In the past month Connor Marshall has committed to Brown, been selected 3rd overall in the USHL Draft and represented Selects Academy in the Tier 1 Nationals in San Jose, CA. The talented forward started out his career at South Kent on the U16 team as a 2nd-3rd line player who could make plays here and there but wasn’t a top guy. Two years later he’s not only the U18 teams leading scorer but one of the most dominant players in the league.
You grew up in Parkland Florida. Describe your youth hockey experience?
When I was about seven years old I began playing for the Florida Jr. Panthers and played there until I was fourteen. At that young age development was the first priority, and I was fortunate to have some unbelievable coaches there who have played at the Division 1 and NHL level. Their coaching and support had a tremendous impact on my development.
How did you find South Kent (CT)?
I had seen that a couple older kids from Florida were playing there and I was immediately intrigued. One of my former skill coaches, Matt Pinchevsky, became the assistant coach there and he recruited me, making it very appealing. After seeing the school, it was obvious that it was the place for me. While I knew I was going to leave home to play one day, I didn’t think about any other programs or schools; I was sure I wanted to go to South Kent.
You have been at South Kent for 3 years, how has that experience been for you as a player, as a student and as a person?
The past four years here have been incredible. As a player, you have all the tools to succeed. During the week, you have the opportunity to work on skills during a free block, as well as a practice every afternoon. This year we were fortunate enough to have Ben Prentiss come in twice a week to train all three teams. The coaching staff here does an unbelievable job of developing and preparing players for the next level, which is extremely important. The curriculum at South Kent has done an excellent job of preparing me for the workload of a student-athlete at the college level. As a person, living away from home for so long, I have matured and developed a better understanding towards preparing myself for the future.
It has been an eventful last month for you, getting drafted 3rd overall in the USHL Phase 2 Draft, committing to Brown and heading to San Jose, CA for the USA Hockey Nationals. Tell us about the last month for you and your family.
The past month has been special for my family. With all that happened, I was thrilled to have achieved a couple of my goals, and even more excited that my parents were able to be there with me. I cannot thank them enough as their sacrifices are one of the biggest reasons that I got to the point I’m at today.
Describe your college recruiting process. When did schools start showing interest? Did you go on visits?
At the end of last year, I began attracting some interest from a couple of schools, but nothing serious. Over the course of this season I didn’t even speak to a coach until late January. After that point, more and more schools began showing interest, and I visited UVM, Merrimack, UNH, Brown, Providence, and Yale.
What other schools offered you?
UNH and Providence also offered.
Why Brown? Walk us through your decision process to attend Brown in the future
I always wanted to play a high level of hockey and attend the best school I could, so Brown was already a top choice. After meeting the coaches and going on a visit, I could see myself going there. I slowly fell in love with the campus and the thought of playing there for 4 years became very exciting. The coaches are awesome and I ultimately felt like I had a great opportunity to have an impact on the program.
Define your game. What do you think are your strengths and what areas of your game will you be looking to improve upon before enrolling at Brown?
My game is based off of my speed, hockey sense, and compete level. I use those attributes to create offense, score goals, and put my teammates in a position to score. Before heading to Brown, I’m working on playing heavier all over the ice, as well as improving offensive aspects of my game.
You were passed up the past two years in the USHL Draft. How did it feel to get selected third overall in this year’s draft by Omaha Lancers?
It was tough not getting picked but it never affected me in the long run, as I used it to help push myself. I stayed focused on myself and continued to work on and develop my game. It is an honor to be a part of the Omaha Lancers and I’m looking forward to that opportunity.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/ Hickling Images