Paige bulking up for sophomore season
Posted July 12, 2013
North Carolina basketball player Marcus Paige has big plans for this summer. The rising sophomore has been hitting the weights and has bulked up from 157 pounds to 171 in order to add muscle to face the bigger, stronger guards in the college game.
“I’ve done so many different things just trying to get stronger and more flexible (in order to become) a better athlete,” Paige said.
The 6-foot guard averaged 8.2 points with a 35.6 field goal percentage, 2.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 35 games as a freshman last season with the Tar Heels. Paige ranked second on the team in steals with 48 last season.
“I’d always played lighter than my opponents, even back in high school I wasn’t the heaviest guy on the court, but it really made a difference in college. Strength is a key part of the game, refs let you play more physical,” said Paige.
Paige found that out while playing against bigger, stronger competition in the ACC, such as guards like Miami’s Shane Larkin and NC State’s Lorenzo Brown.
“Dealing with guys like that was a lot harder as a small guy,” Paige said. “I’m not focused on playing at a certain weight or anything. I just want to be stronger, have a stronger base, so I can get through screens and not get fatigued so easily.”
He’s also bulking up his on-the-court experience by playing pickup games against former Carolina guards, Kendall Marshall and Raymond Felton.
“Kendall’s talking to me about leading,” said Paige. “Raymond’s talking to me about it’s my turn to be more aggressive and show people what I can do - confidence boosting things during workouts after workouts. They’re little things but they mean a lot to me.”
Experts say the biggest gains come between a player’s freshman and sophomore seasons and Paige is ready to prove them right.