Posted on: May 19, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 9:40 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Looking at the NBA draft, most pundits would rather talk about Kyrie Irving or Enes Kanter. Those players will hear their names called very early in the process, make bulging sackloads of money, and play for teams with... limited prospects.
Sometimes, it's more interesting to look near the bottom of the first round. The sacks of cash are still pretty full down there, the contracts are still guaranteed, and the rookies at that end of the deal have a very good chance to play a role for a championship contender. Not a shabby deal, really.
Anyone who watched Marshon Brooks play at Providence knows the 6-foot-5 guard can score. He dropped in 43 at Georgetown last season, and topped that with a 52-point effort when Notre Dame came to town. The knock on the kid is that his team lost both of those games. As such, wouldn't it be nice for him to go to a team that didn't need him to be 'the man'? Brooks' handle and shooting touch might come in very handy for stealing minutes in a lineup full of accomplished NBA players.
SLAM magazine recently shot some footage of Brooks at a pro workout. With no rim rattle and plenty of string music, this practically qualifies as a music video:
This workout took place in Chicago, and some pundits have Brooks ending up with the Bulls. With a POY point guard in place in Derrick Rose, and playoff expectations in place, could there be a better landing place for one of college basketball's hidden gems?
Posted on: February 24, 2011 7:01 am
Posted by Jeff Borzello
Last night’s action doesn’t even need an introduction – we’re going to dive right into it, starting with a performance for the ages.
Top Performer: Usually we reserve this spot for a player who had an eye-opening stat line and led his team to a victory, but Marshon Brooks was just too good last night to take him out of this category. Brooks scored 52 points in a 94-93 loss to Notre Dame, setting a new Big East record. He shot 20-for-28 from the field, knocking down six 3-pointers and six free-throws. Brooks scored Providence’s last 11 points to bring the Friars within one, but they fell short at the end. He also pitched in five rebounds and four assists.
Numbers Don’t Lie, Marshon Brooks Edition:
Filling it up: San Jose State’s Adrian Oliver is one of the most underrated scorers in the country and he proved that once again last night. Oliver – who we’ll have more about later today – scored 36 points to lead the Spartans to a 72-70 overtime win over New Mexico State. He knocked down five 3-pointers and shot 12-for-25 from the field.
Dynamic Duo: Overshadowed by Marshon Brooks’ unbelievable performance was the fact Notre Dame put up 94 points and won the game. The Fighting Irish were carried by Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis, who combined for 60 points on 21-for-29 shooting from the field. The two players also made seven 3-pointers and 11 free-throws.
Bouncing Back: Kyle Singler was the primary candidate for Preseason Player of the Year, yet he has struggled somewhat this season, falling well behind Nolan Smith on his own team. He was vintage Singler against Temple last night, though. He had 28 points and six rebounds, doing all of his damage inside the arc, to lead the Blue Devils to a 78-61 win.
Even when he struggles…: Jimmer Fredette didn’t have his best outing of the season last night, but he still managed to put up 34 points and five rebounds to lead BYU to an 84-76 win over Colorado State. He shot just 9-for-26 from the field and 2-for-8 from 3-point range, and also turned the ball over seven times. Fredette will need to have a much better performance this weekend against San Diego State.
Stat-Sheet Stuffer: It’s tough to overshadow Charles Jenkins, but UNC-Wilmington’s Chad Tomko managed to do that despite losing. Tomko put up 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, playing all 40 minutes in the 71-64 loss. Tomko nailed four 3-pointers and shot 8-for-16 from the field
Tit-for-Tat: Xavier Silas came into last night as one of the top-10 scorers in the country, but he was completely outplayed by Central Michigan’s Jalin Thomas in Northern Illinois’ 64-58 loss. Thomas made seven 3-pointers en route to an impressive stat line of 29 points and six rebounds. Silas, on the other hand, managed just 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting.
Double Defeat: As we discussed last night, Cincinnati picked up a huge road win over Georgetown, 58-46. The win could be what the Bearcats need to get an at-large bid. On the other side, the Hoyas might have lost more than the game – point guard Chris Wright broke his left (non-shooting) hand and is out indefinitely. Without Wright, Georgetown could struggle offensively.
