Penn State’s Jermaine Marshall, right, dribbles down the court around Bucknell’s Bryson Johnson during an NCAA college basketball game, Friday,
Penn State's Jermaine Marshall, right, dribbles down the court around Bucknell's Bryson Johnson during an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Abby Drey )

On a college basketball team, injuries have a way of redefining roles and redistributing responsibilities.

When Tim Frazier went down with a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, Red Land High School graduate Jermaine Marshall became the most experienced player for Penn State and was immediately thrust into a position of leadership.

No longer could the Etters resident just follow Frazier's lead; the role was now his. Leadership is something the 22-year-old redshirt junior has been growing into on and off the court.

"Trying to be a vocal leader is very important," Marshall said Monday. "Specifically on the defensive end, sometimes (in practice) our scout team might hit some tough shots and go on runs and I feel like we drop our heads. There's no need for that. As long as we continue to not let that happen, we'll be fine, but those little spurts where we drop our heads - that can't happen."

Following Frazier's injury against Akron, Marshall has led Penn State in scoring in its last three games. He is averaging 20 points per contest during that stretch and against Pennsylvania, Marshall even played point guard, a role he hasn't played since high school.

"His approach has changed," said Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers of Marshall. "Him and I met and I just said '(You're) going to have to play some point a little more often, but you have to be all in. You have to understand what being a leader means. You can't take a couple of possessions off, then play hard.' We can't have that type of player out there and on Saturday he wasn't."

Against the Quakers, Marshall had a team-high 18 points, including eight important points in nearly the last eight minutes of the game.

"Watching film, he was as consistent as I've seen him on both ends," Chambers said. "He's coming, he's maturing as a human being, he's maturing as a basketball player; he still has some room to grow as a leader but he wants that challenge."

Last season, Chambers suspended Marshall in October for a violation of team rules. Chambers would later say the suspension was related to academics.

This season, Chambers has been pleased with Marshall's progress in the classroom and on the court. The Penn State coach hasn't said much more than "a light went off for Jermaine" in explaining the 6-foot-4 forward's evolution.

But Marshall admitted his life and perspective were changed on April 10.

"I had to turn into a man," Marshall said. "I just had a baby boy - Jacai. I'm just looking at things a lot differently. I'm a lot more serious. There's a brand new look at things when you know you have a life to take care of."