He was second in the nation in scoring which is a quite the feat considering Providence‘s Marshon Brooks played in the Big East; arguably the nation’s toughest conference. However not until recently has Brooks began to emerge as a true first round prospect in the 2011 NBA Draft. After a solid showing at the NBA Draft Combine, Brooks’ stock is on the rise. I had a chance to talk with Brooks at the combine and he had some interesting comments about his time at Providence, playing for a bad team, and even dissed on ESPN’s draft “expert” Chad Ford a bit.
By: David Kay
Up until the NBA Draft Combine, Brooks was widely regarded as an early second round, possible late first round prospect. After a solid showing at the combine, there is little chance Brooks drops to the second round and could possibly be taken as high as the late-teens.
At Providence, the 6’5″ Brooks had a breakout senior season, raising his scoring average from 14.2 points per game as a junior, to 24.6 ppg highlighted by a Big East record 52-point performance against Notre Dame. To it bluntly, Brooks had to score that much to give the Friars a chance since his team was pretty awful this past season. That is a factor Brooks hopes NBA teams take into consideration when evaluating him.
“A lot of people don’t understand that,” Brooks told me at the draft combine. “They’re like ‘he’s a volume shooter, he shoots too much.’ You ask my coach, he’ll probably say different that I didn’t shoot enough. With me being the only scorer on the team and with me carrying the load of a young team, I felt like it was my job to try and take the game over, being the only senior on the team and playing major minutes.”
Another question surrounding Brooks is whether or not he is a winner since Providence posted a 8-28 mark the last two seasons in conference play. “I understand why people had concerns about me because I was on a losing team,” Brooks admitted. “Most of the time, guys didn’t even see me play. Most of the guys doing these mock drafts like Chad Ford, they never seen me play before. We had one ESPN game compared to guys who played at Kansas, the Ohio State’s, they had a lot chances to prove themselves. They were seen a lot more than me. I think that’s why I am just trying to prove myself… That I can play on a winning team, make winning plays.”
One thing Brooks does not have to prove is his ability to get to the basket. His quickness, ball-handling, and body control in the lane make him dangerous off the bounce and especially in transition. Having a crazy 7’1″ wingspan doesn’t hurt either. “It just helps me in so many different ways,” Brooks said of his length. “I’m not the most athletic guy, but with my long arms and my ball handling ability, I’m able to get to the rim a little easier.”
While Brooks is extremely effective when attacking the basket, his outside shot does need some work as he only hit 34% of his triple tries last season. Brooks said at the combine that he feels like he could shoot at an elite level but that is something he will have to prove to teams that work him out over the next month.
Brooks said he had anywhere from seven-ten interviews scheduled for the combine and listed the Mavs, Lakers, and Kings as teams he knew he was meeting with. Any team in need of a slasher drafting in the second half of the first round will have to take a look at Brooks. Teams like the Wizards (18th pick), Timberwolves (20th), Nuggets (22nd), Celtics (25th), Mavs (26th), Nets (27th), and Bulls (28th and 30th) would all be possible landing spots since they could use a scorer on the wing.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.