Donyell Marshall Interview

Interview with Donyell Marshall, then Cavs forward

Published in high school newspaper The Orange Outlook in September 2006

Forward Donyell Marshall, entering his twelfth season, played a key role in getting the Cavs to the playoffs last year, and scored 28 points in their game six victory over Washington in round one of the playoffs.  He attended the University of Connecticut before being drafted forth after his junior year.  He now has four children, Marquis Lamar, Paryss, Donyell, Jr, and Devynn, who attend the Orange School District.  He took some time to talk with the Orange Outlook’s Mitchell Blatt this past September:


On Scoring 28 Points in Game Six Victory Over Wizards in ’06 Playoffs:

“Scoring 28 points in game six, that was the game we clinched to go to round two, and it was very good to be a big part of winning the series.  I had a great game one [19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists].  After that, they really played me defensively.  To come back in game six, and find a way to come at them offensively was very special.”


On Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ Role in the Playoffs:

“He struggled a little in the playoffs, but he still helped us a lot.  [Z’s playoff totals of 45% shooting and 10.4 points per game were both significantly lower than his season stats.]  In the first round of the playoffs, Washington played small ball, so they matched him up on offense, so we didn’t get it to him as much as we did in the regular season.  Washington didn’t always go with a center or a power forward.  Sometimes, they went with Jared Jeffries, who was naturally a small forward, playing center.  They went with Antoine Jamison, who was naturally a small forward, at power forward.  They were a lot faster than Z, and Z couldn’t necessarily keep up with them.  I think it affected him a lot, and in the second round, I think the first round affected him a lot.  In the second round, he just didn’t play well, but I think he was still a big part of us advancing.  He played good defense.  He distributed the ball.  Even though he wasn’t scoring a lot, he was still a big part of our offense.”


On His Comment After Game 1 vs. Detroit that, “Their knowledge is going to overtake our youth”:

“After the first playoff game [113-86 loss], a lot of people thought we were going to get swept.  At that point in time, I though we had a young team, and it was taking a toll.  The comment I made was probably ill advised.  I always felt that we could win.  It was an ill-advised comment.  I shouldn’t have made it, but it was also a little bit true.  I didn’t say anything bad.  I didn’t say anything negative.  If a reporter would have wrote it, it would have been fine, but because it was a player saying it, it was supposedly a bad comment.”


On the Biggest Challenge the Cavs Faced Against Detroit:

“The biggest challenge was coming back from the 0-and-2 deficit after the first two games.  I think part of it was when we won game six [over Washington], we won it on a Friday night.  We got back to Cleveland at like 2 o’clock Saturday morning.  We had to wake up, pack, go in to practice, then fly to Detroit, for a 1 pm game on Sunday.  We were a little tired.  People didn’t understand that.  I think the biggest problem was the deficit we had to come back from.  We won three straight, but when you’re playing against a team that went to the championship the year before and won the conference title, it’s going to catch up to you.”


On Rasheed Wallace’s Guaranteed Victory:

“We all know Rasheed.  We just pretty much laughed.  Rasheed has done that before, and when you’re trying to get your team fired up, you’re going to say things.  They weren’t necessarily playing well.  We came back and beat them twice.  It was unexpected.  The way they blew us out [in the first two games], they didn’t think it was going to happen.  We came back and we pushed them, and we probably helped Miami beat them [in the conference semifinals].”


On Missed Rebound That Lost Game 6 and the Series:

“We just didn’t box out.  [Detroit missed a shot late, but Cavs missed the rebound.]  We played well the whole game, and unfortunately, one play hurt us.  That’s the way it is in basketball.”


On the Effect of Playoff Experience:

“Up until that point [vs. Detroit] the only people who had been to a game seven were Eric Snow, Damon Jones, and Allan Henderson.  Some of the other players had been to the playoffs, but never experienced a game seven.  A lot of people questioned LeBron’s playoff experience, but he played well in the playoffs.  Now, he has experienced almost every part of the playoffs: being down 0-and-2, playing a good team, going to game seven.  It really helps a lot, because next year going in, we can just say, ‘Okay, we’ve been here before.’”


