Quinton Marshall is Citadel Bulldogs' high-flying bookworm

The Citadel's Quinton Marshall (33) dunks the ball over Davidson's Andrew McAuliffe in a game at McAlister Fieldhouse. (Russ Pace/File)

Over the last three years, The Citadel's Quinton Marshall has made quite an impression around campus and in the Southern Conference.

His gregarious personality coupled with his athletic ability - including his high-flying alley-oop dunks that graced ESPN'S Top 10 plays last February - are how most people know him.

But that's just one side of the 6-5 junior forward from Raleigh, N.C. Off the basketball court, Marshall looks forward to spending quiet time with a good book.

"I don't think that when people look at me, they think that I'm a reader," Marshall said. "I talk to anybody and everybody, but when I get some time to myself, I definitely want to pick up a book."

When the Bulldogs travel for road games, Marshall always packs a couple of books. His personal collection is "in the hundreds."

"Everyone knows that I read all the time. I don't usually listen to music on the bus," Marshall said. "I like to have a book in my hands."

Marshall said his interest in reading started when he was in middle school.

"When I was on road trips with my family, I would always read," Marshall said. "I think it helped the time go by faster. I'd rather read a book than watch a movie any day."

He became a full-fledged bookworm during his 10th-grade year at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, when he read 'The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team" by Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

It was this particular selection that not only purveyed the ideas of team chemistry, work ethic and leadership, but provided added meaning when Marshall chose to attend The Citadel after a year at Charis Prep in Goldsboro, N.C. Krzyzewski attended the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he played for future Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight.

Since arriving in Charleston, Marshall has tapped even more so into his favorite genre: thrillers.

He specifically beams about authors Lee Child, Steve Berry, Brad Thor and Vince Flynn, who each routinely top the New York Times best-seller list.

"I love their characters," Marshall said. "They can tell really good stories. It's like a movie in your head."

He speaks fondly of "Left Behind," a highly popular 13-novel series written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins pertaining to Christian eschatology, or the "end of times" as outlined in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

Perhaps the most poignant story his eyes have perused is "Lone Survivor," the No. 1 national best-seller written by Marcus Luttrell which provided a firsthand account of a group of U.S. Navy SEALs during Operation Redwing and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

It is an impressive mixture of all-time favorites with those stories yet to be read and enjoyed.

"I have books that I've already read up there and books that I'm going to read," he said. "When I finish one that I'm reading, I put it in my locker and pick up the next one. I always have a backup book."

The average road trip in the Southern Conference is about five hours one way, so having that backup book is essential. After all, Marshall typically finishes at least one book per trip.

"It was never like a plan to do it that way," he said. "I usually bring two books with me just in case I finish one."