After a two-hour basketball practice Thursday afternoon, Anthony Marshall left to join his family for a "big bash" for Thanksgiving dinner.
"My aunt is cooking, my grandma is cooking and my mom also cooks," he said. "But I really don't get a chance to eat the way I want to eat. I don't want to be feeling sluggish."
The UNLV senior from Mojave High School had the advantage of being in his hometown for the holiday. It was not a good time to stuff himself with turkey, however, because he's got plenty of other things on his plate this weekend.
Two games into his new role as a full-time point guard, Marshall is facing more formidable tasks that are certain to test his handle on the position.
The 18th-ranked Rebels (2-0) host Oregon (4-0) at 6 p.m. today in a semifinal of the eight-team Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center. In the other semifinal at 3:30, No. 22 Cincinnati (4-0) plays Iowa State (4-0).
The third-place game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, with the championship at 7:30. Four games will be played each day.
Marshall, an off-guard who handled the point duties only occasionally in his first three seasons as a starter, averaged 12.5 points and totaled 12 assists and four turnovers in UNLV's victories over Northern Arizona and Jacksonville State.
"I feel like this is a good starting point for me," he said. "I'm pretty comfortable."
The Ducks' backcourt of Dominic Artis, a freshman from Findlay Prep, and Johnathan Loyd, a junior from Bishop Gorman High School, should put more stress on Marshall and freshman shooting guard Katin Reinhardt.
"It will be a challenge for both Anthony and Katin," Rebels coach Dave Rice said. "Oregon has quick, athletic guards."
The Ducks also are strong in the post with 6-foot-6-inch forward E.J. Singler and 6-11 center Tony Woods. UNLV is taking a steep step up in competition from what it faced in the season's opening week.
"This is an opportunity for me to showcase what I've been working on and what I need to work on," Marshall said. "I think there's a lot I can still do to get better. I'm still learning how to control the pace of the game during certain situations, particularly the second half, and trying to make the right, simple pass instead of trying to make the spectacular pass."
His first chance to run the Rebels came during their four-game exhibition tour to Canada in August. Last season, senior Oscar Bellfield played point with Marshall as his wing man.
The plan to move Marshall over one spot was made in part to prepare him for a potential pro career. He's not a pure shooter, but he has the quickness and strength to operate the offense and make plays with dribble penetration.
"Anthony has done a terrific job of making the adjustment, especially with changing his mindset," Rice said.
The 6-foot-3-inch Marshall sees an NBA star, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, as his role model. Westbrook was a shooting guard at UCLA before adapting to the point at the next level.
Marshall works with former UNLV point guard Robert Smith (1974-77) and studies film with assistant coaches Stacey Augmon and Justin Hutson to pick up the finer points of the position. If Smith is not the greatest lead guard to play for the Rebels, that designation might go to one of Augmon's former teammates from 1988 to 1991.
"I've asked Stacey a lot, 'How did Greg Anthony become such a great point guard?" Marshall said.
Oregon has a Las Vegas connection beyond Artis and Loyd. Freshman forward Ben Carter, who was recruited at Bishop Gorman by Rice, has averaged 3.3 points in four games as a reserve.
Marshall said he tried to convince Loyd and Carter to join him at UNLV, and now his focus is on beating them.
"Johnathan is like a little brother to me," Marshall said. "Any time you're playing against a friend, it adds a little something to the game and you want to dominate them and make a statement. It's always fun, so I'm looking forward to it."
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.