Mr. Big Shot: Just look at the video from last night – Wisconsin knocked off Michigan on a buzzer-beating three to win, 53-52. Moreover, the game-winning shot didn’t come from Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer. Taylor was double-teamed in the final seconds, dishing it off to Josh Gasser. Gasser was wide-open at the top of the key and banked in a three as time expired. Good night, Michigan’s NCAA hopes.
Mr. Big Shot, Vol. II: Alabama couldn’t afford a terrible loss to Auburn if it wanted to keep its at-large hopes alive – and JaMychal Green made sure that didn’t happen. He had the game-winning tip-in with 0.3 seconds left off a Tony Mitchell miss, giving the Crimson Tide a 51-49 win.
Road Woes: Kentucky still struggles to win close games and road games – and close games on the road. The Wildcats lost in overtime last night to Arkansas, 77-76. Their six SEC losses are by a combined 16 points, and they are also 1-6 in conference road games. Moreover, Arkansas beat Kentucky for the first time in 10 years.
Set the DVR: The Big East highlights the docket tonight. West Virginia heads to Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl, with the Mountaineers looking to get back above .500 in the conference. Moreover, Marquette faces Connecticut in a must-win for the Golden Eagles. Everyone’s favorite bubble team can’t afford another loss. Over in the SEC, Georgia goes on the road at Florida. The first meeting between the two came down to a 30-footer by Erving Walker. Non-BCS schools also have some intriguing games. Morehead State and Murray State battle for first-place in the Ohio Valley, while Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s face off in a game with conference title and at-large implications.
Notes and Notables:
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 10:07 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Sports fans love to engage in debate, and we're no different here at CBS blog central. Player of the Year arguments, along with bracket discussions, are always the best barroom (or national podcast) fodder for college hoops fans. I touched on one yesterday when I considered Ben Hansbrough vs. Kemba Walker in the Big East. That post touched off a bit of a Twitter debate (which can be hard to follow as the posts whiz by) about a couple of other candidates, most notably Pitt's Ashton Gibbs (right).
We learned last night that Gibbs will be back from a short injury time out in time for Saturday's trip to Madison Square Garden, where the Panthers will face a St. John's team that is on the rise. It seems as good a time as any to see how he stacks up against his fellow Big East stars.
Here are a couple of tweets, from @bracks7, that encapsulate the frustration some fans feel when Gibbs is overlooked in the media.
@stfhoops Is it the fact #Pitt has more options that #Gibbs is really left of BE POY? #Hansbrough really better than him?Then, New Jersey-based hoops writer Mike Vorkunov, without having seen my post, threw out his own list of BE POY candidates. He listed Hansbrough, Walker, Georgetown's Austin Freeman and Marshon Brooks of Providence as his top four. It got me wondering if bracks7 was right: is Gibbs criminally underrated by us Typing Heads because his team as a whole is so good?
Let's go to the numbers. I'll use Vorkunov's list, plus Gibbs, to get a feel for where each player stands.
Based on traditional metrics alone, I have to disqualify Brooks. He's an amazing scorer, but he's doing it with volume because he has to. He's his team's runaway MVP, and an exciting player to watch, but he's no league POY. Freeman's fantastic shooting percentages across the board prove his worth to the Hoyas beyond a shadow of a doubt, and make him a solid candidate.
So, Gibbs. I'm trying to avoid confirmation bias here, but I think bracks7 has basically answered his own question. Yes, Gibbs is an extremely valuable part of an elite team. He has scored 18.93 percent of the Panthers' points when he's on the floor, but his teammates Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown and Nasir Robinson are all above ten percent in the team impact metric as well. This is a good thing.
Unfortunately for Gibbs' case, Pitt chugged right along without him while he was out. Sophomore Travon Woodall certainly didn't replace Gibbs' production, but he kept the machine humming just fine. Again, this is a good thing.
