Marshon Brooks was nearly finished with his pre-draft workout for the Washington Wizards this morning at Verizon Center, but there was one drill left to complete requiring a series of jump shots from each end of the foul line. It’s a drill that has confounded more than a handful of invitees to previous Wizards workouts, and for Brooks, the proceedings didn’t begin well either.
But after misfiring at the start, Brooks settled into a rhythm, swishing one, then two and then a third. By the time he was finished, the swingman from Providence had made eight in a row with Wizards Coach Flip Saunders watching closely and offering encouragement.
That’s the kind of shooting that in part has helped elevate Brooks’s stock from the second round to the first for the June 23 NBA draft. His versatility in playing either shooting guard or small forward, albeit a bit undersized at 6 feet 5, could be enticing at No. 18 for Washington, which also worked out guards Shelvin Mack (Butler) and Adrian Oliver (San Jose State), and forwards Malcolm Thomas (San Diego State) and Jamel McLean (Xavier).
“I’m just trying to be myself, score the ball a variety of different ways like I can,” said Brooks, who finished as the second leading scorer in the country behind BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. “I’m just trying to provide energy for any team that’s going to pick me up. Just looking forward to the challenge.”
Brooks has a boatload of positive memories from his most recent appearance at Verizon Center, when he collected 43 points and 10 rebounds for the Friars in an 83-81 loss to then-No. 13 Georgetown in early February. It was the most points a player has scored against the Hoyas during Coach John Thompson III’s tenure and at the time the most in the Big East last season and the fifth most in conference history.
That memorable afternoon prompted Thompson to begin his postgame news conference by saying in jest that he felt the Hoyas “did an outstanding job of guarding [Vincent] Council,” who was the Friars’ second leading scorer. Thompson went on to call Brooks’s performance “special.”
“I think we had a really young team, and they were looking for me to lead, and I just did what I had to do,” Brooks said. “Coach [Keno Davis] looked for me to score a lot. Just tried to score as much as possible, kind of keep it close.”
Two weeks later, Brooks set the Big East record for points in a game with 52 in a 94-93 loss at home to then-No. 9 Notre Dame. Included in that performance that outdid the best from past conference scoring luminaries such as Allen Iverson, Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony were 20 field goals, also a Big East record.
Brooks averaged nearly 25 points per game during his senior season along with seven rebounds and 3.5 assists. He shot 48 percent from the field and 77 percent from the foul line and made 67 of 197 three-point attempts (34 percent).
Despite all the contributions from Brooks, Providence failed to make the NCAA tournament, leading to Davis’s dismissal after three seasons and the introduction of Ed Cooley as his replacement. The Friars finished 18-36 under Davis.
“Our season ended prematurely in the Big East tournament, so I had a lot of time just to work on the NBA three,” Brooks said. “That was my main focus. My shooting is kind of inconsistent at times, and I just worked on the NBA three as much as possible so the shot can be easier for me.”
Brooks said he was not 100 percent during today’s workout after he tweaked his ankle while auditioning for the New York Knicks last week. The annoyance affected his lift, though only slightly, during this morning’s session, his fourth workout overall. He has five more to go.
“I’m working out for everybody,” Brooks said. “As you guys know, before the [NBA] combine I was projected to be a second-round pick. I’m working out for second-round teams. I’m just trying to get work in any way possible. I’m just blessed to be in this position honestly.”