Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nets Rookie Brooks Steal of NBA Draft?

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nets Rookie Brooks Steal of NBA Draft?

Article excerpt

MarShon Brooks sits in the Nets locker room; he jokes with his teammates and pulls one of those calf-sleeves -- they look like high socks -- onto his slender leg.

He smiles. He looks more like a kid than an NBA player.

He's just a kid, right? A rookie who admitted to having sweaty palms before his first NBA game and talks about video games. The kid who carries his veteran teammates' shoes to the bus on road trips.

But then the kid steps onto the court. He demands the ball from one of his veteran teammates and he gets it. He fakes forward, dribbles back and rises for a jump shot that finds its target.

A buzz rises from the crowd, Brooks nods his head. Suddenly, he doesn't look much like a kid anymore. When MarShon Brooks is playing basketball, he looks like a man who's trying to prove a lot of people wrong.

"I've always been that guy my whole life, obviously," said Brooks, who turned 23 last month. "Nobody really gave me a chance. I don't want to say nobody gave me a chance, but I've had a lot of motivation."

Brooks has used that motivation to put together a fine rookie season. He's second among all rookie scorers at 13.9 points per game, trailing only Cleveland's Kyrie Irving.

Irving, the top overall pick out of Duke and former St. Patrick product, was expected to put up big numbers. Brooks, however, has been the biggest surprise of this NBA rookie class.

Thing is, Brooks isn't surprised.

His thoughts return to last summer, when he sat and watched 19 teams pass him over in the NBA Draft. Brooks always has had something to prove, this was just his latest challenge.

"I felt like I've just had a chip on my shoulder since draft day," Brooks said. "I played with a chip on my shoulder because I just wanted to try to prove that I could play with anybody in this draft ... Obviously, I did that."

Brooks, who scored a Big East record 52 points against Notre Dame as a Providence senior about a year ago, fell deep into the first round before Nets general manager Billy King orchestrated a deal to snag the 6-foot-5 shooting guard.

When Brooks was picked by the Celtics at No. 25, King swooped in and sent the Nets' 27th pick (Purdue's JaJuan Johnson) and a 2014 second-round pick to Boston in return. …

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