While most national media outlets were focused on the scoring marvels of Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker, neither of them can say that they boosted their scoring average by more than 10 points a game while also improving their field goal percentage. Marshon Brooks can.
Flying under the radar a bit, the ATL native had an outstanding senior campaign for a Providence team that won just four Big East games (though they did lose six games by 3 points or less). Pprepping for the Draft since his season ended in early March, Brooks recently made the move over to ATTACK Athletics in Chicago to train with Tim Grover, Mike Procopio and Co. Grover and his staff have worked with guys such as MJ, Kobe and DWade on the regular and are considered by many to be the best trainers that this game has to offer to get you right for the NBA game.
Grover’s right hand man, ATTACK Director of Basketball Operations Mike Procopio, put Enes and the rest of the players in attendance through a series of rigorous workouts that took us from 10 a.m. to past 4 p.m. with a small break in between to grab some grub. Florida State’s Chris Singleton, Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond, Michigan State’s Durrell Summers, UIC’s Paul Turner, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Kentucky’s Kanter joined in the action.
Procopio started things off by having the players go through a series of simulated pick and pop drills, with the guards pulling a deep jumper and a passer ready to hit the big man popping out to the wing for a mid-range J. Everything was done at full speed, with Procopio barking out directions that weren’t exactly PG-13 that served a purpose both as motivation and instructionally. Procopio, a renowned expert on the NBA game, stressed creating the proper spacing and passing angles throughout the process to prepare players for the way that defenses would rotate.
From the pick and roll drills, the players went through a series of takes to the rim that stressed on being able to finish with either hand over the defense. The morning session ended with the players doing spot shooting from a stand-still from the five main spots from the NBA three-point line. Forty-five minutes in the weight room and an hour and a half for so for lunch, and the guys were back at it again for session two.
The second session stressed more on shooting off on the move, with the players sprinting to the corners/half court and catching the ball on the move. Like in the morning session, fundamentals were drilled in the players’ heads about keeping their elbows up and stepping into their shots properly. One dribble pull-ups and some more off-hand work followed, before concluding the workout with each player attempting 50 NBA three-pointers. The second session didn’t offer as many players (just Singleton, Brooks, Turner and Kanter) but offered considerably more intensity. The fellas were all cheering each other on and getting each other hyped, bringing together a sense of camaraderie while maintaining an intense competitive nature. The grueling shooting workout was great for Brooks, who knows that he’s going to have to accept a far different role in the League than he had for the Friars.
“I understand that coming in, I’m not going to be a star right off the bat. That’s why I’ve been working on my outside jumper so much,” the prolific scorer explained. “If I’m fortunate enough to play with a superstar, I’m going to be ready to knock down that corner three. Tim has been working with me on keeping the ball on my left hip when I square up, showing me where to place the ball when I turn and shoot, and the little things like that.”
There was certainly a noticeable change in Brooks’ shot from when we last watched him torching the Big East to now. In fact, it almost looks as if he’s completely reworked his J over the last two months with how drastically the form on his shot has been reworked. Not only was Marshon the best shooter of the group from the NBA three-point line, but was surely the most unstoppable 1-on-1 player. At 6-5, he has an outstanding handle for a 2-guard and was able to give opposing defenders fits when they tried to guard him. Though he’s a natural scorer, the impressive ball-handling exhibited by Brooks led us to ponder whether he could be a scoring 2 who could also play some spot minutes at the 1, a la Jamal Crawford. Marshon thinks he can fill that role.
“I think my ball handling is advanced enough to play some point guard, but I do need to improve on my decision making because I haven’t played the 1 for the last four years,” said the lead guard. “If a team needs me to play point guard for 10 minutes a game, I don’t think that would be a problem. I still have some work to do before I’m a full time point, though.”
Convincing teams that he will be able to accept a lesser role will possibly be the biggest obstacle that Brooks has to overcome in the draft process. Many have openly questioned Brooks’ shot selection and willingness to buy into system while he was at Providence. If you really study his game from Providence (which we have, thanks to our friends at Synergy Sports Technology), you’d know that he jacked up so many shots out of necessity to keep Providence in certain games. In both his 53-point thrashing of Notre Dame and 43-point outing on the road against Georgetown, he shot well over 60 percent from the field and cut down on his turnovers. Brooks credits a portion of the success that he had during his senior year to the freedom and advice that Keno Davis gave him.
“Instead of staying at Providence in the summertime after my junior year, Coach Davis told me to go get a trainer in order to focus strictly on basketball and become the best leader that I can for my team. I think I did a good job at both. We could have won a few more games, though” explained Brooks. “I basically spent the summer getting my body right, getting my core stronger, and focused on getting to the foul line. When you miss two shots in a row, it makes things completely different when you can go to the line and knock down a pair. The confidence that my trainer, Larry Marshall, instilled in me really helped a lot.”
With no shortage of confidence at this point, Marshon plans to hit the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago, the super-workout in Minnesota on the 23rd, and then will head to Miami on the 31st. While he’s not sure who he’s going to be working out against, Brooks plans to use his 7-2 wingspan to give guys fits on the defensive end. When probed on who he’d like to work out against if he had his choice, there were a pair of names that immediately popped into his head: Alec Burks and Klay Thompson.
“I feel like they’re (Burks and Thompson) being put in front of me by default. If you look at production, I feel that I’m right there with them,” Brooks said of his more highly touted fellow shooting guards. “No disrespect to them, but I would just like them to prove that they’re worthy of those top spots. I feel that if I can get them in a workout, that would be a problem.”
With the package of size, skill set, length, and confidence that Marshon has, he should be right there in the first-round mix when it’s all said and done. His camp believes that given the right situation there’s no reason why teams won’t be able to truly see how much he has improved and how much he will continue to work at the next level. If you ask me, he’s a first rounder. I’m not making decisions though, so it looks like we’ll be playing the waiting game until June 23.