STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State guard Jermaine Marshall, the team's second-leading scorer, is foregoing his senior year of eligibility to pursue a professional career overseas.
The team announced the surprise move in a statement Wednesday. The 6-foot-4 Marshall, who is on schedule to graduate this summer, cited his family including a 1-year-old son, in making his decision.
"It was a very, very difficult decision just to move on with things and my life," Marshall said in a conference call Wednesday. He would have been a fifth-year senior in 2013-14 after taking his first year at Penn State off to recover from a knee injury suffered in high school.
"My journey at Penn State has been a long one. I love everything at Penn State, the whole Penn State family from top to bottom. Everybody that stuck with me," Marshall added.
Marshall broached the subject with Chambers around the last week of April.
"It really didn't seem real," Chambers said about the conversation at the time. "He kind of said, `I'm thinking about graduating this summer and trying to go overseas.' But he didn't seem like he put a lot of thought in it."
Since then, Chambers said he had posed the pros and cons of leaving, and checked with four agents and other contacts to get their impressions of Marshall's future to relay information to his player. Marshall went back-and-forth each week, Chambers said, when the coach checked on whether he had made a choice.
"We expressed to him that we wanted him to stay," Chambers said, "but we understand why he made the decision."
Marshall (15.3 points) had steadily improved in his three years on the court. He took on more leadership and ball-handling responsibilities after point guard Tim Frazier went down in November with a left Achilles injury.
Frazier is expected back next year to join leading scorer D.J. Newbill (16.3 points) in the backcourt.
Marshall had been expected to join them to form a potentially explosive perimeter trio. Now his departure is a setback for a program that brimmed with offseason optimism because of Frazier's impending return, even following last year's 10-21 record.
Chambers said the team would look at potential fifth-year seniors or potential transfers to fill the roster spot, if it's filled at all.
"I still feel pretty good about my team, I feel good about where we are," Chambers said. "Sometimes the best decisions are not making any, but we're going to investigate things and see where things turn out."
Marshall will perhaps be best known for scoring 25 points and hitting a key layup with 1:06 left to help Penn State roar back from a 15-point deficit en route to an 84-78 upset of No. 4 Michigan Feb. 27.
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