If this is what a rusty and cramping MarShon Brooks can produce, the Nets got themselves a dynamic offensive player with a star personality.
Of course, you have to consider the level of competition – and last night at the Nike Pro-City tournament it waslmostly below NBA level. Still, you also have to consider that Brooks, the Nets’ first-round pick last month, hadn’t played in weeks and was stepping on an unfamiliar court with an unfamiliar team.
That he took over immediately is a testament to his confidence. It only took two possessions for his teammates to realize who should command the ball. Brooks missed his first couple shots but kept on firing, finishing with 48 points on 17-of-32 from the field with six 3-pointers. His final line also included: five rebounds, five fouls, one assist, five turnovers, one block, 6-of-12 from 3-point and 8-of-9 from the foul line.
Battling a calf cramp that started early in the second half, Brooks won over the Manhattan crowd with his swag, skill and determination.They gave him the first and last ovation of the evening, as he outscored notable opponents Jamario Moon (25 points) and John Lucas III (28).
It was a street-ball atmosphere inside the Baruch College gym, and Brooks fit the part – sometimes dribbling down the court like Skip to My Lou, sometimes embarrassing the opponent with a crossover, sometimes converting a 3-pointer with a hand in his face, and once throwing down a tomahawk jam.
There were two very noticeable -- and positive -- qualities: Brooks is very competitive, and he can create his own shot.
The big drawback for Brooks was that he failed to finish. He missed several opportunities to hit his 50th point, including a 3-pointer with one second remaining in overtime that doomed his team to a 125-123 defeat.
Despite the defeat, a crowd of autograph seekers bigger than for that of any other swarmed Brooks after the game. Many were wearing Nets gear. One doctored his #9 Yi Jianlian jersey by writing “Brooks” on the back with tape and paper (Brooks will wear #9 whenever the season starts).
This tournament -- and others like it -- represent Brooks’ Summer League. He hasn’t been paid a dime by the Nets or the NBA, but he needs to counterbalance his frequent NBA2K11 video gaming with real basketball activity. According to his agent, Seth Cohen, Brooks will play in another New York City tournament next week.
There is no consideration to sign a deal overseas.
“If I would have signed my contract, maybe I would have thought about it,” said Brooks. “But with no contract signed, I don’t even want to take a chance.”
Before the lockout, Brooks worked out with the Nets’ other draft pick, Jordan Williams, in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he also met up with Jazz players Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors.
Following the lockout, Brooks said he hasn’t done much except “playing 2K11 and doing pushups.”
And at times last night, he played like it was a video game.