Why Marcus Paige is key for UNC

UNC guard Marcus Paige averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 assists in the final 12 games of 2012-13. Bob Donnan/US Presswire

Marcus Paige couldn’t handle it for the first part of last season. He was just 157 pounds and expected to be eased into his career as a point guard at North Carolina.

Kendall Marshall was supposed to be tutoring Paige, bringing him along slowly as he physically matured.

“That was the plan,” Paige said. “To come in and learn from him.”

The Marshall plan was scrapped when he left Chapel Hill after his sophomore season and headed to the Phoenix Suns, pressing Paige into immediate action as the team’s full-time point guard.

“Guys were physically stronger,” Paige admitted. “And my conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be. I was tired.”

“I thought I was ready,” he added. “But I wasn’t.”