When we were in middle school, we were most worried about whether or not there would be chicken nuggets left by the last lunch period (sidenote: the last lunch slot is always the worst, but that’s a story for another, longer post). Chol Marial is worried about taking charge of a high school basketball team, and he’s apparently been quite successful doing so thus far.
As noted by ESPN and other sources, Marial is a dominant middle school phenom who spent the 2014-15 season contributing to the West Oaks Academy varsity basketball team in Orlando, Fla. That’s perfectly believable, because Florida allows middle schoolers to compete in some circuits. We don’t know how effective he was on the floor, but we know he made it there. Quite frankly, we find it hard to imagine the 14-year-old South Sudanese national would be anything short of dominant because he’s already 7-foot-3.
Yes, Marial is an eighth grader who is already 7-foot-3. That is patently unfair to other eighth graders. Really, it’s patently unfair to anyone, as you can see from the highlight reel above.
Jump ball? Guess who’s taking it. Missed shot from the perimeter? Don’t worry, you’ve got an eighth grade basketball vacuum cleaner in the paint.
Of course, the one downside of being roughly a foot taller than absolutely anyone else his age is that Marial hasn’t exactly had to refine his perimeter game. No worries. There’s time for that, though he may never have to use it if he keeps locking up the post the way he is now for the rest of his career.