The road to success seldom follows a straight line.
It will normally weave over or around unexpected potholes and road blocks.
Two former York County high school basketball standouts are proof of that.
Red Land High School graduate Jermaine Marshall and Central York High School graduate Tre Bowman were little-used freshmen on the 2010-2011 Penn State team that advanced to the Big Ten title game and earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Since that time, both players have endured some struggles, but both ultimately landed at schools where they are now flourishing as seniors.
Marshall: Marshall, in case you missed it, almost single-handedly willed his Arizona State team to a pulsating upset of then-No. 2 Arizona on Friday night. Marshall collected a season-high 29 points in a 69-66 double-overtime triumph over the Wildcats. That included eight points in the second OT.
"Jermaine is just incredible," Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek said after the game. "It just seems like the bigger the moment, regardless of what's happened previously, he has an amazing capacity to make a big play and to be at his best when the game is on the line."
The 6-foot, 4-inch Marshall has been a standout all season for the Sun Devils, who are 19-6 overall, 8-4 in the Pac-12 and seem destined to earn a spot in March Madness. He's averaging 16.2 points per game and shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.
Of course, Marshall was also a force at Penn State. After redshirting his true freshman season and seeing little action as a redshirt freshman, Marshall averaged double figures in both his sophomore (10.8 ppg) and junior (15.3 ppg) seasons in Happy Valley.
It wasn't always smooth sailing at PSU, however. He was suspended by Head Coach Patrick Chambers early in his PSU career for a violation of team rules, but he eventually earned Chambers' respect and last season he was named a team captain for the Lions.
Marshall then made the surprising decision to give up his final year of eligibility at PSU and pursue a pro career overseas. That didn't work out, however, and he eventually decided to join Arizona State as a graduate transfer, where he has thrived this season. As a graduate transfer, Marshall did not have to sit out a season.
Bowman: Bowman also took a roundabout route to Iona College. After starring at Central York, he attended a prep school in Connecticut before earning a scholarship at PSU. He saw little action as a Lion freshman before running into some off-the-court issues. He decided to transfer to Midland Junior College in Texas for a season.
After a successful season there, he was all set to stay in Texas and play for Division I Texas Southern for the 2012-2013 season. But then that school's head coach unexpectedly resigned. Bowman reconsidered his decision and ultimately landed at Iona in New York, where Bowman has found himself a home.
The 6-5 Bowman averaged 8.3 points per game last season as a junior and helped Iona earn an NCAA berth. Bowman has been even better this season, averaging 13.0 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the foul line.
Bowman is a major reason why the Gaels are 17-8 overall and have won nine straight games. They lead the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 14-2 and another NCAA berth is a definite possibility, if not probability.
While Marshall and Bowman could very well end up in March Madness, their former school, Penn State, will be lucky to make the National Invitation Tournament. The Lions are 13-13 overall and 4-9 in the Big Ten.
It's funny how things work out sometimes.
Three years ago, Marshall and Bowman were minor players on a Penn State team that earned an NCAA berth.
Now, the two York County products are major contributors on teams that will probably end up in March Madness. PSU, meanwhile, hasn't been back to the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and has almost no shot of getting there this year.
It just goes to show that the road to success seldom follows a straight line.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.