The Greenbrier boys basketball locker room was gutted before the season.
Freshly stained, deep brown wooden lockers now line the cinderblock walls and the number and name of each Wolfpack player is mounted above each. One corner belongs to No. 20, Eric Marshall, the former Greenbrier High and Wofford College standout who died in April.
Before Tuesday's home game with Grovetown, the Marshall family visited the locker room. Six-year-old Isaiah Marshall was asked by a family member which number he would eventually wear.
"No. 20," Eric's son responded.
Wolfpack coach Casey Heckathorn relayed the story at halftime, during a ceremony to retire Eric's number.
The Marshall family was presented with framed Greenbrier jerseys of Eric's No. 20. Isaiah and 1-year-old brother, Caleb, each received a child-sized replica of the jersey their father once wore.
"That was beautiful," said Tanya Marshall, Eric's wife, as she cradled Caleb and the tiny jersey in one arm. "He's going to wear this one. So adorable."
Eric Marshall was remembered as one of the best basketball players to come out of the area.
Greenbrier athletic director Garrett Black, an assistant coach when Marshall arrived as a junior in 2001, told of how the Wolfpack had only one victory before Marshall became eligible before a Christmas tournament. With Marshall, Greenbrier won the tournament.
Wofford coach Mike Young, who made the trip Tuesday from Spartanburg, S.C., recalled the night Marshall dropped 28 points on the Cincinnati Bearcats. An opposing coach told Young after the game that Marshall was the best player on the floor.
"And he was," Young said. "It wasn't even close."
Marshall died after collapsing during a pick-up basketball game. He graduated from Greenbrier in 2003 after he was named The Augusta Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He was twice named The Columbia County News-Times Player of the Year, which starting in 2010 will be known as the Eric Marshall Award.
Greenbrier's jerseys this season feature an "E.M. #20" patch. Wofford's jerseys bear a similar patch this season. Young presented Marshall's family with Marshall's No. 20 Terriers jersey.
Patrick Marshall, Eric's father, said last week he was looking forward to the ceremony as a story he could tell his grandsons when they are older. He promised to teach Isaiah and Caleb the game their father loved.
"I'm going to have them ready," Patrick said Tuesday. "Give me a couple years. I'll have them ready."
Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165, ext. 116 or email@example.com.