Zeke Marshall is at Cornell University and Shane Tanzymore is at St. Paul's School, but Tanzymore is having trouble escaping Marshall's shadow.
In three years at St. Paul's, Marshall led St. Paul's to a 65-14 record and three trips to the Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference championship. Last season, St. Paul's was 25-5 and Marshall was The Sun's Player of the Year, and Tanzymore played a supporting role.
This season, Tanzymore is the leader for No. 20 St. Paul's, leading the team to a somewhat surprising 9-1 start. Still, Tanzymore said he feels as if he still were playing a supporting role to Marshall.
"It's really tough because everyone has post-Zeke syndrome," Tanzymore said recently after scoring 32 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in an important victory over Park. "I'm not Zeke. We are totally different players. Zeke was a great player, and he did a lot of things for St. Paul's."
At St. Paul's, Marshall used his versatility to entertain spectators with his assortment of dunks, outside shooting and strength inside. Marshall gave St. Paul's, a private school that plays in the MSA's third-best conference, the quick-paced brand of basketball that is played in the better conferences.
Tanzymore's style is more suited to that which St. Paul's is accustomed. The 6-foot-5 senior center doesn't do much dunking, and he rarely moves beyond the lane.
"It's harder for me to score than it was for Zeke," Tanzymore said. "He had the luxury of the three-pointer. I work within 10 to 15 feet of the basket."
Though their styles differ, so far the results have been the same. St. Paul's is winning while Tanzymore is averaging 18.3 points and 12.7 rebounds and shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
"Zeke was more show time," said Tanzymore. "I'm more grab some rebounds. Zeke liked to put on a show, and I liked that, and maybe I have to put on a show, too, but I'm in there being double-teamed a lot."
Despite the constant comparisons, Tanzymore said he holds no grudge against Marshall. In fact, the two are best friends. But the expectations of Tanzymore to supply the type of excitement that Marshall did is a burden.
"The unfortunate thing is Shane is still playing in the shadow of Zeke Marshall," said St. Paul's coach Rick Collins. "If he [Tanzymore] gets frustrated about anything in basketball, it's that his best friend, Zeke, in many cases overshadows him."
While many spectators still spend time comparing the two, some with a more polished eye for talent have noted Tanzymore's abilities.
Last season, he was picked along with Marshall to play in the NAACP All-Star game for underclassmen with the likes of Dunbar's All-America candidate Donta Bright. Although he did not contribute much, the game did wonders for Tanzymore's confidence.
"It was a great thrill for me to be out on the court and see those players," said Tanzymore, who averaged 13.4 points and 8.7 rebounds last season. "I was scared. I was thinking I'm only a C Conference player who was really just a backup to Zeke. I got out there and got some rebounds. I didn't play that well, but I began to realize that maybe I am a good player."
Schools such as Cornell, Washington College and Lafayette agree. Those three have been recruiting Tanzymore, who has a 3.5 grade-point average.
His selection to the all-star team marked a long, hard climb for Tanzymore, who wasn't even good enough to make the St. Paul's middle school team.
But Tanzymore dedicated himself and worked hard during the off-seasons to develop his coordination and skills.
"He is a real success story," said Collins. "The old saying is that basketball players are made between March and November. In this case, it's true. He really worked hard during the off-season."
Even after his selection to the all-star team last season, Tanzymore worked hard at camps and in summer leagues.
"After the season, we sat down and talked about a few things he needed to do," said Collins. "I knew he'd go out and do the things. That's the kind of kid he is."
Now, all he has to do is figure out how to get out of Marshall's shadow.