If there were anyone who would deserve a Most Improved Player of the Year award in the NCAA, it would be Providence College guard Marshon Brooks. After the Friars got off to a good start against the local competition, they struggled mightily once Big East play started, losing six straight games. But in their last two contests, however, they have pulled off upsets against two Top 25 teams (Louisville and Villanova), and Brooks has been their MVP with 27-point and 20-point outings, respectively.
For those of you who are not familiar with him, Brooks is a smooth, 6-5 shooting guard. He is currently the seventh-highest scorer in the country at 23.4 points per game, which is 9.2 points better than his average last year.
Critics in the past gave Brooks the “scorer” label, suggesting that was all he could do. But that has changed as Brooks is taking advantage of his 6-11 wingspan by crashing the boards (7.5 rebounds per game), getting in the passing lanes (1.8 steals per game) and swatting shots (1.3 blocks per game).
In a year where the Big East has about 10 teams that could make it to the Big Dance, it is pretty incredible that Brooks is second in the conference in scoring behind National Player of the Year candidate Kemba Walker. His style of play is similar to a Josh Howard or Nick Young, and when he gets hot, there is no stopping him – especially now that he has become a better shooter.
Dominating in the best conference in college basketball, and having few dominant shooting guards this year, projects well for Brooks in June. While NBA teams are not crazy about seniors in college, Brooks still has a lot of upside. He still needs to add some weight and work on his passing ability and consistency.
You can see why Providence recently scored one of the nation’s top juniors, Ricardo Ledo. When he arrives to play at the Dunkin Donuts Center, he will have a similar role as Brooks does now. If Ledo continues the trend of success by long and athletic wings, maybe Providence will start a tradition similar to Georgetown’s with big men.
While he might not be getting the national attention of players like Jimmer Fredette or Walker, there’s no doubt that Marshon Brooks is making a big impact now, and could make an impact in the future for the Providence Friars.
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