Marshon Brooks is Ready to Shine at the Next Level
Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 16:10
This date will always be remembered to Friar fans as the night that their "hidden talent," became not-so-hidden anymore. This time, he was not between those sprayed-on white lines, but instead roaming the sidelines and speaking in the ears of officials.
Every time Marshon rubbed his hands across his chest before tip-off, he felt the word Providence. Each time he made sure his number two was there; he knew it was under "Providence." That care he had for his team and teammates spoke volumes for himself and eventually for NBA scouts and GMs that coveted him.
Marshon Brooks was out to prove a kid from the smallest school in the biggest conference could make it to the next level, the big leagues. Marshon attended 10 different workouts prior to the NBA Draft, which made it impossible for him to be on campus at the same time. He worked out for the Bobcats twice, the Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Nets, Pacers, Spurs, Timberwolves, Wizards, and Knicks. The teams that seemed to be most interested in Marshon were the Bucks, Timberwolves, and Knicks.
"I am a big fan of Marshon Brooks," said new PC Basketball Coach Ed Cooley. "In fact he will be on campus tomorrow and in my office where I can't wait to talk to him," he said.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, there were some that believed Marshon could go as high as 10th overall to the Bucks. Some also saw him going to the Knicks as the 17th pick or going to the Bobcats, who had the 19th pick. One place that no one really thought he would go was the team that plays in the same state he was born, New Jersey.
No one can describe the feelings or thoughts he had as he sat with family and friends waiting for his name to be called. Overcome with emotion, Marshon could only smile as the Commissioner called his name. Going up a few steps never felt so easy, or so long overdue. As you reach that stage where you collect your hat and make the most expensive handshake of your life, you cannot help but recall all of those long nights in the gym when your jumper never seemed to fall for you, those wind sprints and suicides in practices and after games. All of it is priceless after that handshake and photo.
Marshon Brooks was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 25th overall pick in the draft. As it happens on every draft night, there was a trade. You know the trade happened fast when Brooks gave his first press conference as a New Jersey Net still sporting that Celtic green cap. The trade sent Marshon from a place that was so close to his home for the past four years, to a place that was his home for his first six. He was born at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., and lived in Jersey until his family made the move to Tucker, Ga. He returned each summer to attend camp at Monmouth University and lived with his grandmother.
After his junior season, Marshon knew he had to step up his game if he wanted to go pro. He decided to commit himself to a rigorous offseason workout run by trainer Larry Marshall in Keyport, N.J., which took his game to the next level. His frequent return trips to Jersey made his draft selection that much more fitting.
"I'm a Jersey boy," Brooks said in an interview after being drafted by the Nets.
The words spoken by the new coach of the school he helped put back on the map were now so clear to Marshon himself. Couldn't you see him saying the exact words in his first press conference as a New Jersey Net? Let's fast forward past this lockout and roleplay as Marshon sits through his first interview:
"It's a lot of emotions right now," said Brooks after being drafted by the Celtics, then traded to the Nets. "Providence has allowed me to come home." After averaging 24.6 points with the Friars, Marshon's draft stock rose into the first round and to the Nets. "Home means everything to me…I'm not running away. I'm sprinting home." After moving to Georgia when he was six, Marshon Brooks can't wait to get back to Jersey and play for the team that he watched before he could dribble or shoot. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime," said Brooks, who hopes to put the Nets back in the discussion as he and Deron Williams pair up in the New Jersey backcourt.
It is almost as if Ed Cooley laid the groundwork for Marshon to return home, just as he did in the months prior to Marshon being drafted. You can call it however you want, but I am passing off the baton from player to coach. I see it as handing over a team, a program, and a school that was under Marshon's watch for the past few years to someone who can take it to a place that it hasn't seen in years.
Next season, barring an NBA lockout, Marshon will be taking his talents to NBA arenas throughout the country, while the man he passed the baton off to will be trying to get a young Friars team back on track and proving to people that he was the only man for the job opening on the sidelines of the Dunk. One thing is for sure, he will be doing work on and off the court. In a recent interview with GOAG, Marshon talked little about what he hopes to do in Jersey.
"Off the court, you can expect me to keep my nose clean, stay out of trouble, and try to make a difference in the lives of the kids who live around my hometown and all throughout N.J. Things are kind of rough right now in the area I'm from, so I'm in a unique situation where I can really make a difference for the better in my home state," said Brooks. "I can be around the kids and let them know that I'm a regular human being just like they are, and if I can do it, then so can they. On the court, you can expect me to do what I do. What ever it is I'm asked to do and what my team needs me to do and try to score the ball."