Leaving Gibbs off the All-Big East first team seems like a mistake, but I don't know who the unnamed SNY pundit chose in his place, so I can't really judge that. As a potential Big East POY, however, I don't think Gibbs has enough of a case. He's a great player on a great team, and yes, he may be underrated by the media and even fans. But when it comes to what really counts, bracks7 sounds the right note of conciliation in his final tweet on the matter:
I guess the last laugh will be Gibbs will be the only 1 playing in the Final 4If he's right about that, I'm pretty sure Gibbs will enjoy a trip to Houston a great deal more than any old league trophy.
Posted on: February 14, 2011 2:30 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander
STORRS, Conn. — It’s quite possible, even now, you don’t know who Marshon Brooks is.
If that’s not true, then a few months, maybe even weeks ago, his name and face weren’t on your radar. Let’s have some honesty: If you were shown that photo on the right this morning with the jersey cropped out, could you have named the player as Brooks?
No shame if not, as Providence basketball players don’t often receive national acclaim or attention. It’s hard to stand out within the bloated, 16-team Big East, let alone amongst a nation that’s been Jimmerized and Kemba-coated since November. Former Friar Ryan Gomes’ national profile didn’t come to be until Jim Calhoun went on one of his most epic post-game rants of all-time.
From there, Gomes went on to be a First Team All-America selection. Providence became a national story because of what a man who didn’t coach Gomes said.
Brooks, a senior Friar, is just now, sort of, beginning to receive some attention. Soon enough, Providence's season will be over and forgotten by many, and Brooks' collegiate career will barely qualify as a blip, big picture. No. 2 will not sniff any first or second national teams, and it’s pretty certain he won’t be included on third teams, either.
The 6-5, 200-pound, true 2-guard is in the midst of what some could consider a lost season. Brooks, the most well-polished Providence player since Gomes, is averaging a Big East-best 24.2 points per game and is considered a sure-fire NBA draft pick (the first round is his current projection). He also leads the team in rebounding (7.5 per game) and 3-point shooting, hitting one of every three 3s he takes, which is even more in valued due to Providence being one of the worst 3-point-shooting teams in the country.
But on a 14-11 (3-9 in the Big East) team, few are noticing or caring about Brooks’ play, save for NBA scouts who, according to those within the Providence program, continually value the senior’s ability and potential as the weeks go by. The latest indictment of Brooks’ somewhat-invisible year came last week, when he wasn’t selected as one of the 30 finalists for the Naismith Award, one of six national player-of-the-year awards handed out at season’s end.
“He’s one of the finalists for the MVP in our conference, so how can’t he be one of the top 30 in the country when he’s third in the country in scoring?” Providence coach Keno Davis asked Sunday night after his team’s 75-57 loss at Connecticut. “What I think happens sometimes is, guys aren’t ranked before they go into the season. But you would think after his 43-point performance at Georgetown he’d be on everybody’s radar. Tough that you might have a non-top-30 guy be an NBA pick.”
Brooks’ blowup on the road at Georgetown Feb. 5 was one of the most impressive performances — forget just within the Big East — this season. Providence lost the game, 83-81, but was only in it until the end because Brooks took it up on himself to toss his toned-yet-gangly frame into the paint time and time again. He played all 40 minutes, which is what Davis needs him to do in order to keep the Friars within killing distance of many superior Big East teams.
“It’s getting tougher,” Brooks said in regard to being asked to score 25-plus against the Big East. “Coming into the season with such a young team, I expected some bruises.”
Against UConn Sunday night, Brooks had a pedestrian-for-him 25 points on 7-of-22 shooting. He accounted for production of 24 of the Friars’ 66 possessions, which is significant, but clearly wasn’t nearly enough, and that’s why UConn pulled away in the second half.
“I’m trying to pull out a win on the road more so than anything,” Brooks said. “We’ve got nine freshmen. When we’re playing at home, I don’t have to do heavy lifting like that. But on the road, me being the only senior [starter], I try to take over the game.”