On Cav’s Mid-Season Drop-off in Performance:

“Part of it had to do with injuries.  Also, we might have taken some things for granted.  We were 10-4 in the first month of the season, and we might have started to sleepwalk through games.  We were still learning to play with each other.  There were a lot of new faces [including Marshall, Damon Jones, and Larry Hughes].  You’re not going to learn to play with each other in the first month or even the first two months.  We came together at the end, but I think it had to do with injuries and playing new players hurt us.  We had to work Andy [Varejao] back in.  We lost Larry [Hughes, who was injured].  We had to work Flip [Murray, who was acquired in a trade] in.”


On The Eastern Conference Landscape Going into This Season:

“Chicago made a big improvement [signing center Ben Wallace].  Milwaukee made a big improvement adding Reuben Paterson and Charlie Villanueva.  Miami won the championship last year.  Looking at our division, every team made the playoffs last year, and I think that can very well happen again.  I think a lot of people look at our team and say, ‘They didn’t make any moves,’ but I think if you’re one game away from the Eastern Conference championship, you don’t really need to.”


On Being Picked 4th Overall in the 1994 Draft by the Timberwolves:

“It felt great.  I remember in the days leading up, I was cool.  Just an hour before the draft, I started getting a little nervous.  There was a childhood memory of mine about to come true.  I was nervous, because there are always people that are supposed to be drafted in the top five or top ten slipping down to fifteen or twenty, and I was hoping I wasn’t going to be one of them.  I had my family and friends there and the whole city back home watching the draft.”


On Being Traded 40 Games into His Rookie Season:

“I still don’t know the reason.  I learned some things from it.  It was an adversity I had to face early in my career.  One thing is I appreciate the playing time.  I appreciate the game.  Nothing was handed to me.  I was the number four pick, but I didn’t start.  I didn’t get much playing time for the first three years of my career.  I played a lot as a rookie, but in my second and third years, I barely played at all.  There were some games when I didn’t even leave the bench.  That helped me become a professional and understand the business of the game.”


On Not Playing for a Winning Team Until 2000:

[He spent ’94-00 with the Golden State Warriors, basketball’s version of the Cleveland Browns.]

“Believe me, it was hard.  It was something that I never thought would end.  Right now, the Warriors still haven’t made the playoffs, so I guess I was right thinking that it would never end.  Luckily, I got traded.  I was so happy, especially because I was going to Utah.  I almost cried.  Sometimes when you get traded, you think, ‘Oh no, I don’t like this situation,’ but as soon as I got traded, I was happy, because I knew that I was going to a situation where I was going to the playoffs for sure.  I was going to play in a great system with Karl Malone and John Stockton and [Coach] Jerry Sloan.  The things that those guys taught me about staying in shape, eating right, and just approaching the game helped me stay in basketball for this long.”


On His Relationship With Malone in Utah After a Foul by Malone Injured Him in 1998:

“When I first got there, that was the first thing we talked about.  The funny thing was I was not a big Utah fan growing up.  I don’t know what it was, but I just did not like them. We talked about that right away.  We laughed and joked, and he asked me why I even tried doing it knowing that he sticks he knee out.  We joked about it.  There was something funny about the way that I fell.”


On Controversy Surrounding 2004-05 Toronto Raptors:

“It was frustrating for me because I had started the year before, and they drafted a center [Rafael Araujo].  I felt that what I did before playing out of position, I could still get better numbers than what he got.  It became even more frustrating when a lot of the teams that were going to the playoffs and making a championship push were trying to trade for me.  It was frustrating when it didn’t happen, but when I was in Utah, they taught me how to stay professional, and it worked out for me, because I got a good deal and came here to Cleveland.”


On Tying Kobe Bryant’s Record With 12 3-Pointers in a Game in That Season:

“Twelve three-pointers in a game was very special.  It’s something that only myself and Kobe have done, and it was on my wife’s birthday.”


On His Signing With Cleveland Following the ’04-05 Season:

“The final two teams were Washington and Cleveland.  A lot of my decision was based on where Larry Hughes was going. If he had resigned with Washington, I probably would have gone there.  Since he signed with Cleveland, I came here, because I knew that he was going to make his team that much better. We signed on the same day, but he agreed a few days before me.”

Photo by Wikipedia author Sphilbrick, used under Wikimedia’s Creative Commons License: Source