Marcus, a journalism student here at UNC, wrote his own article documenting his thoughts after All-America honors were confirmed. Read his thoughts here:
Also, check out this video:
It has been said again and again on campus and across the nation: Marcus Paige embodies everything that a student-athlete should. I don't think this community could be happier about Paige's jersey going in the rafters. He truly deserves it.
Recently, Paige appeared in front of the UNC Board of Trustees with a couple of other athletes where he made a statement that has incited a number of responses. "Trust me, we can all read."
Here is the Dean of the Journalism School's response to the event.
Marcus Paige deserves this high honor. His jersey will be joining 52 other jerseys that are hanging from the rafters at the Dean Dome (Smith Center).
Here is a link to the honors on Sporting News: http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/story/2014-03-10/sporting-news-college-basketball-all-americans-nick-johnson-jabari-parker/slide/7
Here is an article from the Herald Sun on Marcus Paige's award:
I think undoubtedly Marcus Paige embodies the Carolina Spirit, on and off of the court. Having a jersey hung in the Dean Dome signifies more than an excellent basketball player. It signifies the Carolina character: integrity, honesty, loyalty, and respect. Paige has done an amazing job displaying his character throughout the campus and local Chapel Hill town. For example, Paige invited a child with disabilities to spend a day with him. Not only did this video of the event go viral, but it was a great PR move to show the public the amazing personality of basketball players. I think his humility makes him a player the congregation wants to back and in turn believe in him.
The hanging of Marcus Paige's jersey was a very important move for Carolina, as it signified exactly what it means to be a Tar Heel, which in one sense means to be a leader and step up when no one else wants to. For the last season and year, there have been problems with the academic integrity of athletes in the media that negatively affected Carolina's reputation as a university known for its academics and athletics. However, in the midst of it all, Paige has been steady and reliable, both on the court and also in the community, providing UNC with the role model that it needed during a time of doubt. Thus, the hanging of Paige's jersey represents that Carolina will still uphold the values and excellence that it has always embodied, despite the adversities that have come against it.
Marcus Paige definitely embodies the Carolina Way in so many ways which is why he deserves to have his jersey hanging in the Dean Dome. First of all, he is an amazing student-athlete. He received the honor of First-team Academic All-American for his excellent grades and GPA here at UNC. To be a stellar student and a stellar athlete is one of the most difficult things to accomplish, and therefore Marcus has gained a lot of respect for this. Also, Marcus is an excellent basketball player and this past season was definitely our best player and leader. He always displays the Carolina way through his character on and off the court. Marcus Paige deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest to play here at UNC and become part of the legacy.
Having met Marcus Paige, and having had a class together freshman year, I know what he brings to the table. I knew him before he truly became "baby Marcus" and everybody's answer to everything changed from "Jesus" to "Marcus Paige." This guy is one of the most genuine, hard-working individuals that I have ever met. Marcus aside, I've been in several classes with athletes throughout my undergrad at Carolina. The ones that I've met, yeah, they CAN read. I've actually been incredibly impressed by all that athletes have to juggle on top of their studies. Daily practices and games are just a small part of a student athlete's responsibilities. Am I saying that there's no room for improvement? Of course not. But I'm also saying that it's time for people to have a little faith in our athletic programs. These people are Tar Heels all the same and they work hard to be a student first, and then an athlete.
I had a class with Marcus Paige last year, and I remember walking behind him out of the room and thinking, “he’s so cute and little!” (for a basketball player). We expect the stars to be huge like Shaq, with their tall, overpowering, statures standing over us as we walk around campus. However, Paige changed that image of greatness as one of determination, heart, and teamwork. This quote shows much drive in such a nonchalant way, with his spirit being contagious, that I feel inspires us all to strive for the rafters.
Having a jersey hanging in the rafters at the Dean Dome embodies an even larger symbol, and I think Marcus Paige undoubtedly deserves it. I have a class with him, and I can attest to the fact that he truly is a model for a Carolina athlete. Not only is he a stellar basketball player, but he's also an excellent student and a friendly person. He never boasts, and I think this quote is a great testament to his personality--he's humble, and I think he's been a great component to UNC's athletic system, especially among all the controversy.
As an student-athlete myself and playing on UNC's Women's Basketball team, I definitely think Marcus Paige's jersey should hang in the rafters in the Dean Dome. Marcus did a tremendous job leading the team and stepping up when needed. If Marcus could do the same thing next year it will only increase his chances of being in the rafters. Not only is he a great athlete but he's smart, respectful and carries himself very well.
I believe that Marcus Paige is more than deserving of the honor to see his jersey up in the rafters. Paige has become the face of student-athletes in a time of crisis at Carolina. This year, a UNC employee came forth with data she had collected suggesting that 60% of Carolina student-athletes could only read between a fourth and eighth grade level. In contrast, Marcus Paige gave our university hope both on and off the court with his overwhelming accomplishments as a student-athlete this year. The perseverance, determination, and passion that he exhibits in games are undoubtedly the qualities that allow him to excel as a scholar, as well. It is the hope he has given us and the talents he possesses that make him so deserving of this honor.