Brooks is now always getting the toughest matchup on the floor (including constant amorphous, floating double-teams), so he’s forced to not merely rely on his jumper from the wing or casual 3-point shot. It’s become a pattern for him to attack the rim like a lion on a zebra in second halves of games, when Providence so frequently trails and needs points in bunches. Against other teams, Brooks is getting the star treatment on the regular, the kind of defensive scheming that proves opposing coaches realize he’ll be making NBA dollars soon enough. UConn did its best to deny Brooks the ball from anywhere within 25 feet Sunday night.
“There’s just certain coaches that are so insistent on denying me the ball,” Brooks said. “So in those cases, when I catch the ball, I’m catching it at the half-court line. When I turn around, all eyes on me, so it’s tough to get the ball in the hole.”
Getting your shots and your points when that’s happening is what makes a pro a pro. And Brooks has a number of NBA-ready moves in his repertoire already. For instance, in the second half against UConn, with 12 minutes remaining in an eight-point game, Brooks baited Jeremy Lamb, a freshman Husky, and drew a patented and-one foul on a pump-fake shot near the top of the key. Lamb, a 6-5 guard with a tremendous wingspan, was catapulted from the floor by Brooks’ tempting jump-shot form. Up Lamb went. Brooks waited for the newbie to clumsily come crashing back down, then calmly released the 19-foot jumper that cuddled through the rim and net.
Official Tim Higgins ferociously signaled the basket as good. It was a savvy, tailor-made move that’s NBA-ready.
“I think the exciting thing about Marshon Brooks is that he’s so talented and has improved so much, but his basketball hasn’t been played,” Davis said. “He’s going to be such a better player in the next couple of years. The NBA team that gets him isn’t going to be a getting a finished product. … He’s just now learning how to play. … I think what you’re going to find is, he’ll be on an NBA team, and from year one to year two to year three he’ll just explode.”
Brooks is certainly on an ascending path. He went from 14 points per game last year to 24 this year. Across the board, really his numbers have spiked; he was the fourth-most-used player on Providence last season. A few years down the road, he could become the valued quick-volume shooter in the NBA. It’s too bad so many in and around the college game are missing the show now. One of the nation’s best offensive players seems stuck in Providence’s purgatory.
A shame Jim Calhoun couldn’t have helped him out, post-game.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: February 5, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 2:50 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Wow, check out Marshon Brooks.
Odds are, the Providence senior will only remember that he dribbled the ball off his foot to kill his team's rally in a narrow 83-81 home win for the Hoyas, but anyone else who watched will remember that Brooks almost single-handedly upset Georgetown.
Check out this line: 43 points, 17-28 from the floor, 7-10 from the free throw line. 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.
It's enough to make you feel bad that Brooks is getting so little help. Duke Mondy was the only other Friar in double-digits, scoring 19 while nominally coming off the bench, but playing 34 of 40 minutes. Vincent Council was 0-11 for the game. Gerard Coleman managed 3-13. If just one or two of shots had fallen true for either starter, this probably would have been an upset for the visiting team.
Brooks isn't your typical ball-hog, either. When G'town had a five-point lead with time running out, Brooks penetrated to the basket, where he could have had the easy two (seriously, the Hoyas could not stop him all day long), but chose to pass out to a wide-open Bryce Cotton, who drained a three-pointer that ended up being his only points of the game.
This performance by Brooks just points out how hard it is to win in the Big East. A superior scorer is not enough. You'd almost be better off with two or three really good scorers who can keep defenses honest.
The inability of Keno Davis to develop talent around his star is a big part of what holds Providence back from contention (in his defense, he's not the only one to have that problem at this school). Davis once upon a time had a line on Shabazz Napier, who has instead become a valuable contributor for a revitalized UConn team in his freshman year. Davis also got a verbal commitment from Naadir Tharpe during early recruiting, but the talented guard has since reconsidered and joined the next Kansas Jayhawks class. This past week, hometown guy Ricardo Ledo backed out of a commitment as well (though, in Keno's defense, that's pretty much what Ledo does to everyone).
Keno Davis seems to be a good enough guy, but he may be in over his head in the Big East. It ought to be killing this team and its head coach that they wasted such a masterful performance by Marshon Brooks.