point guard in the NBA because that’s what he’s going to have to do,” Bilas said. “He’s too small and too slight a build to be a two-guard in that league.

“He’s good out of pick-and-rolls, he can pass it. But ... he’s not big and strong. Over the course of his four years, he didn’t really put on a lot of muscle, and he’s going to need some muscle when he gets to the league.”

Paige was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball in 2012 at Linn-Mar.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@thegazette.com

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